OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A unique school in Oklahoma City, designed specifically for students who have ever had a loved one in prison, is ensuring those kids succeed with help from teachers like Rejeana Clark.
The mission of Little Light Christian School is breaking the cycle of generational incarceration for all of its 29 students, who all share one common denominator – a parent or relative who has served, or is currently serving, time behind bars.
The private school, funded by donations, is free to students from Pre-K to 12th grade, whom, through no fault of their own, were dealt a different hand in life. Students are given free meals, uniforms, and all the hugs they can handle.
“The kids here do have emotional, and inside trauma and healing that they have to do,” said volunteer Mekyla Bridwell. “There have been a lot of teachers in and out, but Ms. Rejeana has stuck with them, because that’s where her heart is.”
Among many other duties, “Ms. Rejeana” leads the student choir and teaches fourth grade.
“This is our calming corner. This is where kids get to come if they’re having a bad day or something’s not right,” Rejeana said, showing our news crew around her classroom.
Her students eagerly greet “Ms. Rejeana” each day with a hug.
“She’s a very nice teacher, she’s very kind. She’s the best teacher I’ve ever had,” Kinsley said.
“We spend time as a family, and we call each other a family,” Cory said.
“I’m not just their teacher, I’m their mother, I’m their grandmother sometimes. Whatever they need at that time, that’s what I am for them,” Rejeana said, as she spoke during a student choir performance for visiting church groups.
Rejeana thought our KFOR crew was there to cover the performance – yes, but not entirely. She didn’t yet know that Mekyla had nominated her for a $400 Pay It 4Ward award from First Fidelity Bank, until News Four’s Heather Holeman broke the news.
“We are doing a story on the school, but the real reason we’re here is because we have a program called Pay It 4Ward, and Mekyla nominated you for our Pay It 4Ward award,” Heather said, laughing at Rejeana’s shocked expression. “Mekyla!” Rejeana shouted.
Mekyla then chimed in, “We’re so appreciative of your love, your hard work, and everything you do. And on behalf of First Fidelity Bank, I would like to present you with $400.”
“Thank you so much,” Rejeana said as the two hugged.
Rejeana’s heart for at-risk kids led to her 18 years of teaching inner city students, who not only need her – she needs them. “I get my heart filled up,” she said.
“You really have to build those strong relationships with those students to get them to trust you, but once they do, you’re their whole world, and they become my whole world. It’s an unconditional love. It’s a love like I have never felt before because they thrive, they need it so bad,” Rejeana said, fighting back tears.
Kids also find stability at the school, where once a student, always a student, even when their relative is released.
“We are a family, that’s exactly what it is,” Rejeana said, whose influence makes all the difference for students like Cory. “I want to become a teacher here when I grow up,” he said.
Little Light Christian School teaches every single student to shine brightly, as they break the cycle of imprisonment, and become the light out of darkness for future generations.
If you know of a student with a family impacted by incarceration, Little Light Christian School is currently enrolling students from Pre-K to 3rd grade. The school is also hiring and could always use more volunteers. Click here for more information.
Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.