Since 1913, Bransford High School has been a historical landmark in Springfield. Named from its founder Lena Bransford, it embodies the history and memories of much of the African American community and has provided a sense of identity to hundreds of graduates.
But in the 1980s, the building started to decline—the roof was caving in, plants were growing inside and asbestos was running rampant. Greater Faith Community Action Corporation stepped in to lead the building’s renovation so that it could house an afterschool program and summer camp: Bransford Pride. It’s now among the top afterschool programs in the state and mentors nearly 60 youth each day. But due to increasing structural damage, the building was demolished in 2017.
Now the city, county and Bransford Community Center board are advocating for a newly built full service center to serve the kids and families in Springfield.
“It’s very important to create that space and for them to have somewhere to go to grow.”
Tiffany has been with the organization since 2012. She says it’s so inspiring when past students will come up to her who are applying or jobs and getting into college.
“I am proud of every last one of them and their accomplishments,” she says. “We are raising our future. I certainly believe that building a strong foundation is a great way to build good citizens. We’re trying to make great leaders and to help kids find their own voice, to help them to find their uniqueness and their greatness.”
Tiffany knows that a new building is a great start for that foundation. They even plan to use the space to provide services for seniors, to add a computer lab to teach literacy and to open a space to house other agencies.
“It’s going to be a center for everyone.”