SPRING INITIATIVE: Jukin for a cause

Spring Initiative has spent the past ten years helping children in the Mississippi Delta. The Delta and its famous blues artists recently paid homage to a Clarksdale legend.

Jukin ‘for a Cause was organized to benefit the Spring Initiative and showcased some of the greatest blues artists ever produced by the Delta. Lucious Spiller and Kingfish entertained the audience at the event. The two star artists are well known supporters of the Clarksdale community. Kingfish’s new blues album, 662, is named after the area’s phone code to honor its homeland and heritage.

While raising funds for the Spring Initiative, the event also honored the memory of Bill Luckett, one of the principal citizens ever produced by Clarksdale. On several occasions, Luckett has served as a longtime attorney, mayor of Clarksdale, Mississippi gubernatorial candidate, film producer, National Guard, zealous Clarksdale tourism promoter, businessman, and actor in 18 different films.

The venue for the event was, aptly, the Ground Zero Blues Club, of which Luckett was co-founder and co-owner. Bill and Francine Luckett were generous and longtime supporters of the Spring Initiative.

Founded in 2011, Spring Initiative seeks to give underprivileged children access to mentors, guardians, resources, opportunities, social development and sound advice to prepare them for their future.

Students growing up in the Mississippi Delta face the consequences of centuries of racism, discrimination and disinvestment every day, the organization’s website explains. They attend schools that are understaffed and under-resourced in a community where more than 70 percent of children grow up below the poverty line. Spring works with the students and families most affected by these injustices. Beating the odds requires opportunity and support, which is not available to too many individuals and families in the Mississippi Delta and especially in Coahoma County.

The Spring Initiative program is designed for five different age groups: CollegeSpring (students), Big Spring (Grades 9-12), Junior Spring (Grades 7 and 8),

Little Spring (5th and 6th) and Mini Spring (3rd and 4th). Each of the five groups has 16 students, bringing the total to 80 participating students. Each student receives consistent and intense teaching and tutoring. Students also learn to develop and maintain relationships with mentors, peers, and larger groups.

In their relationships with others, students receive positive reinforcement, accountability for their actions and conflict resolution. Students learn to build trust in others, gain trust and avoid inappropriate behavior.

Students also learn about culture, society and the importance of education by visiting colleges, museums and cultural monuments.