Columbia’s own Blind Side

March 2010 - Cover Story
by Deena C. Bouknight

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March 2010 - Cover Story

(Editor’s note: This is a follow-up to the first article we ran on Sandee Hensley’s Heartworks Ministry and Jubilee Academy in our December 2006 issue.)

When the movie The Blind Side opened in theaters nationwide last fall, Sandee Hensley’s phone rang off the hook. Emerging from the theaters, friends and family members hastily called to say they had seen her in the real-life character of feisty Leigh Anne Tuohy, played by Sandra Bullock. The actress recently won a Golden Globe award for her portrayal of a white woman who nurtures a troubled black youth, Michael Oher. Callers also noted that Oher reminded them of the gentle giant Todd McClinton, whose young life Hensley had impacted just as dramatically. And vice versa.

You could say that Hensley was blindsided when she began teaching at a Columbia inner-city middle school in 1995. She describes the experience as “hell on earth.” She adds, “These children were violent, spit on me, had sex in the bathroom, cursed
… and they weren’t even old enough to know anything.”

The bright light, however, was Todd McClinton. On her first day of teaching eighth grade at the school, Hensley noticed a massive student, head hung low, and commented to him, “You look like a ball player.” A rapport between them ensued.

Why did Christ die for you?

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