MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The Meridian Freedom Project's mission is to teach students the importance of giving back to their community. And it's working. Director of Operations Adrian Cross said over 40 students gathered to clean up and pick up trash at the historical Wechsler Community Arts Center.
"At the Meridian Freedom Project we create leaders. What we're trying to help them understand is that leaders give back. It's extremely important to give back, by giving your time, giving yourself and this is a fantastic place to start off our summer,” said Cross.
Wechsler was the first brick public school building in Mississippi built with public funds for African American children. Today, 7th grader Ethan Wright said restoring and fixing up the building means a great deal to the community.
"I think it's important, because I would rather be out here than playing video games, because this is helping the community. I know that most of my peers may not see this as important, but thinking about it this is the first black school in Mississippi and it makes me sad, because most of it is deteriorating,” said Wright.
7th grader Amos Rew said the organization is teaching them how to be leaders.
"So we can be leaders, leaders that make the world different and we can make this whole world change. Plus we need to go outdoors make our community a better place,” said Rew.
Jayla Rembert who is also a 7th grader said she hopes their efforts make a difference.
"I’ve learned that the community needs to be a safe community and clean. You should treat your Earth like you treat your house and yourself,” said Rembert.
Their efforts won't stop at cleaning up the historical school building. The students will spend every Friday this summer participating in community service projects.
The meridian freedom project opened its doors to kids back in 2014. If you're interested in joining the organization, visit their website.