MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The head of a Mississippi nonprofit has been named an "influencer" for her efforts to help families and children. Local 24 News Weeknight Anchor Katina Rankin has this local good news.
Meet Dr. Zowee Jamison-Shanks. She grew up in Marks, Mississippi. That's about an hour and twenty minutes from Memphis. Her mother died at an early age. And when she was in elementary school, all the way up to fourth grade, she couldn't read.
She credits God and a caring teacher for helping her get through that hurdle in her life. She writes about it in her book How I Made It Over. Here's what that fourth-grade teacher, Dr. McKay told her.
"You have two choices. You can choose to allow people to keep feeling sorry for you or you can make a decision today that you're going to make something out of yourself," said Emily’s Home Founder Dr. Jamison-Shanks.
So, she gave up her recess time and spent time with her teacher learning to read. But it's what she did after making it over that's getting her recognized as an influencer. She started a nonprofit called Emily's Home. She created it to help young children who went through a situation like hers.
"We teach other little girls and young boys that they can be all that they can be. We have a mentoring program called EPIC Mentoring. EPIC stands for enchanted princesses, enchanted princes inspiring change," said Jamison-Shanks.
The nonprofit services Grenada, Greenwood, Clarksdale, Tunica, Marks, parts of Desoto County, and other North Mississippi areas.
"Our kids are on virtual learning. Teachers are the most important people in this particular time. Our kids need us. Our kids are depending on us," said Jamison-Shanks. "I'm here to tell you today that I would not be Dr. Zowee without Dr. McKay and that was the 4th grade. I have two doctorates now because of a Dr. McKay."
Dr. Jamison-Shanks said right now during these unprecedented times with the pandemic and the violence at the U.S. Capitol, young people need mentoring and guidance more than ever to deal with social and emotional wellness, plus the isolation of being left with their own thoughts.
"Speak life to that young person that's in your presence," said Jamison-Shanks.
And being a support system to young people who may need a little extra help is local good news.