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Our Mission


The RFP is empowering a cohort of academically competitive, socially conscious young leaders prepared to work for the betterment of themselves, their community, and the world.

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Our Mission


The RFP is empowering a cohort of academically competitive, socially conscious young leaders prepared to work for the betterment of themselves, their community, and the world.

Our Vision

We envision a day when Rosedale is a community full of educational, creative, and professional opportunities for students and adults.

Our Values

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Our commitment to LEAD is not limited to our building alone, nor is it limited to our students. Our staff and students alike bring the LEAD principles into the world, and it is through this commitment to LEAD that positive change will come to Rosedale. We work for a day in which our young LEADers will leave Rosedale to gain the skills and connections necessary to return to their home and work for progress here. Through Love, Education, Action, and Discipline, we believe that our young people can create opportunities and manifest potential in Rosedale that will build lasting change for our community and communities throughout the Delta.

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Our History


Our History


The RFP began as the Rosedale Community Youth Center in 2013 as a collaboration between students, parents, and educators in Rosedale. Inspired the successes of the 1960s Freedom Schools and of the Sunflower County Freedom Project, members of the Rosedale community came together to form an organization that could address the lack of opportunity that students face in this small town.

In 2013, Jeremiah Smith, then a Teach for America corps member teaching English at West Bolivar High School, began meeting with parents at the Riverside Missionary Baptist Church, organized with the help of Ms. Gale Towers, Ms. Kisha Ivey, and other parents in Rosedale. Together, this group identified several issues facing students in Rosedale: a lack of exposure to new places and ideas, a lack of access to college prep, and an after-school environment that did not include many positive opportunities beyond sports. After looking at various programs throughout the Delta, the group decided that the model of the Sunflower County Freedom Project seemed most promising for the community, and soon after they began visiting and talking with the SCFP.

In 2014, the RCYC partnered with WBHS teacher Jon Delperdang to bring students on trips to the National Civil Rights Museum and Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, to the Mississippi River Marathon in Greenville, and to the Mark Twain National Forest.

Meanwhile, the group discovered that the West Bolivar Christian Association, an organization originally founded by church leaders in Rosedale, had a building in Rosedale that was not being used. With the help of the WBCA board, the RCYC was able to move in and prepare for their first Freedom Summer.

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With the help of churches, local businesses, and fundraisers organized by Rosedale students, the RCYC was able to raise enough money to host its first Freedom Summer in 2015. Generous donations from the United Way of Cleveland-Bolivar County, JanTran, the City Council, and several families in Rosedale helped the RCYC to have an extremely successful summer program, with Fellows growing 1.5 years in reading, raising their scores by over 20% in math, and making huge gains in fitness and leadership development. As a result of these successes and following negotiations with the Freedom Project Network, the Rosedale Community Youth Center was given Freedom Project status in late 2015. 

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The Rosedale Freedom Project resumed programming for Freedom Summer 2016, with its highest enrollment yet. Not only did the RFP work with more students, it also initiated a partnership with Freedom Summer Collegiate to provide high school Freedom Fellows with ACT prep and collegiate experiences. Following up on these developments, the RFP hosted programming throughout the school year, holding weekly photography and oral history classes.

Freedom Summer 2017 has been our most successful summer yet, and we are excited to be offering a full schedule of after-school programming in the 2017-2018 school year, including tutoring, novel studies, arts programming, mentoring, college prep, and Boy Scouts. In the upcoming year, the RFP hopes to expand its staff in order to offer more civics oriented programming to help Freedom Fellows take on more leadership roles in their community.

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Our Staff


Our Staff


Jeremiah Smith, Executive Director

Jeremiah Smith is the co-founder and Executive Director for the Rosedale Freedom Project. Originally from Virginia, Mr. Smith travelled to the Mississippi Delta with Teach for America in 2012. Working as an English Teacher at the High School in Rosedale and inspired by the work of the Sunflower County Freedom Project, Mr. Smith became convinced that, if given the right opportunities, students in Rosedale could compete with students from America's most prestigious schools. In that spirit, he worked for two years as the Director of Literacy Programming at the SCFP and worked to open the RCYC for its first Freedom Summer program in 2015. Mr. Smith is also currently working on his Master's degree at Delta State University as a member of the TFA Graduate Fellows program. Mr. Smith currently lives in Rosedale.

Lucas Rapisarda, Director of Operations

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Lucas is the second full-time staff member at the Rosedale Freedom Project. Mr. Rapisarda grew up outside of Chicago and attended college at the University of Wisconsin before coming to Rosedale, Mississippi to work at West Bolivar High School through Teach for America in 2015. Starting an AP Chemistry program at WBHS demonstrated to Mr. Rapisarda students' need and desire for additional learning opportunities beyond the school day. Mr. Rapisarda joined the RFP during Freedom Summer 2017, and is also working with the TFA Graduate Fellows program at Delta State University to develop an inquiry-based science curriculum for use at after-school programs like the RFP. Mr. Rapisarda currently lives in Cleveland, MS.

Latoysha BrownProgram Director

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Latoysha Brown, herself a graduate from the Sunflower County Freedom Project, was part of the founding team at the Rosedale Freedom Project in 2015, and has spent her summers with the RFP ever since, first as a Teacher-Advisor, then as Lead TA, and now as a Program Director. In Summer 2017, Ms. Brown led the RFP's Theater Arts program, in addition to developing and piloting an integral aspect of the RFP's work: Leadership Club. Ms. Brown is currently completing her final year at the University of Southern Mississippi, studying Sociology and African-American Studies. She is passionate about restorative justice and empowerment for students; hear more from her and our other undergraduate teachers.

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Our Supporters


Our Supporters


Without our supporters, we would be unable to do this work. Generous contributions from our donors, corporate and individual, ensure that our students have access to top-quality instruction, books and classroom materials, and transportation to and from the program. The efforts of our partners allow the RFP to bring in the best summer Teacher-Advisors and to give our students access to high-quality arts instruction from experienced local artists.

Individual Donors

The Janoush Family

The Adams Family

The Schwartz Family

The Delperdang Family

The Moore Family

Ms. Laurie Black

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Contact Us


Contact Us


 
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