Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wyshina Harris

Wyshina Harris, was a remarkable woman.

I say 'was' because she was murdered this morning in a senseless act of violence.

Wyshina was a part of our team at Central Dallas Ministries who worked in the Turner Courts Public Housing development until this summer until program cuts and Dallas Housing Authority's decision to rebuild the development caused us to cut staff and move to another location. Even then she showed a beautiful spirit of dedication to the organization and most importantly to the community.

Wyshina worked with children and their parents. She worked with volunteers and staff. Even when she was able to move out of Turner Courts, she put in long hours and tremendous energy to help other residents discover their capacity.

We are proud to have worked with her. We benefited from her joy and enthusiasm. We remember her lovingly.

I teased her about becoming a celebrity when she and her friend and colleague Sylvia Baylor were the focus of a special feature of the Dallas Morning News about Southern Dallas and Turner Courts in particular. Here is the section of the article that involved the Q&A with Wyshina. It'll tell you all you need to know about this remarkable woman.

Q&A with Wyshina Harris
Wyshina Harris is education outreach manager at Turner Courts' after-school academy.

What were your expectations when you arrived at the academy?
I had the perception that the kids don't want to learn. ... That is so not true. This program provides kids with structure, love and safety.

You recently moved from Turner Courts to a house in Pleasant Grove. Was that a significant milestone?
Yes. I knew this was my stepping stone. People here are trying to move up, move out. We try to teach the kids: This is not it. Turner Courts is not it.

How could organizations or individuals help the academy continue to be effective?
Don't come in and give a bike at Christmas and expect these kids' lives to be OK. Help them with their homework for a year. If you're going to do it, do it all the way. It's great when people give. Just don't give and leave.

What do you hope the kids will gain from this experience?
If nothing else, I want one of the kids to grow up and say, "I made it because of the academy."

1 comment:

ron said...

Nausia swept over me. I am so sorry.