Statistics often say that the odds of a teen getting out of a rural, low income community and becoming successful are slim to none.
This stereotype often trickles into the minds of Yazoo’s local youth, making them feel as if the world is against them or that they will never be given a chance to overcome the obstacles in their lives.
But the community has been blessed with a new locally-based organization, Fannie's Nest Inc., whose aim is to combat those stereotypes and empower local youth to go beyond the world they see before them.
Fannie's Nest is a Mississippi-based nonprofit organization, which strives to help Mississippi students and communities to grow in the following areas: Educational Scholarship, Career Development, Leadership, Service Learning, Financial Education, Physical Fitness, Self-Awareness, Cultural Awareness, Music Appreciation and Communication.
Its mission is simple: to educate, empower, and expose youth to a variety of stimulating experiences with the ultimate goal of nurturing them to soar beyond mediocrity, negative stereotypes, and unfavorable statistics.
Dr. Pamela Scott Bracey, president and co-Founder of Fannie's Nest, Inc., said the group first began among a tight-knit family.
"The organization was founded by a group of cousins who were interested in carrying out the legacy of 'communities with Christian unity' instilled by their grandmother, the late Fannie Lee Jones Scott," said Bracey.
As an organization dedicated to the community, Fannie's Nest offers a wide array of programs to benefit local youth.
Songbird Academy is a program Fannie's Nest offers that is designed to nurture and enhance the musical gifts of students who desire to worship Christ through song.
MOMMAs Family, or Mission Over Moment Mentoring for Athletes, is a new program starting this summer as a project to work with local youth, sponsored by Coach Darrell Scott Jr., co-founder of Fannie's Nest.
The most recent program, Belles and Beaus for Christ, was recently held February 18 at the L.T. Miller Community Center on Lamar Avenue.
This ministry and mentoring program included a formal cotillion in which young women and men individually commit to living Christian lifestyles.
The program featured five outstanding students from local high schools who completed a strenuous five-month program which would prepare them for adulthood.
"Participants were involved with workshops in personal finance, college and career awareness, Bible study, community service, mental and physical health, self awareness and reflection, professionalism, dinner etiquette, essay writing, public speaking, ballroom dancing, and team building," said Bracey.
The students who successfully completed the program were awarded with trophies, ACT vouchers for college and specialized awards based upon their character or progress throughout the program.
Fannie's Nest sponsors programs such as these through the efforts of local volunteers and through various donations.
"The proceeds from all events and donations are used to fund our county-wide youth initiatives and provide ACT vouchers and scholarships for our mentees," said Bracey.
Dr. Bracey and the other members of Fannie's Nest extend special thanks to local businesses and organizations who have contributed to their cause.
"We were very blessed to have the support of our top partners: the owners of Downtown Marketplace (who allow us to sell our 'I Love Yazoo' fundraising T-shirts in their store), Elayne Owens and the LifeSavers Organization (who provides a variety of vital resources), Tyson Foods (who provided large food donations), and Tulane Baptist Church (who allowed us to use their fellowship hall to have our weekly workshops, and their computer lab for the students educational assignments),” Bracey said. “We hope that many other businesses and churches are willing to partner in the future.”
Programs within Fannie's Nest Inc are available to all high school sophomores, juniors and seniors of any Yazoo City or County school or church. The programs are promoted via social media, email, local newspapers, and flyers.
Bracey feels that this organization will greatly enhance the community.
"It is my sincere hope for Yazoo City that we as adults learn to work together for the common good of our community, and not solely for our own benefit or gain,” Bracey said. “We have gone too long not putting the true needs of our children first, and our community is currently suffering because of it. We must learn to agree that true service is not about recognition and fame. We should simply learn to work together collectively, using our vast array of strengths and connections, to help move our community in a more positive direction.”