Heartworks Ministry was born out of a passionate desire to make a positive impact on the lives of minority children in our community. Sandee Hensley, a dedicated inner-city schoolteacher, spent years striving to make a difference until she experienced a breakthrough with one student, Todd McClinton. Through building a close relationship with Todd and his family, Sandee discovered that academic success is intricately linked to family involvement, expectations, and support. Recognizing the vital role of mentoring and cultural understanding, Sandee even welcomed Todd into her own home, helping him navigate the challenges that perpetuate poverty.
The solution to generational poverty requires a significant investment of time, resources, and deliberate re-education …
Realizing that addressing generational poverty required an extensive investment of time, resources, and intentional re-education, Sandee made the courageous decision to leave her teaching position in 1998. She devoted herself entirely to this cause and founded Heartworks Ministry, Inc. A welcoming home in the neighborhood became a sanctuary for children after school and during the summer, while volunteers focused on nurturing relationships and providing training to parents. All these efforts were rooted in Christian teachings, forming a foundation for lasting impact.
The community center flourished as families and children sought refuge and assistance. Sandee continued to mentor and guide Todd through high school, and despite receiving numerous offers to play professional football, Todd’s heart led him back to Columbia and Heartworks Ministry. His burning desire was to help other children break free from the chains of poverty.
Sandee, Todd, and a dedicated team of volunteers joined forces to serve the community. However, they soon realized that a community center and after-school programs alone couldn’t compensate for the deficiencies these children faced in their home lives. The solution lay in making a comprehensive investment of time, resources, and deliberate re-education, as Todd’s journey had demonstrated.
Thus, the vision took shape: a year-round, full-time, independent Christian school that would collaborate with children, their families, and the community to transform the lives of youth in poverty-stricken areas of Columbia. In 2007, Jubilee Academy (named after the year of jubilee in Leviticus 25) commenced its first academic year. It directly served over 20 families from the Waites Road community and surrounding areas, who were originally zoned to attend schools that were once listed among the “Worst 25 Schools in the Nation.” In 2009, Jubilee Academy proudly received accreditation from the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA), a testament to its commitment to excellence.
At Heartworks and Jubilee Academy, we continue to carry the torch ignited by Sandee’s unwavering determination. We invite you to be a part of our inspiring journey as we strive to break the cycle of poverty and create a brighter future for our children. Together, we can make a lasting difference.