As this first month in 2018 comes to a close, I continue to be amazed at the growth of the Family Resource Center of North Mississippi through expansion to new locations and through the broadening of the services we are providing.
All of this growth means new opportunities to serve more families in ways that will make a positive difference in their lives. We have new centers opening in Fulton and Pontotoc this month and the staff is excited to begin programming to meet the needs of families in those locations.
We are working closely with several new partners in the area of workforce development and should have exciting news to announce about a few projects in the upcoming months. We remain dedicated to the goal of positively impacting the WHOLE family and helping each one move to stability and self-sufficiency.
Message from Christi Webb, Executive Director of The Family Resource Center
Checking the Boxes of Life Management
“I have two kids, one is 14 and one is 10. I am working on paying for their college right now,” said Phebe Sheffield of BancorpSouth who presented an hour-long session on how to manage a family’s budget. She made the presentation relevant to each of the attendees through personal examples of how to plan and be prepared for all contingencies, including those that are unplanned.
The hour training session on budgeting was a part of the Soft Skills learning module presented through Families First for Mississippi to community members enrolled in the life management courses at the centers across the state
Shelia Davis, M.Ed, Program Director at Families First for Mississippi, addressed the class by establishing a direct link between family budget management and stress control. Obvious benefits in stress management come first with the realization that change is attainable through budgeting, debt can be managed, and a workable plan for future opportunities can be formulated. Stress avoidance reduces overwhelming frustration and even anger that comes from lack of direction or hopelessness. “Be good stewards of what has been given to you,” she said, divulging a litany of potential health effects of successful budgeting—lowered blood pressure, lessened anxiety, and less stress.
Stress has been targeted as contributing to failure to maintain optimum management of skills in parenting, healthy relationships, conflict resolution, and other life situations. Unchecked, problems in any of these areas can quickly escalate to other life-altering issues, among which are health issues, financial catastrophes, legal problems, and divorce.
By examining spending habits, identifying areas that can be managed differently, i.e. resolving debt, planning for the future (college or career training), or retirement, residents of Mississippi can take the first step toward a life trend of change and personal advancement that will not only impact their own future, but that of their children and will serve to illustrate to all with whom they are associated that Mississippians care for each other and are standing together to improve both personal and community worlds.
Sheffield demonstrated simple methods to evaluate spending habits and means to overcome problem areas. One example stands out as a very simple way to strengthen family unity while cutting costs. Instead of dinner out and a movie for a family of four at the theater, with a cost of approximately $20 each ($10 for dinner and $10 for movie) for a minimum of $80, she suggested that the family plan a hotdog and popcorn movie night at home that would cost about $20. The $60 savings can then be reallocated to saving for Christmas presents. ($60 a month for 12 months would pad the holiday budget by $720.)
Initiating financial management begins with a first step. Taking the hand of friendship extended through Families First for Mississippi and enrolling in classes devoted to family unity and development, change can begin and grow. Classes are free to the public. For more detailed information and what Families First classes are available in your area, please check out our website www.FamiliesFirstforMS.org.
Click left to see article published in Mississippi Christian Livng
The New Year brings great plans for continued community services at The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC). As these are made, reflection on the last few weeks of 2017 provides standards to meet and surpass in this new year, which might be a tall order. Read the story below.
The dedicated staff at the Hernando facility ended the year with a service project during which they gathered and donated more than 200 household items to the House of Grace shelter for women and children who have been victims of domestic violence. These items were delivered at Christmas, along a Christmas Tree ornament decoration activity. Clients were invited to share a special word to attach to an ornament so each family member could have one to take home for reflection. Because many of the clients come from broken homes, these words help provide hope and encouragement during difficult and trying times.
FRC staff also consulted with Ms. Lorraine Cady, Executive Director for House of Grace and other members of their staff, to learn the specific ways that FRC could provide help and support for these women before, during and after placement in their center. FRC provided information about educating these women on safety planning, healthy relationships, self-care, financial planning, workforce development and continuing education.
“The best part of the whole project is that the donations were a huge surprise. Throughout the planning and preparation stages, we continuously spoke to Ms. Cady and repeatedly told her that we were merely bringing Christmas ornaments to spread the word about our services and new office in Hernando. It wasn’t until we arrived with an SUV packed full of donations that they were aware that we were doing more than that,” said Abby McDonald, Region Coordinator, Hernando Office.
In the coming year, FRC is working with the House of Grace clients to earn a “buck” each time they come to class. These “bucks” can be redeemed for household items, such as toiletries and hygiene items. The program will not only provide needed items but will reinforce the concept of working for/earning something.
FRC provides services, in cooperation with Mississippi Department of Human Services and other groups, to families and individuals for education advancement through an online high school diploma program, for victims of domestic violence, parenting, anger management and many other areas. FRC has centers in Southaven, Hernando, Grenada, Oxford, Iuka, Houston, Philadelphia, Chickasaw, Clarksdale, Columbus, Greenville, Indianola and Tupelo. More detailed information is available at https://www.frcnms.org.
Hernando Project: House of Grace
The Family Resource Center provides car seats to families in the Tupelo area free of charge.
On January 2, 2018 I began another day following my daily routine. That afternoon I faced what was one of the scariest situations I’ve ever been in. I was nearly hit head on by another vehicle. As anyone would, I did all I could to avoid a head on collision especially with my three children in the car. I managed to get past the other vehicle but lost control trying to get back on the road. My car began to flip; I couldn’t control anything that was happening. As our car came to a stop I began consoling my kids and telling my oldest daughter, who is five, to unbuckle and get out of the car.
I began to climb to the back to unbuckle my other two babies and the car began flipping again. The five-year-old that I instructed to get out had already unbuckled and could not get back in the seat. When we finally came to a stop, I immediately checked on my children and got them out. Several people had stopped including a nurse. By the time the ambulance arrived my daughter’s stomach was swollen. The paramedics put braces on her and checked out my little boys.
We flew through Tupelo with lights and sirens on to the hospital where we were met by doctors and nurses to find out the extent. My kids were split up and my daughter was taken for tests. Her father arrived and went with her and I stayed with the boys. I’ll never forget the doctor came in and said “your car seats did their jobs.” They had no broken bones, bruises, or even scratches! Thank the Lord! There was still no news on my girl so we waited with worry.
Soon enough we were hearing the most amazing news. With all the commotion and trauma, my daughter had just swallowed too much air hyperventilating. She was ok! There were no internal injuries so they took the braces off. She only suffered a contusion but there was no bleeding or swelling on her brain, just a bruise on her head. We rolled several times but thanks to the good Lord and those car seats, I’m blessed with another with my children. I could not ask for anything more.
I never got to catch the nurse or passersby’s names, but I thank you. I thank the first responders, EMTS, nurses and doctors for their constant updates and reassurance. I also want to thank Mrs. Pam at the Family Resource Center for teaching us how to install the car seats and Toyota for buying them and providing our new ones since the accident. Those seats saved my babies! Thank you!
A BIG thanks to Toyota for their continued support of the FRC carseat program!
Pictured from left to right are Jessica Tribble, Lashundra Wooten, Melissa Cooper, Quatravius Bowden (Como), Courtney Hamilton, Melissa Sue Sanford, Quentin Watson, & Lashonda Henderson
The New Learning Resources Online is the distance learning division of New Learning Resources School District, which is recognized for its exemplary accreditation status.
NLRO is a state, regionally, and nationally accredited distance learning program with a straight-forward delivery system that anyone can use.
Pictured left are NLRO graduates from the South Panola and Como community programs taken at the recent commencement ceremonies in Jackson.
Breaking the Cycle in DeSoto County Jail
Chad Wicker, Director of Detention Services for the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department, wants to break the cycle of crime and its relationship to poverty. So he has arranged for a program that will help inmates achieve high school diplomas, and to learn workforce skills so that low income inmates can achieve career pathways and improve their lives and their families’ lives.
The NLRO program is an opportunity offered by Families First for Mississippi and The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) to any Mississippian who has not been able to achieve a high school diploma through the traditional school system. This online course can be done at the student’s own pace.
“As far as I can determine, we are the first in the state to offer this,” Wicker said in reference to the NLRO program that will soon be available in the detention center. “We have tried different methods to combat the crime rate and to rehabilitate people before release. We tried being tough on crime but the statistics show that this just didn’t work. We really want to improve families' lives so that all that are here can be productive citizens.”
The exciting aspect of this program is that student can continue from other locations after release or movement from the detention center, as the average stay in the Hernando site is usually between 2 to 4 weeks. Four study units will initially be installed and Wicker hopes to be able to double this in the near future.
“Statistics show that 60% of those with a high school degree won’t be back,” Wicker said.
Recent years have seen Mississippi sometimes cast as the poorest state in the nation and with these reports comes a high crime rate for a state with less urbanization than many other states. On a scale of 1 (best) to 50 (worst), Mississippi ranks as 45th in the nation for education (30% college educated), 21st for crime and 48th for economy. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/mississippi
“For young people from the most impoverished backgrounds, violence provides a touchstone against which identities are honed. More particularly, violence empowers and is a means of attaining and sustaining status amongst peers. Willingness to use violence, therefore, becomes a resource for the most dispossessed and this becomes a persistent feature throughout the teenage years.” --https://www.criminallawandjustice.co.uk/features/Link-Between-Poverty-and-Crime
Wicker wants to overcome the obstacles that have caused the poverty and crime, build a better place for citizens to live and nurture families that includes a solid foundation of education and career pathway development. “We want to see people do better and we are committed to helping communities improve lives,” Wicker said.
Wicker is supported by Sherriff Bill Rasco who said, “We all make mistakes and we want to provide everything possible to help them to get their lives straight and get jobs.” He indicated that they are also pleased to currently have in place a culinary arts education program where interested inmates can earn ServSafe certification (completed training in food preparation and handling, safety regulations, more) and be taught preparation for large groups. Also, two gardens will be planted and worked by inmates with the produce going to help feed close to 400 residents in the detention center.
The computer purchases for the program is supported in full by commissary sales and “won’t cost taxpayers” anything. He also pointed out that reducing the return rate would also be another cost saving benefit and that the economy would also benefit by the moving workers from low skill to middle skill levels. All around, the whole community could be viewed as benefiting.
Although new in this setting, the NLRO program has been provided by FRC and Families First for Mississippi across the state in their own centers.
Sherriff Bill Rasco with Chad Wicker
Chaplain Curtis Pennington works closely with Chad Wicker at the detention center and facilitates several learning programs through that center. Chaplain xxx expressed delight to bringing new opportunities for life improvement.
Pastor Reed was recognized at the Central MS Pastors Fellowship 2018 Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet
Pastor Johnnie L. Reed was recently recognized at the Central MS Pastors Fellowship 2018 Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet for Innovative & Creative Forms of Ministry in the Body of Christ & in the Community. He is the Senior Pastor of Covenant House Word of Faith Ministries and is one of the Field Educators for Family Resource Center-Grenada Campus. He has been in ministry for 26 years and pastoring for 7 years. He is a member of the University of Mississippi Medical Center's Ministerial/Clergy Alliance. He is the 2013 Mississippi Head Start Association-Billy J. McCain, Sr. Memorial Award recipient for public policy and advocacy. Lastly, for the last 9 years, he has served on the Executive Board of the Institute of Community Service, Inc. (ICS), which is one of the most successful Head Start programs in the State of Mississippi. As community leader, Pastor Reed has been instrumental in the recent "STOP THE VIOLENCE" Movement in Grenada, which addresses the deadly youth violence that has plagued the City of Grenada. He is a loving husband and father of 4 daughters and a grandson. Pastor Reed was asked recently, what is your motivating factor in addressing the needs of our community? He simply stated, "I'd like to think my motivation is simple, I always try to remember when I'm in the community that Jesus never walked above people...He always walked among them."
Citizens of Prentiss County touched by the compassion of Baptist Association volunteers and efforts
At the recent pantry give-away at the Prentiss County Baptist Association, present were Stanley Huddleston, Amy Braxton, and Janet Turman of The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC). During a spiritually uplifting session, Huddleston, the pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Prentiss County, explained the newly formed faith-based initiative of the FRC mission has been expanded from just the food pantry.
“We want to provide more than a hand-out but instead a hands-up.”
FRC is a non-profit organization that offers programs, classes, and opportunities to families in Mississippi who not only need food pantry assistance but help in life skills, workforce education, literacy and high school diploma programs, parenting assistance and much more. Their Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) and domestic abuse programs assist families struggling with abuse issues. In addition, there are various youth/teen programs that address bullying, addiction and other issues.
“We want to help the whole family to be whole,” Huddleston said.
Dr. C.W. Harrison, Director of Missions at the Prentiss County Baptist Association in Booneville, said, “We want to be good stewards of God’s resources,” as he guided visitors through the facilities’ food pantry, clothes closet and meeting rooms. On the second Thursday of each month, the facility provides 100 to 120 clients with monthly food packages.
The center dispenses anywhere from $60,000 to $80,000 annually in food to Prentiss County families who need these provisions. “We want to fill a gap,” he said. “It’s a Jesus thing and strictly through donations; we have no budget for this.” He told about one donation from one man, who chooses to remain anonymous, who gives $15,000 each year. “Churches, individuals, businesses all contribute.” Volunteers work to pack and dispense the food.
The FRC faith-based initiative is an outreach to partner with churches and other faith-based organizations to expand existing services already ongoing in these groups, and to broaden the service area of addressing issues to help improve lives and provide brighter futures.
FRC Oxford hosts Father/Son Night at Ole Miss Basketball
The basketball schedule showed that on December 19, Ole Miss would host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at the Pavilion at Ole Miss. Wesley Bell, field educator at Family Resource Center’s Oxford campus, had an idea.
“We’re always looking to reach more people,” Bell said. “I was trying to come up with ways to expand our Fatherhood and Parenting initiative, and I thought that an opportunity for fathers and sons to spend quality time together at a game would work well.”
That’s exactly what happened. In an exciting environment of a major college athletic event, the Father/Son Night at Ole Miss Basketball sponsored by Families First For Mississippi and the Family Resource Center of North Mississippi turned out to be a success. Everyone involved seemed to have a fun night of bonding and sharing as the holiday season unfolded.
“It doesn’t seem like there are that many father/son events going on, and that was what we found out when we presented this to people and invited them to be a part of it,” Bell said. “That’s what we heard from a lot of them. We knew it was already an exciting time of the year for kids because they were getting out of school, and going to the game with their dads made for a special time for them and also their fathers.”
Because of the partnership already established with Families First For Mississippi and the athletics departments at the universities in the state, Bell and Jeff Roberson, also of the Oxford office, were able to present the idea to Ole Miss Sports Marketing. But time was short since the idea was new.
“We actually only had about three days to get the word out after we presented our idea and got approval,” Bell said. “After that we moved forward. Next year we plan to start several weeks earlier letting people know about it. But for a first time event, it went well.”
FRC Oxford staff members Bell, Roberson, Laconda H. Thompson, and Laura Gillom were at the table set up in the lobby of the Pavilion, which is Ole Miss basketball’s beautiful and spacious new home. Participants signed in and were greeted not only by FRC staff but a representative of Ole Miss marketing, who took fathers and sons to the playing court to be close to the action during pregame warmups. The group then settled in for an evening of fun as they watched the action from their seats near the court.
“Wesley’s idea was a great success, and we want to expand it in the future,” Roberson said. “That’s something we’ll have plenty of time to work toward next fall as basketball season gets closer again in 2018-19. In addition to the fun night for fathers and sons, hundreds of people walked by the table, saw our Families First display, some stopped by to visit, ask questions, and inquire about services provided. It was a huge win-win for everyone.”
Jeremy Burchfield (left) and his sons Graham and Griffin of Oxford with Wesley Bell of FRC Oxford before the basketball game on Father/Son Night.
Laura, Wesley, Jeff, and LaConda of FRC Oxford
Food Pantry at Flat Rock Baptist in Benton County
Talkpoverty.org reported an 18.7% rate of food insecurity in the state. Food insecurity is the catch phrase that means some folks didn’t have enough to eat at some point during the year because of lack of money or resources.
The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi faith-based liason, Stanley Huddleston, is reaching into all North Mississippi counties and establishing relationships with as many groups as possible so that there is food for all within the communities. 2018 may be the year for change!
FRC forms new partnership: Third Chancery District Pro Se Legal Clinics / Pro Bono Initiative
The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) in Southaven is pleased to announce the formation of a new partnership with Chancery Court, the Ole Miss School of Law and local Bar Association.
A county attorney, Cole Massey, reached out to the Southaven group about a month ago about starting a free legal clinic in the Third District which includes Desoto, Tate, Panola, Yalobusha, Grenada and Montgomery Counties. They have done this for several years but always offered it as only a one-day clinic a couple of times a year. The found that this model was ineffective for several reasons. One was the limited time access. Another was that the people were left to file their own paperwork, and even with very detailed written instructions, they often would not follow through and get the paperwork filed.
The new model will involve each of the attorneys representing their local bar association gathering a list of attorneys willing to volunteer for pro bono cases in each county. When a case needs to be assigned, attorneys will be called going down the list until one is identified as willing to take the case. This is also a teaching clinic for the Ole Miss law students who will volunteer for the program and be able to work the case with oversight from the attorney.
A meeting was held last Thursday at the Desoto County Court House and present were Judge Percy Lynchard, Judge Vicky Daniels (two of the three chancery court judges), Dean Debby Bell and Chris Simpson of the Ole Miss School of Law, about eight attorneys from the local bar associations, and Christy McCaffery of FRC.
After screening by FRC for legal needs and for other services offered by FRC, the clients will be connected with an attorney that services the area in which they live. More information will be provided in the near future when all the details of the new partnerships are defined.
FRC Columbus has partnered with Commander Frank Stockett (left), director of the Noxubee County Community Work Center in Macon, MS.
Michael Farrar (right), FRC Fatherhood Educator, will be facilitating weekly classes on site at the facility, with inmates.
Faith-based Initiative—Combatting food insecurities
The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) recently established a new branch of their service organization and that is the Faith-based initiative. This branch, headed by Stanley Huddleston who is pastor of Mt. Olive Baptist Church of Baldwyn, is working to form partnerships and alliances with faith organization that are already working with people with needs or are seeking to form these kinds of programs. One of the top items is to feed the hungry.
January is Poverty Awareness Month. According to the HuffPost, there are 46.7 Americans living in poverty in this country. The reasons for poverty are innumerable: loss of job, loss of spouse, educational limitations, natural disasters causing loss of home, mental disorders for various reasons, addiction issues, runaway teens, illness, physical disabilities and many, many more reasons.
Here in the state of Mississippi, CNN reported September 20, 2012, “Mississippi once again leads the nation in poverty and lags in median household income. According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, Mississippi had a poverty rate of 22.6% in 2011, while its median household income came in at $36,919. Both were roughly the same as the year before. --CNN Money, U.S.
Talkpoverty.org reported an 18.7% rate of food insecurity in the state. Food insecurity is the catch phrase that means some folks didn’t have enough to eat at some point during the year because of lack of money or resources. What? Almost 20% of our people had some point when they went hungry.
A new year has begun and new resolutions, properly approached, can see a whole new era for the state of Mississippi. We can all eat healthier, get more exercise, reduce stress and live more fulfilling lives. And, together we can effectively begin to combat poverty and eliminate “food insecurity” in this beautiful state.
These gift cards were purchased for the Homeless Care Packages by Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Baldwyn, MS.
The Family Resource Center is partnering with MUW to teach family life skills.
The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) recently opened another new center in Clarksdale. FRC is delighted to become an active business partner in the Clarksdale community and was recently featured in the Clarksdale Press Register.
FRC strongly believes that a robust relationship with community/regional news organizations is imperative in informing all families who are in need of the free FRC services in the area. A non-profit organization, FRC knows that the support from these alliances makes the outreach to individuals and families more fruitful.
In Mississippi, food insecurity (hunger) remains serious along with other pressing issues such as education, life skills, job training and many more concerns that are addressed by FRC. These alliances connect with to people who are seeking services such as those offered by FRC.