Future looks bright for Alligator children
by Paisley Boston
Dec 24, 2013 | 2155 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Former alderman Patrina Barksdale has been working to make the future a little brighter for the children of Alligator and the North Bolivar School District.

In 2009, Barksdale served as the alderman of Alligator and while serving in this position, she took an interest in the children in the community.

"I observed the daily routines of the children in my town and I found that after school, most of them basically walked the streets," said Barksdale.

Barksdale sought solutions to get children off of the streets and into an environment that was conducive to learning.

Later that year, she consulted with a few of her constituents about providing services to the children in Alligator but she did not receive the type of feedback from them that she had intended.

"I received a great deal of negative feedback but I did not let that stop me from striving to better the lives of the children—it was all about bettering the children," she said.

"I consulted with Attorney General Jim Hood. I presented him with my idea and a proposal and it was approved. I had the first after school program to be held in city hall," she added.

According to Barksdale, the organization was founded in 2009 as Trina's Enrichment Program but in June 2013, the name of the center was changed to Nirpak's Learning Center, Inc.

It services students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

"I have always had a passion for helping children. When I was 15, I started a tutoring program for younger children out of my grandmother's storage room," she said.

"I don’t feel that I was inspired to start this organization—I was appointed by God, he laid it on my heart to do it. It would not be fitting for me to run my organization without acknowledging Christ," added Barksdale.

Nirpak's Learning Center, Inc. is a non-profit organization that operates Monday through Friday between the hours of 4-6 p.m.

Nirpak offers a variety of services designed to meet the needs of all of its students.

"We service the needs of each child's spirit, mind, body and soul by providing the Word of God, education, nutritious snacks and exercise," said Barksdale.

The center offers one on one tutoring, homework assistance, college application assistance, self-esteem workshops, basic computer training, transportation and preparation for state and semester exams.

Barksdale said that she has noticed that a large number of high school seniors have not been able to graduated due to subject area testing.

"I have consulted with the superintendent of the North Bolivar School District and received some study materials from teachers. It takes a village to raise a child," added Barksdale.

The center is currently looking for volunteers and registration for new students will begin in 2014 – a date has not been set for registration.

For more information about Nirpak's Learning Center, Inc., contact Barksdale at 662-621-9737.