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Everyday Hero: Woman creates calendar using local kids to celebrate Black history all year long

Kurt Everyday Hero (February 22).jpg
Posted at 6:01 PM, Feb 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 15:53:47-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Local kids are now starring in a special calendar celebrating Black history all year long. It's all thanks to Traci Chisolm.

"This is one of our favorites. Doesn't she look like her grandchild? These are girls from our academy re-enacting... this is Katherine Johnson, who was one of the Hidden Figures from NASA."

Chisolm is a local pastor and founder of The Crowned Academy, the non-profit behind these calendars that uses kids from her mentoring program to model re-enactments of famous people. She points to one of her students.

"I mean, does he not look like Malcolm X?" she says with a laugh.

There are also modern-day figures, like filmmaker Spike Lee and a certain famous First Couple, Barack and Michelle Obama.

Chisolm says she noticed something as the kids were doing the modeling.

"Boldness and confidence. So, you're not just putting on the attire - I believe you're putting on the personality, the character of these amazing men and women who have made strides in the Black community. When they're putting on the costumes, I'm reminded of the next generation that are going to come and pave the way, and so it's exciting; it's exhilarating - they're learning Black history."

Yes, in addition to the historic figures they're portraying, the calendars feature nuggets of African American history - and not just in the month of February.

"And so, all year long we want people to know all year round - 365 days a year - that we can celebrate our heritage. And so, I just believe it leaves a lasting impression on the children. They'll never forget these moments, and it leaves a lasting impression on the community."

So, how did this come about?

"I have to be honest - it was a God-inspired idea," she said.

But the calendar is just one project she works on. There's also mentoring, after-school programs and field trips.

"We have an entrepreneurship program, so they get to intern with a local entrepreneur, and throughout the summer they get paid to learn about what they do," she explained.

For all those things, News 3 presented Chisolm with an Everyday Hero award, along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

"Oh, wow! I don't know why... this is gonna make me cry, but this is exciting! Thank you! Wow! Thank you, Southern Bank! We can use it!" she exclaimed.

If you'd like to more information on the calendars, which are $22 to order one, click here.

To nominate someone for an Everyday Hero Award, click here.