Operation Shoestring offers after school safe haven for learning - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Operation Shoestring offers after school safe haven for learning

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Brown Elementary students now have a safe haven at the end of the day through an after school program at Operation Shoestring.
But they're not just doing homework,  the new program teaches them everything from handling bullying to making their own meals.This is no ordinary after school program where for  the past three weeks students at Brown Elementary School have been broadening their horizons at Operation Shoestring.
 They are learning life skills like cooking and expanding on what they've learned in the classroom.
 Monday through Thursday students Pre-k through fifth grade work after school with teachers and volunteers, using computers to improve their reading skills and learning programs like with these legos to coordinate with a story on the screen.
"From the hours of three to six this is when all the issues come. you see kids getting involved in the wrong things, gangs, drugs and all of that can be prevented if they had somewhere to go, an outlet, somebody to talk to, a safe place to be," said Brown Elementary teacher and After School Program Site Coordinator Teruka Dobashi.
There's never a dull moment with archery classes, where kids are taught safety and skill.
You can also find them learning dance and much more.
"We don't think about what they have to go back into when they go home. We don't think about how they deal with their brothers and sisters or their friends on the street," said Dobashi. "We don't talk about what happens after a child gets into an argument or a fight and those are the things that children need to learn. They need to learn how to mediate situations".
Operation Shoestring Executive Director Robert Langford said Brown's principal reached out to the organization this summer to help make the partnership happen.
"What's good for kids and families and this neighborhood is good for all the community and in order to make things good things happen for kids here and to make good things happen for our community we've got to all work together," said Langford.
Ninety students participate in this after school program which includes hands on learning,  a balance of technology and fun.
"They are the future. They are the doctors and the lawyers and the teachers, and if we don't invest in them now it'll be too late later," added Dobashi.
Brown Elementary and Operation Shoestring need volunteers and donations. Call the school at 601-960-5326 or Operation Shoestring at 601-353-6336 to learn more.

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