Jurema Gorham: Knowledge is Power

Jurema Gorham is an innovator, educator, community activist, and Founder and Executive Director of Burst Into Books.

As a 9th-grade Physical Science instructor, Jurema teaches over 100 students the principles of Physics and Chemistry. Through science exploration, analyzing case studies, project-based learning, and labs, students are able to use critical thinking to understand connections across disciplines. Also, through integrating the arts, they are able to create new ways to demonstrate mastery of the material.

Jurema believes it is truly important to help her students to be innovators and seek to be change agents in the world. Prior to joining Noble, Jurema taught at the elementary school level ranging from kindergarten to middle school.

Her diverse instructional experience aided her in being able to provide differentiated lessons that met all students’ needs. Through data tracking, she was able to address misconceptions students had about the content. Also, challenge their problem solving and critical thinking skills.

In 2018, Jurema founded Burst Into Books NFP. Burst Into Books is a leveled reading organization that is geared towards children from ages 6 months to 18 years old. Our mission is to help children develop a love for literature through reading circles, book clubs, writing workshops, online workshops, educational services, and family-centered events.

We had the pleasure of catching up with Jurema to discuss her vision for Burst into Books and what’s next for the community.

Jurema, you are the founder of Burst Into Books. Tell us more about it.

Burst Into Books’ mission is to rebuild our village through advocacy, the arts, educational and family programming. We envision a world transformed by cultural literacy through education.

Burst Into Books is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to helping the youth deepen their love of reading by integrating the arts, providing opportunities for them to engage with those connected to the literacy field, and creating a space for them to express themselves. We are invested in supporting the whole family unit in order to establish long lasting change.

How has Burst Into Books impacted the community?

Since 2018, we have provided over 3,000 children with books to add to their home libraries. Also, we have developed community partnerships in order to support families and schools. Through our literacy-based programs and services, we are able to empower the whole family to use literacy as a means to liberation. Furthermore, host events that help build community in some of the most underserved areas of Chicago.

What are some of the perks of being part of the program?

The youth get an opportunity to meet guest authors, participate in interactive activities based on the books they read, and receive free books at all of our events. In addition, the youth and their families start to build relationships with one another. We are able to see how a child starts to develop due to their village expanding and empowering them to be their best. Last, we have a lot of fun!

 You are also the founder of Remixing the Narrative LLC. I have got to hear more about this gem. Give our readers a sneak peek into the world of Remixing the Narrative.

Remixing the Narrative LLC. is committed to helping the community is three main areas: Health & Nutrition, Youth & Family, and Business Development. The way we accomplish this is through programming that is customized to meet the community we are serving. This year, we kicked off our Remixing the Narrative Farmers Market in the Roseland neighborhood on the far south side of Chicago. Our goal is to provide quality and fresh resources to an area that is a food desert. Also, we have begun cultivating our community garden in which we provide produce, teach cooking classes and educate the community on gardening.

In 2022, we will bring back our conferences that focus on boys and girls between the ages of 6 years old to 18 years old. Each conference is a day full of workshops, team-building activities, catered lunch, and opportunities for the youth to meet adults who can be their mentors. Moreover, our parent conference is an opportunity to pour into our parents and provide them with tools to grow as well. We understand that we must invest in a person’s whole self in order to help them to strive in their daily lives.

Last, our Business Development sector will focus on youth entrepreneurship classes and masterclasses for business owners. In order to strengthen our divested communities, we must bring more businesses to the area. By equipping current and future business owners, we are providing opportunities for new jobs and they have the tools to establish a thriving business.

How can readers get involved and/or support Burst Into Books and Remixing the Narrative?

You can learn more about Burst Into Books at http://www.burstinobooks.org. Here you will find all of our information and social media handles. In order to be involved with Remixing the Narrative, you can contact us at (312) 970-9551.

What are some other projects you are working on?

Burst Into Books will host our Spelling Bee on August 6th that is geared towards children in the 2nd to 8th grade. On August 21st, we will host our annual fundraiser with the goal of raising $50,000. In addition, on On September 11th we are hosting our Back to School Celebration. We are truly using this time to engage with families and plan for our 2021-2022 season.

Lastly, if you could have a conversation with anyone past or present, who would it be and why?

I would love an opportunity to have a conversation with Jay-Z. I have always respected his business mindset. I would love to just soak in his best practices and lessons on how to scale a business. Not to mention he is one of my favorite rappers too.

Connect with Jurema and the Bursts into Books Community online www.burstinobooks.org

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