Ensuring Students In The Mid South Reach Academic Success.

Our Challenge:

A strong foundation of education is essential not only to individuals but to the economic success of our region. Many companies struggle to find graduates with necessary skill sets. It is important that we achieve greater graduation rates, increased college enrollment numbers, and stronger workforce preparedness levels. The national high school graduation rate is 78.2%, but Mid South states have lower rates.  Males of color are particularly at risk; nationally, only 52% of black males graduate from high school in four years.

Our Opportunity

Foundation for the Mid South offers enrichment opportunities and builds skills necessary for success in high school, college and the 21st century workplace. We aim to ensure that all youth, regardless of income, geography or race, receive equitable access to an effective learning environment.

Our Strategy

We partner with individuals and organizations committed to improving high school graduation rates, college preparedness and life outcomes of students. Current areas of focus include: tutoring, coaching, career development and learning and study strategies.

Academic Success for All Students

Focusing on academic strategies and enrichment opportunities to help students learn in effective and innovative ways.

Academic Success for Males of Color

Identifying critical skills to improve academic performance and life skills for young men of color.

Around the Region: Ouachita Parish, Louisiana

Mentorship for At-Risk Youth in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana

The “Males of Color: Cultivating Leaders for Today and Tomorrow” initiative cuts across all of Foundation for the Mid South's priority areas to improve the circumstances for young males of color. Males of color are too often left to battle a cycle of poverty, early death and incarceration due to a lack of guidance and educational and developmental support.

The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office is becoming part of the solution to steer youth away from these circumstances. The office is part of a recent grant of $90,000 for several organizations in the Monroe, Louisiana area. They work steadily to improve the outcomes for at-risk youth in their community through Deputies Making a Change (DMAC), a mentoring program for children ages 9-13. The program serves between 25 and 30 students during a single school year, targeting at-risk youth with positive support and mentorship before they ever enter the court system.


Better Options with Positive Role Models

Deputies Making a Change is dedicated to prevention rather than correction. Their approach combines the knowledge and experience of four seasoned deputies who support youth not only through tutoring, but in the development of important life skills, like self-esteem, leadership, communication, and physical fitness.

DMAC prevents incarceration and early death while encouraging economic stability for at-risk youth through education. Their methods are rooted in positive reinforcement through hands-on tutoring, field trips, quality time, and constant support. For children who struggle with authority, schooling and difficult circumstances, the support of a positive adult role model is life-changing.

In its humble beginnings 16 years ago, the program consisted only of meeting children at park benches to help them with homework. Today, DMAC is hosted by the Jack Hayes Elementary School, where they have a classroom, desks, and access to teaching and tutoring materials.

The deputies also have the ability to track student progress weekly, making results clear and allowing them to focus on what works best for each individual child. The program emphasizes building a strong, positive relationship between mentors and mentees that will last long after children graduate from the program. Deputies continue to have a presence in their lives, checking in on their progress through high school graduation.

Improving Community Relationships

In December 2014, the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office announced a new component to Deputies Making a Change: the Community Strong Initiative (CSI).

The Community Strong Initiative improves the relationship between law enforcement officials and the community by educating youth on law enforcement interactions and procedures. Through CSI, the deputies work to decrease the number of violent incidents and increase the safety and security of the community.

FOCUS is at the core of the program.

F —  Finding solutions

O — Open lines of communication

C — Continuous improvement

U — Unity

S — Staying on target

DMAC held the first Community Strong Initiative meeting on January 3, 2015, where it invited young adults aged 13-25 to participate. This gathering set a firm foundation for the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office and youth in the community to achieve better understanding of one another.

The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office DMAC program was awarded the Nashall Harris Humanitarian Award for their selfless dedication to improving the well-being of others on January 22, 2015.  

Foundation for the Mid South is proud to partner with the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office and other organizations in Monroe that continue to improve the outcomes for males of color in their community.