Interview: Jenny High Tells Her Story and Discusses MLK Day Event
J: For those who aren’t familiar, tell me who you are and what you do.
Jenny: My name is Mrs. Jenny High, I was Blessed to be the daughter of an amazing father who reminded me every day that I was intelligent, and I could be whatever I wanted to when I grew up. My father instilled in me a confidence, zest for life and thirst for everlasting knowledge. I attended Penn State where I pursued a degree in Criminal Justice. I worked for many years in Health and Human Services, and later decided I needed a change in scenery, and studied Systems Administration at Syracuse University. I am married and have two of the greatest gifts of life GOD could have ever bestowed on me. My inspirations for all of my entrepreneurial and philanthropic ventures.
J: Could you please elaborate more about the Go High Corporation and the mission of the corporation?
Jenny: Go High Corp is designed for growing and sustaining advancements in equal rights by providing resource referrals to disadvantaged people, engaging in community partnerships to extend the range of our existing programs of ensuring that youth have equal access to financial, educational, and occupational opportunities that will help them thrive in the future by providing appropriate clothing for high school students who wanted to attend a prom or other special school event and providing twelve to eighteen month housing opportunities for LGBT and disabled youth, as well as providing a permanent location for youth to participate in the non-traditional arts in Richmond, Virginia and the surrounding counties.
Go High Corp has partnerships and memberships with various organizations, counties and businesses both locally and nationally. We have had events almost monthly since inception. We have had numerous events. Our events revolve around youth, the arts and always includes a message. We are a member organization of Dignity in Schools our mission involves ending the school to prison/deportation pipeline. Educational Equality and equity for all students. More counselors less cop's in schools concept. I incorporate these messages into all of my events, along with those of other organizations whose boards I sit on or am a member of such as GLSEN and LULAC.
J: Can you describe some of the events that the corporation have done in the past?
Jenny: We have had fashion shows sponsored by Dillard's Short Pump, Dignity in Schools annual week of action at Diversity Richmond a huge supporter, where we had the youth and local poets prepare spoken word regarding the theme counselors not cop's. We have been to Community Outdoor events where I had Og Illa, Droptop, and 1800 Frank come out to represent. I try to have an event at least monthly. VCU has just selected us to create a model program for special needs children which has been my dream project.
J: I recall going to the Counselors Not Cops event where I performed some poetry for the youth and the community and it was a good event. The way that Counselors Not Cops event was set up really opened the youth’s eyes with former RPS Alum and heads of organizations like GLSEN to discuss safe spaces and building relations with counselors and figures like teachers and counselors. Can you explain your love for the youth?
Jenny: I wouldn't say I love the youth, just kidding. They keep my spirit youthful. I was blessed to have people to motivate and guide me along when I needed. I believe the drive and confidence I have is due to the daily reinforcement my father instilled in me. A lot of young people have this defeated attitude and they are dismissive of the wealth of knowledge and talent they possess. They fail to realize that no two of them are alike and someone out there is looking for that one special gift that they take for granted. I am here to show them how to appreciate, use and make that gift marketable. Everyone should always have a, b and c plans.
J: What is the purpose of the MLK Day event? What does it mean to you?
Jenny: The MLK event was something I initially did not own. I ended up getting involved due to lack of communication, Adults are notorious for this too. My associates were organizing an event, everyone was responsible for reserving a space, they didn't have a space I was able to and voilà now I own the MLK event. Initially I wanted my interns to organize and if it weren't for you and one of my directors Kandise Lucas from Advocates in Equities in Schools there would be no event. Every year I discover a bit more about Dr. King I grow to love respect and admire. I want to celebrate him because he is worthy. Since 2016 I have come to realize not only that I'm a first generation American, but that I no longer feel free. That the freedom I once thought I was living no longer exists for me and that my role these final years of my life is to prepare you young people to get it back for your selves.
J: Can you give a rundown of the event and open up about VSU Professor Dr. Zoe Spencer importance of being there?
Jenny: Our events are always fabulous. Especially when we all come together. A few of the Virginia Coalition of Dignity in Schools will be together. We are all fun and I am super silly. I never let anyone get serious, I won't have it. We will have a variety of guests, poets, and some of the men from the VCU Alpha Phi Alpha steppers there. We will have the owner of launch trampoline park and her kangaroo mascot. She will talk about financial literacy and entrepreneurship. I believe the Governor and Lieutenant Governor may stop by and a few of the delegates. We will provide breakfast and lunch. Dr. Zoe is an amazing woman and orator. I cannot wait to hear what she has in store for us. It should be a fast paced day full of back to back excitement.