Written By: Tom Lange
Zasmine Johnson has a blueprint for success and she is following it. Literally. The most impressive part is, that success is directed as much or more for others as it is to her.
As programs manager for the Clark-Fox Family Foundation, Zasmine coordinates initiatives to help area students access on-campus college summer programs, prepare for career paths via trade schools and other skills-training opportunities, and cultivate learning momentum throughout the summer by providing easy access to camps related to arts, dance, drama, STEM and more. All these efforts funnel through the Blueprint4 website, an online resource repository founded in 2015 by the Clark-Fox Family Foundation.
“Summer learning loss is a key challenge and there are many camps to help students retain the knowledge and skills they gained during the school year,” said Zasmine, a 2011 Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship winner. “We provide a free list of summer camps to make it easy for anyone to publish information about camps, and for parents and families to find them.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in physical distancing and quarantines, Zasmine worked with the Ferguson-Florissant school district to stage a fair to help the camps and potential participants connect in person.
“We are very intentional about working to bring people together,” Zasmine said. “The camp fair was great for outreach and exposure that was more easily accessible for many families.”
Many camps are figuring out ways to keep the learning going this summer despite uncertainties resulting from the pandemic.
“They are coming up with fun and creative ways to do projects at home for science, nature, for example. Some parents are not working right now so you can’t make assumptions about what might be common household items. Art camps are putting kits together to be safely picked up or delivered, and nature camps are having students go outside and look at plants at home, or helping them figure out which bugs are good and which ones to stay away from.”
Being a community resource has always been important to Zasmine, a Hazelwood Central graduate who earned a bachelor’s degree in health science and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Missouri.
When she won the Carl Fricks scholarship, Zasmine considered sportsmanship something limited to, well, sports. Now, she sees how sportsmanship’s characteristics apply to work and life.
“I saw the winners came from different backgrounds, but all had the same traits,” she said. “To be successful in anything, you need to have a certain amount of compassion and be willing work with others.”
It sounds like a blueprint she intends to follow.