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Members of IPS Community Honored for Commitment to Education

Marlin Jackson, Fight for Life Founder/CEO, and former Indianapolis Colt, recently posed with several members of his team and Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), including (left to right) Stephanie West, IPS Innovation’s Sankofa School of Success, Grade 4 teacher; Jackson; Mitzi Freeland, Charles Fairbanks IPS 105, Grade 3 teacher; Anna Sutter, Fight for Life Director of Program Management; Lisa Mitchell, Fight for Life Chief Operating Officer; and Ja’Vion Morton-Ross, a student at Sankofa School of Success, and his guardian Keisha Ross.

Educators and a family from Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) were recognized on June 16 for their commitment to education.

The Fight for Life Foundation, an Indianapolis nonprofit organization that helps underserved youth by providing social-emotional learning programs, honored the group during its first Building Dreams Champions Breakfast at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, which is the Indianapolis Colts’ training facility,

“This event is a celebration of families and educators who are all working with Building Dreams to support students,” said former Indianapolis Colts player Marlin Jackson, Fight for Life founder and chief operating officer. “It’s about awareness and community building, as well as recognizing the importance of bringing others in, in order to find solutions for our youth.” 

The recipients are:

IPS Educators 

  • Tihesha Henderson, head of school, Sankofa School of Success @ Arlington Woods 99.
  • Stephanie West, grade 4 teacher Sankofa School of Success @ Arlington Woods 99.
  • Kayla Wood, city connects site coordinator, Phalen Leadership Academy @ George H. Fisher 93.
  • Mitzi Freeland, grade 3 teacher Charles Warren Fairbanks School 105. 
  • Jose Gomez, lead student support specialist, Charles Warren Fairbanks School 105.
  • Chelsea Stockberger, grade 3 teacher, Paul Miller School 114.

Family and Student Recipients 

  • Ja’Vion Morton-Ross, a student at Sankofa School of Success, and his guardian Keisha Ross.

“The educators being honored during the champions breakfast have taken a very hands-on and immersive approach to using the app at their schools,” said Lisa Mitchell, Fight for Life chief operating officer. “They are constantly meeting with the school and Building Dreams program leaders to ensure the program is working and that student needs are being met, based on insight gained through the Building Dreams app.”  

Jackson created the Fight for Life Foundation in 2007. Since that time, the organization has assisted more than 13,000 underserved kids.

In 2018, Jackson and his team created a new tech platform, Building Dreams, which allows students to share their feelings, emotions, and stress levels every day they’re in school, and even when they are not in school. The program is developed for grades K-12 and includes incentives and intervention models to motivate students to share and improve their behavior. 

To learn more about Fight for Life Foundation and its Building Dreams app, visit