Kuntry Kidz Youth Foundation (“KK”) was founded in 2007 by Elisha Barnes-Booth in Collins, Mississippi. The organization was developed to address the lack of positive exposure, to provide accessibility to uplifting programs and positive role models for youth growing up in the south.
The first community workshop for our teens was held at Shady Oak Church in Collins, Mississippi. This workshop focused on financial literacy and college preparedness. A $250 book scholarship was given in partnership with Priority One Bank.
In October 2008, Kuntry Kidz formed its first Board of Directors consisting of Billy Ford, Denise Brooks, Dena Parker, Elisha Barnes-Booth, and the late Richard Jones. In early 2009 KK officially incorporated in the State of Mississippi.
In 2011, KK hosted its first ACT Prep Workshop in partnership with Collins High School and Covington County Men United for A Cause. In 2012, programming was expanded to add an additional community engagement service of a back-2-school supply drive under the direction of board member Denise Brooks. We also implemented our mentoring program “ Gemz & Gentz”. This additional component expanded services to include monthly educational enhancement and personal development workshops.
In 2013, the Founder reached out to Dawn Montgomery-Greene, a native Mississippian and Published Commercial Model, to become Kuntry Kidz National Spokesperson. This joining of like-minds led to our first fundraiser called “Cocktails For A Cause”. Also in 2013, we held our first senior brunch for high school seniors of our mentoring program. The senior brunch is designed to honor the accomplishments of graduating students and give them the opportunity to meet privately with local and national community leaders and celebrities. At the inaugural brunch, students were able to dine with Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree. In September 2013, we hosted our First Teen Leadership Summit for over 100 students at the Lake Terrace Convention center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
In 2014, KK was blessed to obtain its 501(c)(3)status which provided the opportunity to increase our network of community partnerships and access to various available community resources that would enable us to better serve our stakeholders.
In 2016 KK expanded his reach to Laurel, MS to form a partnership with the Laurel Housing Authority to provide a mentoring program for adolescent girls in its Brown Circle Community.
Today KK has served hundreds of youth through educational and personal development programs and events. The success of KK is reflected in the number of returning students to our programs and the personal testimonies of students of increased self-esteem, increased ACT scores, and knowledge gained from quality positive youth development programming.