“The youth are the opportunity. They have passions and visions and hopes for the future. They have so much potential. We want to foster that and help that grow.” Ben Lewis, Meraki Roasting Company, Clarksdale, Mississippi.
We couldn’t agree more. In our Stories from the Delta series, we’ve featured the people and organizations the foundation works with to create opportunity and improve quality of life in the Delta region of Mississippi and Arkansas. Through the foundation’s Home Region program, we’re committed to engaging and developing youth so they can reach their full potential.
We draw inspiration from Ben, who runs a career readiness program for young adults hoping to break the cycle of generational poverty in the Delta. His commitment is shared by fellow residents like Mississippi River guide Mark Peoples, school founder Amanda Johnson and after-school educators like Anja Thiessen of Spring Initiative, who aims to “to empower young people to beat the odds, access the opportunities that they deserve, and build successful and happy lives for themselves.”
Every day, the community organizations we work with see the optimism in the faces of the kids they serve. We see it, too, and asked students at Spring Initiative to share their dreams for the future with us:
“What I want to be is an artist!!!!!”
"I want to be a math teacher when I grow up."
“I want to be a policeman, a doctor, or an NFL player.”
“I want to be a lawyer when I grow up.”
“I want to be a lawyer/millionaire.”
"I want to be a pro basketball player when I grow up."
“I want to be a doctor when I grow up.”
“I want to be a police officer when I grow up.”
“I want to be in the NFL. My backup plan is to be an engineer.”