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Department of Public Policy Leadership
University of Mississippi
Mitchell Palmertree
Teaching Assistant
Sunflower County Freedom Project

Foxworth, Mississippi

“To say that my internship at Sunflower County Freedom Project was simply a learning experience is an understatement. The summer was an eye opening and absolutely transformative experience for me. I have long believed that one of the first steps to solving a problem was to have a working understanding of it—knowing how it occurs, who it affects, and the outcomes it brings. I knew the problem my work at Sunflower was addressing very intimately. I grew up and attended school in a town bordering the Mississippi Delta. I knew all too well that the problems that had affected my education were much worse for the children of Sunflower County. What I did not know was how to solve it.

“The Sunflower County Freedom Project taught me how education should be structured to help children grow. Often, we care far too much about the material being taught and not enough about the children learning it. At the SCFP, I learned how education should be devoted to building up the whole child, not just individual subjects. More importantly though, my service inspired me. Sunflower County Freedom Project was founded by a man who loved the community he served and saw a need that was unmet. As I worked with my students, so many of our interactions reminded me of my home and the need that was there. During my exit interview, I spoke with the director about how to bring such a bright glimmer of hope like the Freedom Project back to my home. I’ve always wanted to work to fix the problems that plague the state I call home, and now, thanks to the SCFP, I know where to start.”