Photo and story by Starlette Simmons
As the sun danced off the balcony of the apartment building, she stood steady. Thirteen-year-old Wynter Kimes’ mind was overflowing with ideas, “Why are people so mean to each other? Why don’t people value justice? What can I do to help others?”
She then walked down the hallway of her home in a pink dress shirt, green pants and white low-top sneakers in hopes of getting answers. Once she arrived to her mother’s bedroom door, she asked, “Mom, what would you do if you were getting bullied?”
Her mother looked as if she had walked into a surprise party, and responded, “Why do you ask—what’s wrong, sweetie?”
“Well, there’s a bully at school and-…,” she started. But before Kimes could finish her thought, her mother cut her off by exclaiming, “Write! Any problems that you have had or any feelings.”
Her mother stood up from her bed and walked toward her bedroom closet. She reached for the silver door handle and opened the door, which had a light green color to it. After digging in the closet and knocking over some of her clothes hanging on racks, her mother irritably snapped, “Where is that thing? I could’ve sworn it was in here.”
After a while, she finally found what it and turned to close the closet door behind her. In her hand was a clean, unused pen and pad. When she walked over to Kimes, she placed it in her hands. Kimes grabbed the purple pen and the pad with a yellow cover, and looked up to her mother. Her mother gave her a hug and said, “I had the same problems when I was around your age, and my mom told me to write.”
Kimes, still looking up at her mother, asked with a hard swallow, “Did it help you?”
Her mother said with confidence, “If not, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
Kimes turned and went down the hallway toward her room, now seeing her situation from a different standpoint. Every week her mother would review what she had written and help her understand what Kimes would come to know as journalism. After hearing her mother talk about her journaling experience when she was younger, Kimes’ interest grew.
She began reading books, articles and analyzing story reports. Months later, she decided she wanted to pursue writing. She feels like she needs to better evaluate situations in order to improve her writing. This led her to the Youth Media Project to learn all she could to better her career in journalism.
Kimes, who is in the 10th grade at Clinton Christian Academy, knows there are other people who need help or motivation. She plans to use her writing to help and figure out ways they can resolve or at least ease their situations. She wants to help solve problems in Jackson through her craft as well.
Before Kimes came to the Youth Media Project in June 2018, she had not published her work, but is excited to. “Anyone can post material on a website, but that doesn’t mean even one person would see it,” Kimes said. “If I even post a picture, I want it to be as if I told every single person in America.”
Her goals are to get a great position as a reporter, make good money and “give people hope or help.” She plans to learn all she can about journalism and reporting to help achieve that goal.
She has personal experience with depression and wants to help others going through it with her writing. “I’ve been on that street and would like to warn people to turn around and go the other way,” she says.
Kimes, now 15, was born in Jackson and has seen no changes to the area whatsoever. With the right motivation, Kimes believes Jackson can have less crime. “Since no one else is going to help make changes to my hometown, I will–even if I had to do it by myself. If Jacksonians don’t care about how Jackson looks, who will?” she says.
“I enjoy helping others and writing because it makes me happy and allows me to view situations in a new perspective,” Kimes says.
Starlette Simmons is a senior at Jim Hill High School and part of the 2018 Youth Media Project.