Mentoring Can Change a Life

Queen was featured in March 2018 Nonprofit and Community News Online. The freelance writer is Ms. Paula Anderson. 

​Zenobia Jackson has been helping young girls transform into “butterflies” for the past six years. Her program, The Butterfly Project, was implemented  and established in Tunica, MS.

As a former teacher, she wanted to help girls understand more about life issues.  

The BP focuses on three phases.   Each phase is designed to expand the mindset and broaden their outlook on life.    

Jackson said, “Phase 2 is the most important piece because the girls have a chance to offer service to others.”  Some of the projects have been community clean-ups, community gardening and sharing sugar-free candy and crafts with senior citizens.

After working with the girls for six years, her goal is to teach other adults some of the components of mentoring.  Jackson adds,”You need a heart for people and be able to communicate with them.” She describes this as a care system.

While working in her program, she talked about some of the challenges she faced. Transportation was an issue for the girls, so her husband, Anthony Jackson, purchased a 25 passenger van for the girls. He bought it in Pennsylvania and drove it back to Tunica.

Another challenge was developing trusting relationships with parents and the mentees.  One of her success stories is Demetrius Calhoun.She became involved in her life when she was 12 years-old. Jackson noticed the pain within her and through caring, loving and mentoring she began to see the transformation.  Now, she is in the 11th grade student and wants to be a mediator.

Her latest project is working with middle school students at Lowrance Middle School in Southeast Memphis.  She is contracted with Heal the Hood Foundation as a mentor.  

Betina Hunt, Phases Mentoring Coordinator with Heal the Hood Foundation, said “Mrs. Jackson serves as an Mentor & Interventionist Specialist  through our contract with the Shelby County School/ G.R.A.S.S.Y. Program (Gang Reduction Assistance for Saving Society's Youth).

Our services provide innovative intervention and prevention groups and one-on-one sessions with youth inside the Shelby County Schools which consists of but not limited to behavior modification, life skills training, mentoring, college and career preparation, community service projects and volunteering.

“Ms. Jackson is a great asset to the HTH team with not only her passion and love for our youth but her experience and willingness help to give of her time,” adds Hunt.

In this role, she works with 6th, 7th and 8th graders on setting goals for behavior, academics, and family relationships.

Jackson plans to collaborate with other nonprofit mentoring programs to develop and enhance what currently exists in the Memphis area.

For more information about Zenobia Jackson, contact her at

Courtesy photos: Zenobia Jackson

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