Chantel Marsaw expands non-profit organization

When Natchez, Miss. native Chantel Marsaw looks at the impact she has made in the lives of teens with deceased parents, her emotions get the best of her.

“I cry a lot when I think about the way all of the children respond to me,” said Marsaw, who is a business administration major at Alcorn State University. “It is a feeling I really cannot describe. I was once one of those students when I was in high school. I lost so many loved ones at once.”

Marsaw’s “It Still Takes a Village” organization has been instrumental in helping 52 high school graduates from both public and private schools in the Natchez area. Marsaw’s success has given her the opportunity to extend her help to Jefferson County, Claiborne County, and Wilkinson County schools.

“I expanded because I want to reach as many students as I can. I knew if a town as small as Natches had so many students without a parent, then there were more in surrounding counties.”

Marsaw’s inspiration for the organization started when her daughter, who was her class president in 2013, asked her to do something special for her classmates with parents who had passed away. She then started the non-profit organization by going to local high schools and meeting guidance counselors to see what students were in need.

“At the time, I really wasn’t sure what to do, so I prayed and the vision just came to me.”

With Marsaw having so much on her plate from being a full time college student to working to provide for her family, the task can be stressful. Playing an important role in the lives of teenagers keeps her going.

“I find it very rewarding to help any child who needs me. I feel that this is important because it shows every child that the community is behind them for support, love, compassion and understanding.”

Although a success, Marsaw has a bigger vision for her organization. She has her eyes set on nurturing toddlers and pre-teens.

“My goal is to reach as many student as God allows me to. I want to open up a community center for children as young as age 5 and up. When a child that small loses a parent, I can step in and start supporting those children as well.”

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