A Brighter Holiday
by Dr. Cathy Grace
Holidays can be bring about happy as well as thoughts of sadness, regrets and loss. For some family members the holidays can trigger bad memories which can result in bad behavior on their part directed at one or more family members. Steps can be taken to make the holidays bright for everyone. Some things to consider:
Help individuals who are already depressed or sad stay busy with “outside of themselves projects” such as stocking food banks, helping serve meals at the Salvation Army or wrapping gifts for senior citizens living in nursing homes.
Some individuals feel stress when attending or hosting large family gatherings. Consider limiting the number of people at one meal and have several smaller” get togethers”.
Alcohol and holidays do not mix. When individuals who are already under stress drink, it often leads to an unhappy and sometimes tragic outcome. When planning a holiday party, inform family and friends coming that no alcohol will be served so they will not come expecting to drink or bring their own. This one step in planning can eliminate alcohol fueled arguments about things which happened years ago that seem to surface when alcohol and family or friends meet for “happy holiday” dinners.
For some who want to be involved in the holiday planning, but are not physically able, give them “sit down” jobs such as bargain hunting for coupons in newspapers or advertisement flyers. Encourage them to help make lists of things that need to get done and to monitor how well the list is being followed.
When planning family holiday parties, avoid inviting people who have a history of having a confrontational past to the same event. Distance can be a good strategy to use, especially when the disagreement is recent and tempers still hot.
Holiday times are intended to be a time to celebrate the gift of never ending love. Reflections of that within families is the best way to honor the season.
Pictured top left: Terry Walters, Diane Sherrod, Ambra Sherrod, Lucy Miller
Bottom left: Lucy Miller, Diane Sherrod, and Renae Sanders of United Way
Adopt A Family—Giving back
The United Way organization pairs a family that can’t afford gifts this year with an individual, a community group, churches and local businesses. Through the United Way Adopt-a-Family, an annual holiday assistance program, families in need will receive gifts from their Wish List this holiday season.
Family Resource Center (FRC) of Columbus, Mississippi, is working with United Way to help provide a family holiday gift package for some of these families by supplying requests from their Wish List. The drive requires that items provided are new, not used, and range from clothing, shoes, toys, bicycles and other items, such as bedding, furniture or gift cards.
All the staff members of the facility reached into their own personal pockets to provide the gifts that were for two adopted families. Those contributing were Dianne Sherrod, Ambra Sherrod, Lucy Miller, Michael Farrar, Jackie Weir, Gabrielle Smith, Iris Sharp, Lucille Mosley, Beyonba Houston, and Terry Walters. Lucy coordinated the campaign and all staff worked to wrap and prepare the gifts.
Families anonymity in the Adopt A Family crusade is preserved from their adopters and all family gifts are delivered by a social worker. All interested parties can contact www.unitedwaynems.org to adopt their own family.
Families First for Mississippi
recently sponsored Health Works in Tupelo,
More events planned
(see story, right)
Pictured above: FRC'S Healthy Teen group teamed up with Health Works in Tupelo during the Thanksgiving school break to promote healthy choices and staying active. All the activities were held at the Tupelo Police Athletic League.
Statewide Event Planned for Teens
Families First for Mississippi is expanding Governor Bryant’s Healthy Teens for a Better Mississippi initiative throughout the State to include educational and innovative programs on healthy choices to engage teens. Families First is working diligently to promote healthy choices among teens, which impacts many of the leading challenges within the state of Mississippi. The vision of the partnership between Families First and Healthy Teens for a Better Mississippi is to promote healthy choices across a variety of areas that highly impact the health and future success of youth by providing parents with education and training, motivating teens to set goals and teach teens to choose responsible choices in their everyday lives.
“We want to equip our youth with the tools they need to make positive choices so they can live long, healthy lives,” said First Lady Deborah Bryant. “We need more advocates, like Families First for Mississippi, supporting our initiative to help teens stay in school and lead successful careers. This partnership is key to building a better future for the next generation of state leaders.”
On Wednesday, January 24th, 2018, Families First for Mississippi will host a state-wide Healthy Teens for a Better Mississippi Rally at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center- Hall 4. Check-in will begin at 9:00 a.m. and the rally will conclude at 1:00 p.m. The event is in partnership with the Mississippi Department of Human Services and Mississippi Department of Health. Schools can select 35 students from grades 9th -12th to attend. This free event will feature guest speakers Marcus Dupree and Ted DiBiase, Jr., entertainment, lunch, t-shirts, goodie bags, exhibits, and resources. For more information, contact Healthy Teens State Director, Liz Ketchum at (662) 844-0031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cynthia Hines, Regional Coordinator, hosted an Open House of The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) in Greenville, Mississippi, on December 7th. Among the invited guests were all regional leaders and public officials. In addition, attending were several other interested parties and prospective participants.
Located on the third floor of the Regents Bank, the spacious accommodations welcomed all guests with a locally catered lunch of excellent fare and was welcoming with seasonal decorations and trees.
Guests were excited to learn about the NLRO program through which students can earn a high school diploma. Other programs through FRC address family life skills, anger management, bullying issues, financial management and many other classes.
One participant related a story about a friend who had been seeking a GED program to help her improve her life circumstances. The friend, upon hearing about these programs, immediately enrolled in the NLRO program, which can be done at one’s own pace, and began the very next day.
Approximately fifty guests were provided with folders containing information about all the programs and classes to be provided in the new Greenville Center.
Greenville Open House attracts local public leaders and community leaders
Claiming Lamar, MS, as her original roots, Dell Hatch is a spunky, likable mother and grandmother that we are proud to have as the Domestic Violence Coordinator here at the Family Resource Center since 2015. A graduate of Ashland High School, Dell briefly attended Rust College before giving birth to her first child.
She found work in Tupelo and met her husband. With a passion for the Lord, her and her husband attended Bible school at the Rhema Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma to expand their knowledge on Christian faith and teachings. They became foster parents while Dell went back to school, completing her degree in social work from the University of Mississippi.
In pursuit of work, she accepted a full time position at FRC after interning with the Children’s Advocacy Center and seeing the good work being done for the community.
“I believe it was a God thing that I got this job. I, myself, was in a domestic violence situation once in my life and to now be bringing light to this overlooked subject is just life coming back around full circle. I wish I had known there were places like the Family Resource Center that helped people like me then. '
Employee Spotlight: Dell Hatch
Dell Hatch says: “We are not only family centered, but family focused. The actual team is a family and when one bleeds, everyone runs for a bandaid”.
FRC collaborates with MDT in advocacy for victimized children
MDT: Giving back one life at a time
The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) hosted the first MDT Task Force meeting Thursday, December 7th, at the Lee County office of the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services (MDCPS) office on Industrial Road. The session provided improved approaches and training about strategy and approaches as a team, serving as the first of such gatherings to continually improve their collaborative process.
FRC offers many family improvement programs to help families improve their lives, whether the need is for sustenance, education, finance or other needs. Among the programs offered is the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) which works to bring a system of management and healing for children who are victims of abuse: physical, sexual, and emotional.
To further their efforts and as a means of giving a healthy life back to the affected child, the CAC foundation is based on MDT. What is an MDT? A functioning and effective multidisciplinary team of professionals from specific, distinct disciplines that involves collaboration from the law enforcement agencies, the court system, child protection agencies, district attorney, attorney general staff, youth court judges, the medical community, domestic violence social workers from FRC, Life Core therapist and other governmental agencies that work with abused children and help to move toward effective healing for the child and proper prosecution of perpetrators.
Team members from each of these agencies work together to perform a forensic interview with a victimized child so the child is not further traumatized by multi-interviews, and to ensure that all information gathered can be used within the legal system for prosecution when this is deemed necessary.
Also important is the gift of care, personally and professionally, that is provided to each child needing assistance. Referrals and cooperation between the agencies ensures that appropriate and relevant counseling and/or medical treatment are provided to the victimized child and that all avenues of investigation are conducted while preserving/reinforcing the self-worth of the victim.
In addition, the whole family situation is evaluated to determine the circumstances within which the child was subjected to the abuse. Whether workforce training is needed for one parent/guardian to be able to provide a more balanced means support, as well as home interaction, or there are immediate needs for housing or other pressing matters, the CAC works to involve all the appropriate agencies to effect the changes needed.
In addition to the combined forensics, the team also meets on a regular basis to not only share information but to also collaborate on the course of action needed to sustain a healthier and nurturing home atmosphere, in addition to sharing the current status of these cases and needed action. They also interact individually on cases that needs clarification or immediate action. In other words, their professionalism is intertwined with a shared care for the well-being of the child and to giving back a full, healthy positive life to a victimized child.
More information about FRC can be found online at www.frcnms.org. They partner with the Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC) to provide whole family support through Families First for Mississippi (www.familiesfirstforms.org).
Giving with a servant’s heart
“She has a true servant’s heart,” said Camille, the daughter of Patty Tucker, retiring Executive Director of the local Red Cross chapter. “Both of my parents: they don’t just talk it; they walk it.” She went on to say that Tucker does so much for so many that the world never knows about. “I am so proud of her.”
A Bible story tells about a community leader who gave certain assets to some servants. One took the assets and invested wisely so that the return to his master was much more than he was given. He gave back all with which he had been entrusted and much more beyond. This heart of giving back seems to be carried on through 2000 years and was the theme of the day for Patty Tucker at her official retirement ceremony held November 30 in the Tupelo CREATE center. Matthew 25:21. “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Tucker served with the Red Cross for the last fifteen years and worked through many “giving” campaigns during crisis times of hurricanes, tornadoes and other large scale disasters. Her efforts provided shelters for those homeless after these misfortunes and means to begin recovery from these calamities. Giving back was not only her job but a way of life for Tucker, according to those gathered to bid her farewell from the Red Cross.
Comments from legislators, Tupelo mayor, Red Cross leaders and several public officials confirmed what Dr. David Cole of Family Resource Center said, “She is the epitome of class and dignity,” he said, reiterating other general comments such as “There are lots of good people in this world but there are few great people. Patty is one of the greats.”
Tucker may be changing the path of her life to one of retirement but her life will continue as one who has the heart to give back. “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” — Abraham Lincoln
Patty Tucker (right) was honored by several regional dignitaries as they enumerated the various "above and beyond" acts of giving by Patty during her tenure as director of the local Red Cross Chapter.
Picture above are Patty Tucker and (right) with Dr. David Cole of The Family Resource Center.
NEMS Daily Journal publishes story about Family Resource Center food drive
Hannah Maharrey works with families transitioning between homelessness and serves as chairwoman of the city initiative, Homelessness Task Force, but she also works with the Family Resource Center to do one thing: end hunger in Tupelo.
On Wednesday, she and volunteers joined together for a pop-up food drive at the West Main Street Kroger.
The Family Resource Center is a member of CREATE’s new Hunger Coalition, and although the center’s program focuses primarily on education training, it also provides its clients with some food items a few times per year.
“Especially during the holiday season, because a lot of people have to decide whether they’re going to pay rent or pay their electricity or buy Christmas presents or pay for dinner,” Maharrey said.
Maharrey said people transitioning from homelessness also need help with education, healthcare, employment and, of course, food.
“I have a list off the top of my head of over five or six families that I know that food would be an issue,” she said.
Lee County’s population has a food insecurity rate at 19 percent, according to recent data from the Hunger Coalition.
Within an hour of the start of the food drive, Maharrey had already collected five full grocery bags.
Maharrey said that through her experiences tackling homelessness, she has learned that housing usually goes hand in hand with food insecurity, and the food drive is a positive way to help her clients.
She said her goal is to collect enough food to feed 10 families.
The drive continued at the West Main Street Kroger Friday from 1 to 6 p.m., and in addition to accepting food items, it is also accepted money donations.
All food donations were for families helped through the homelessness prevention program.
Shoppers can throw a few dollars in the jar or drop off whatever items they can spare from their own holiday dinners this year on the way out of the store.
Reprinted with permission from NEMS Daily Journal
Brandy Gant with Hannah Maharrey
It wasn’t hard to find the location of the recent kickoff event for Chartre Property Greenhill Apartments in the town of Sardis in Panola County. All area residents had to do was to listen for the clearly audible sounds of the Sardis Fire Department’s shiny yellow truck parked at the gathering.
An excellent turnout of 85 was treated to BBQ nachos and dessert, while youth were given the opportunity to make a reindeer or snowman craft. But many of the kids were as interested in pushing the siren button or blowing the horn on the fire truck as anything. And that’s an important aspect of the kickoff events – that kids and their parents all have an enjoyable experience.
Jan Bryan of Magnolia Health provided handouts and books on topics such as the flu vaccine, teen pregnancy, and healthy recipes. Amy Bratton and Janet Turman of Family Resource Center, along with Wesley Bell and Jeff Roberson of FRC Oxford, made sure people left the event with information and knowledge concerning the services of FRC and Families First for Mississippi.
The Sardis firemen gave away fire safety handouts, and youth were allowed to “tour” the fire truck. And that led to a lot of fun and “noise” for kids and adults alike.
The Chartre Property kickoffs and gatherings continue to be an important part of the services provided by Family Resource Center of North Mississippi.
Sardis is site for Chartre Properties Gathering sponsored by FRC
The Teddy Bear Drive was a huge success for the Children's Advocacy Center, a part of The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi.
Many friends like Senator Chad McMahan, Police Chief J.B. Long, Special Judge Lee County Youth Court Dee Eleopoulus, friends from Kohl's, District Attorney John Weddle, Grace McCalister, and so many more dropped off bears and grabbed a bite to eat! "The children that come to this safe haven absolutely adore the bears. It gives them a sense of comfort while they go through traumatic situations in their life like I did"- said Grace McCalister. "We appreciate everyone's support and will continue to collect bears throughout the new year!"
A Cold Day Well Spent For FRC and The Pantry
I wasn’t sure what to expect. After all, the temperature was in the 30s when we arrived and never got out of the 40s while we were there. And this was our first venture at something like this.
But what we were doing was important to many, so we pressed on. I texted the other FRC staff members before they arrived saying, “It’s not cold.” They didn’t believe me but appreciated my efforts to deflect the conditions.
Our Family Resource Center of Oxford staff greeted locals and accepted their generous gifts of food and money in front of Larson’s Cash Saver grocery store on December 15. We were gathering goods for the local Pantry.
The Family Resource Center of Oxford is not much more than a year old. The Pantry of Oxford, which generously assists those in need in our community and surrounding area, is 35 years old. And we were the perfect partnership.
Their staff had visited our office for coalition meetings and knew about us. Some of our staff had through the years volunteered at their facility. Both organizations have basically the same mission - help others.
Jack Gadd, Blakely Beggs, Wesley Bell, Laura Gillom, Laconda H. Thompson, Ashley Pfahler, Jan Mays, Connie Hunter, and I all were a part of the day, either planning or staffing or both. It was a “collective” effort, pun intended. We saw a lot of familiar faces, made some new friends, told people what we’re all about, and felt the generosity of many, whether by a small monetary gift or an entire flat of canned goods. All were important and appreciated.
As we close another year, our first full year, at FRC Oxford, I doubt The Pantry folks will mind if I borrow the motto that is hanging on a sign from their building for all to see and to understand. And we at FRC agree with it.
“We share because we care.”
Season’s Greetings to all and a blessed 2018 from Family Resource Center of North Mississippi, Oxford Campus.
*** Jeff Roberson
Blakely Beggs, Wesley Bell, Laura Gillom, and Ashley Pfahler of FRC Oxford helped collect goods for The Pantry.
Jan Mays and Laconda H. Thompson talk to an Oxford citizen about Family Resource CenterFamilies First for Mississippi. FRC Oxford staff collected goods for The Pantry on December 15
FRC Oxford set up outside Larson's Cash Saver Grocery on December 15 to collect goods for The Pantry.
As the year winds down, programming and outreach at Families First of Desoto County is as busy as ever.
November was a very busy but exciting month, we acknowledged veterans, military personnel and their families with our annual Veterans Day Tribute. Horn Lake Intermediate School Choir and the Horn Lake USMC junior ROTC and other community service groups partnered with us to make this a memorable program.
We got into the Holiday Spirit by joining the Mayor’s Youth Council for Pictures with Santa. It was a very well attended community event. We also partnered with Grace Acre Baptist Church to organize and box our yearly Family Thanksgiving Dinner Giveaway. This is one of our favorite events. We directly impacted over 25 families in jeopardy. Recognizing the need, we hope to be able to serve more families next year.
November also included a full bilingual Family Literacy Workshop series and a 7-week Spanish Health and Nutrition workshop which was funded through a Community Foundation NW Mississippi grant to help native Spanish speaking families through foods, exercise and medical knowledge as well as literacy.
We thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of judging the Desoto County High School Speech and Debate Tournament. It was wonderful to work with so many talented young people.
Some of our most popular classes include, the Mommy and Me parenting classes, English as Second Language, Computer literacy, Parents as Reading Partners, and Homework Help.
We are well on our way with planning for 2018 projects and programs.
***Marta Smally and Christi McCafferty
DeSoto County busy through the end of 2017
The Media Team was asked to focus on “giving back” this season. The team didn’t have to search for material for this theme because this is what the season is all about. Not only are our associates working hard to give to those who need support but we hear stories every day about other organizations that are working hard to provide for those in their communities. Churches, businesses, clubs, schools are all coming together to share the joy of the season.
Below is an email received December 18th that we want to share with you:
“While attending a parent meeting at the South Calhoun Head Start Center in Calhoun City, MS, I learned that the center was in need of financial assistance in order to purchase gifts for their students. These gifts were needed for Santa to give out to the students at their annual Christmas event to be held on Monday, December 18th. After making a pledge myself, I contacted Ms. Christi Webb, explained their situation, and asked for a donation from FRC. She immediately replied, "YES, we will help!" A check in the amount of $150 was donated to the center and presented to Ms. Annie Brown, Family Community Worker on Thurs. Presents were given away to 56 children on today at the event.”