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'You are your own destiny': One learning center in north O educates students on Juneteenth through artwork

Posted at 9:49 PM, Jun 18, 2024
  • Video shows Element Learning Center in Florence, coloring books, movies, and students socializing.
  • At the Element Learning Center, Thelma Sims and her staff are working to ensure that her students are well-rounded and informed of American History.
  • Students use educational coloring book, documentaries, and movies to learn more about Juneteenth.


One learning center is looking to educate kids through creativity when it comes to Juneteenth.

With every crayon and marker. students at element learning center in Florence are learning about the power of a story.

"It's a different way for us to learn it… and we watched movies about Juneteenth and black history," said Chris Bridges

11-year-old Chris Bridge who lives here in the Florence neighborhood says he's familiar with salvery but this week he is learning more how it really ended...

"The original name for Juneteenth was Jubilee day,"

"Juneteenth just became a national holiday…and as a mentor…or a resource to the children… its my job to make sure that i a teaching… that i am passing that history on," said Thelma Sims, the owner and director of Element Learning Center.

Thelma Sims, the owner and director of Element Learning Center uses this month to have conversations about slavery, it's end and the work left to do to make sure these kids know how they fit into a larger story.

"I want to teach them to be proud of themselves… to embrace themselves…and you know to focus on your own-self worth and education… because you are your own destiny." said Sims.

Stories coming in all forms, movies like Harriet and Tulsa Race Massacre are other ways children come to understand history.

It gives us a simple opportunity to dialogue with the children..its critical that the kids understand what freedom means," said Sims.

Each child armed with knowledge, now ready to leave their mark on their community.

Sims tells she will continue to look for creative and fun ways to continue history with the kids she teaches. She says for tomorrow they will enjoy an outdoor picnic with traditional food.