Greater Delta: Mississippi & Arkansas
The Greater Delta remains defined by its greatest asset: its people. Together, we can transform and expand opportunities for kids in Mississippi and Arkansas.
The story of Teach For America’s work in the Greater Delta is nearly 30 years in the making but built on a rich history that stretches back much further.
Though the popular narrative about Arkansas and Mississippi is often deficit-based and focuses on a history of oppression, what is also true is that this region has repeatedly set the vision and standard for what is possible when communities come together to fight for change. Holding this context close, our regional mission is to find new opportunities to create further impact based on the lessons learned from the people who came before us. From Freedom Rides and schools to navigating unparalleled economic limitations to national news-making integration efforts that continue to this day, we have much to learn from the educators and equity workers who started the playbook for change in such a landscape.
What we have learned since our first cohort, in 1991, is that to set students on a trajectory towards access and opportunity, they must have competence in three things: literacy, leadership, and wellness. Literacy, because we cannot continue to allow students to matriculate from high school without reading comprehension. Leadership, because our students continue to receive the message that, to thrive, they must leave their home communities and work elsewhere. Wellness, because our students are brilliant, and the door to their futures shouldn’t depend on how resilient they are to trauma. By equipping students with this foundation, we are poised to see generations in the Delta who will finish the playbook started for them, right here.
Our corps members work in some of the hardest-to-reach places of the rural Delta region, on both sides of the Mississippi River, and small-urban communities who continue to face deeply rooted systemic challenges. Corps members' two-year commitment is measured not only in their students’ academic growth but in steps taken to maximize their experience in their placement community. And their work continues through a growing population of alumni and a legacy of regional leadership that is visible in offices, storefronts, courtrooms, and classrooms today.
Because, for us, it’s personal. The Greater Delta is home. Moved by the passion and potential of this place, we have built our lives here, met partners here, started families here, established businesses here, and continue to pour our hearts into the students and families we live and work alongside. We hold unique proximity to our ultimate stakeholders and their greatest challenges.
In short, we are defined by our greatest asset, our people: creative, entrepreneurial, resilient, and visionary. We are brimming with the desire to see our region live up to its potential as two destination states, a beacon from where the brilliance of all is encouraged and amplified. If the Delta adage is true—“Here, if you know someone, you know everyone”—then we see the potential for the impact we make together to ripple across our region, our country, and beyond.