Family Resource Center Newsletter

Impacting the WHOLE Family

Volume 1712 • Issue 3 • December 2017


Family Resource Center

of North Mississippi Newsletter

Impacting the WHOLE Family

Volume 1802 • Issue 5 • March 2018

Message from Christi Webb, Executive Director of The Family Resource Center

The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi is busy. This past month has been jam packed with classes, events, training sessions, and outreach like none we have seen so far. Our staff is working hard at each of our campuses to provide quality-based services to families in need and we are very aware of how much need is around us. We aren’t tired from all of our efforts; we are energized and more excited than ever before.  Every thing we do is part of our overall vision to help families move toward stability, self-sufficiency, and independence. We know that strong families mean a better Mississippi for all of us.  

-Christi Webb, Executive Director of The Family Resource Center

FRC mourns the loss of model student 

  The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) is mourning the loss of Cecil Holman, a resident of Tupelo. He passed away at the age of 47 and services are planned for Saturday, March 3rd, at Macedonia MB Church in Houston.  Mr. Holman was a resident of Okolona before his move to Tupelo and was known by his ready smile and gentle nature.

   Christi Webb said, “The staff of the Family Resource Center is deeply saddened by the loss off Mr. Cecil. He was a kind man, a model student, and was a genuine inspiration to our staff and the other students. We will miss him and will continue to remember him with such fondness.”

   FRC holds Mr. Holman as an example of their online education program and was following his effort to achieve a high school diploma with pride.  Life circumstances imposed hardships on Mr. Holman and he ultimately had to drop out of high school and then to enter the working world.  But, he always held the ambition to one day to return to his education and earn his high school diploma.

   Debbie Jones, FRC Educator, told about his venture with the education program.  She said he was hesitant at first to pursue the diploma but was encouraged by his sister, Annette Akins.   Jones said that after his first successful completion of the first course, he became very enthusiastic and was at the center every week for his studies.  A quiet man, he quickly became a model student and shared his view on the importance of education, stating that without a degree that there was little to no chance of advancement in a job.  He said he believed the education was very important.

   Through the NLRO program at FRC, he was steadily and successfully working toward that goal.  The program allows online internet study with proctored testing at the FRC center.   During those times at the center, all who worked with him in his studies had one comment in common: “He was a good man, gentle and always sweet.  He tried so hard and everybody really liked him.”

   In honor of his steadfast ambition and progress, FRC has arranged with the state agencies controlling the program for Mr. Holman to be awarded his high school diploma posthumously. 


FRC featured in half-time presentation during Memphis Hustle Men's Basketball  Faith and Family Event 

   The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi would like to thank Belhaven University for bringing our organization to center court on February 9th at the Landers Center at half-time during the Memphis Hustle Men’s Basketball game, along with two other non-profit organizations. We were deeply honored to share this collaboration at the Faith and Family Event, sponsored in part by Belhaven University.  We were privileged to share the following message with north Mississippi about our mission to help improve lives for all Mississippians:

       “The Family Resource Center partners with the Mississippi Department of Human Services as part of its Families First for Mississippi initiative. Through Families First for Mississippi, we work with many other non-profit agencies, private businesses, governmental departments, schools, and churches to help families in Mississippi in areas that are critical to long-term family stability. These areas include parenting and family life skills, positive youth development, job readiness, literacy, and education.  We are here to serve you with offices in Southaven, Hernando and Tunica.” –Christi Webb, Executive Director, The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi

Pictured below are Marcus Richardson, Kathryn Haney, and Abby McDonald.  They brought the Family Resource Center (FRC) mission statement to players and spectators during the Faith and Family Event.   The trio are staff members of the Hernando FRC center.



Staff in various facilities of The Family Resource Center wore red to heighten awareness of the growing number of women affected by heart disease.  Above left:  Staff members of Southaven; Above right:  Staff members of Oxford; Below:   Staff members of Chickasaw

Pictured above, left to right: Wesley Bell, Jeff Roberson, Bremeika Jones, Blakely Beggs, Danielle Snyder, Ben Salvador, Dr. Debra Moore, Jack Gadd, Ashley Pfhaler

Pictured above, left to right: Laura Dunning, Christi McCafferty,  Talona Dean, and Susan Zeringue

Pictured above, left to right, are: Sharon Petty,  xx, Kathy Austin, Anderson McFarland.

   In 2004, the American Heart Association (AHA) faced a challenge. Cardiovascular disease claimed the lives of nearly 500,000 American women each year, yet women were not paying attention. In fact, many even dismissed it as an older man’s disease. To dispel the myths and raise awareness of heart disease & stroke as the number one killer of women, the American Heart Association created Go Red For Women, a passionate, emotional, social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health.

   Because women have been largely ignored as a specific group, their awareness of their risk of this often-preventable disease has suffered. Only 55 percent of women realize heart disease is their No. 1 killer and less than half know what are considered healthy levels for cardiovascular risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol. The Go Red For Women movement works to make sure women know they are at risk so they can take action to protect their health.


Chartre Properties

in Cleveland is site for neighborhood outreach

   Change begins with hope and hope is the fare being served by The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) and Families First for Mississippi (FFM) through their work with Chartre Properties  in various, neighborhoods across North Mississippi.

   Families First for Mississippi (FFM) is offering a guide to navigate through challenges faced by families through sponsoring gatherings in neighborhoods across the region to bring those families within some of the more densely populated communities (apartment communities) together for the purpose of improving quality of family life and for youth development. Parents are introduced to literacy programs, youth development, and family life skills and provided information about future gatherings that can provide hope to overcome challenging circumstances.

   The “whole family” program can provide services for children, adolescents, teens, adults and the elderly. The expanded program will utilize partnerships with state and community agencies to both fill in service gaps and ensure that quality services are not being unnecessarily replicated.  The program seeks to strengthen families of all backgrounds and life circumstances by providing youth development and parent education.

   Three communities in March will be the sites for these gatherings:

Monday, March 12 from 3-4 at Levee Apartments in Friars Point (Coahoma county)

Tuesday, March 20 from 5-6 at Oscar Barlow Estates in Crenshaw (Quitman county)

Wednesday, March 28 from 5-6 at Academy I&II/Plantation Estates in Tunica

In the pictures above, children meet local firefighters and get to learn more about these career paths.   They are also invited to share in various crafts and games during the event.  A box meal is provided to the residents as well.  Information stations and FFM staff are available to provide information about FFM's workforce development branches, about the online diploma program and various classes and support avenues available in a variety of areas.


   The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi, in partnership with Toyota, will provide free car seats to families who need these.  Recipients will be given full instruction for installation, use and care of the seats.

   This program is just one of many offered by the center to help families improve lives and to explore the many services and training offered by the non-profit organization.

    Below is a testimonial provided by a Southaven woman who was able to secure the carseat for her children.


Carseat Program helps familes with young children

"The staff at The Family Resource Center were so nice and helpful.  The staff took their time and walked me step-by-step through the carseat demo.  They were patient and answered any questions that I had.  I am glad that I came and was able to meet such nice and helpful people.

-Chastity Jeffries

Pictured in their new car seats are Ryver and Daniel Engelke.


Break the Silence. Break the Chains.

Seminar held at All Saints Episcopal Church to increase awareness about human trafficking

    A seminar presented by the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security Analysis and Information Center, along with The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) and All Saints Episcopal Church, focused on the growing problem of human trafficking (sex trafficking and labor trafficking).  The event was held at the All Saints Episcopal Church parish hall, presented free and open to the public.

   Approximately 60 people were present at the event organized by Hannah Maharrey of FRC who was quoted in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal as “thrilled with the crowd. We had a good mix of social workers, educators, law enforcement and concerned citizens.”

   The speaker was Ashlee B. Lucas, a criminal intelligence analyst from the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security Analysis and Information Center. She cited several cases that had happened in Mississippi, including incidents of a young woman catching a ride with an older woman and then was sold; another involved a family friend who took two small boys to New Orleans on what was supposed to be a fun trip, but sold the boys to three men for the night.

   While there were many signs suggested, some of the warning signs that someone is a victim include signs of abuse, an older boyfriend or gang involvement, new tattoos, unexplained absences or new suggestive clothing.

   The National Human Trafficking Hotline can be reached by calling 1-888-373-7888. The line is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tips can also be texted to BE FREE (233733).

Ashlee B. Lucas, a criminal intelligence analyst from the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security Analysis and Information Center, spoke at All Saints to a group of 60.


Speed Dating Event held at Fairpark Grill to increase awareness of Teen Dating Violence

   There are millions of people on the internet looking to hook up with someone to date, go out with, or whatever the current phrase might be for the connection.   Because technology and the internet can provide a stage for identity cloaking and provide a platform for predators to tap into this world, meeting face-to-face and learning something about the values the prospective date might hold may have spawned the concept of SPEED DATING when this matchmaking process began in Los Angeles in the late 90’s.       

   February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and to promote awareness, an afternoon of Speed Dating was held at the Fair Park Grill in Tupelo on February 24th.  Eddie Begonia and Deirdre Berry, Positive Youth Development Coordinators for The Family Resource Center, spoke about healthy relationships and sponsored age-appropriate speed dating events and raffled door prizes from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.  The event was open to participants aged 14-17.

     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 amongst teens, which impacts many of the leading challenges within the state of Mississippi. 

     In-school class presentations on abstinence, bullying, internet safety, and conflict resolution are also being conducted at various schools in the North Mississippi region by FRC professionals, along with other classes provided by request from the school officials.

   "It's that social interaction," Positive Youth Development Coordinator Edward Begonia said.  "People are behind their screens so they don't know how to communicate so that's the reason why we're here: to learn how to communicate with another person in a healthy way."  Also discussed were teen dating dangers and how to recognize these.


FRC hosts Center Grand Opening in Philadelphia 

   Families First for Mississippi (FFM) and the Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) are proud to announce the grand opening of the Families First Resource Center-Philadelphia held February 22, 2018.  The programs offered by the center are designed to stimulate employment through job readiness, support family financial stability, promote literacy, and increase graduation rates while continuing to support positive youth development, decreasing teen pregnancy rates, promoting positive father involvement, parenting education and parenting skills development.         

     Components of the new center include an education and literacy computer lab, career development computer lab, hands-on skill development, parenting and fatherhood training programs, etc.

            The Community Development Partnership presented the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with multiple guest speakers at the event including, Marcus Dupree, Mayor James Young, and opening remarks by Regional Coordinator, Tracy Tinsley.

Mayor James Joung was very excited about the opening saying, “we need this in our community and with local support I know this will be a great and  successful organization for Philadelphia and the state of MS”. 

Pictured, left to right, are Mayor James Young and FRC associates:   Cassie Henson, Tracy Tinsley and Marcus DuPree.


Givens receives diploma through NLRO at FRC Southhaven

Tierney Givens, Southaven, has received her high school diploma through the New Learning Resources Online (NLRO)  program .   Families First for Mississippi and New Learning Resources School District  provides the opportunity to earn a diploma that is state and regionally accredited which helps prepare students for post-secondary institutions, military, and employment.


Bigger Than Ball donates $500 to local athlete

   Johndrix Robinson was the top running back for Baldwyn High School. His highlights were on the local television lineup almost every week for impressive plays, until October 2017 when a motorcycle accident cost him his leg. His team, coaches and community surrounded him with love and support, and that same care continues.   He was presented with a check on Saturday, February 17 from the BIGGER THAN BALL FOUNDATION, a nonprofit organization that focuses on coaches and preparing young people not only to be good athletes but good adults.

     “It’s a gift to let him know we care, presented in hope, to encourage him,” said Will Lowery, the Mississippi Director for the Bigger Than Ball Foundation.  The foundation was founded to provide a platform and approach that will take coaches and athletes to a deeper exploration of the team/game.  They carry the message that a balance of physical, emotional and spiritual will prepare each player not only for the game but for the game of life, especially the importance of the role of fatherhood.

    “We exist to encourage and equip coaches to step back from their rigorous schedule to re-energize ad reflect.  We desire to influence the coaching industry one heart at time” is their mission statement.  Coaches have tremendous impact on their athletes so the primary goal is to have this impact provide a structure of three pillars that will improve the lives of our youth, today and in their future.

1.    Family structure with a positive fatherhood experience

2.    Giving back to the community through donations of sporting goods or toys to children in need

3.    Team building that integrates coaches, dads and athletes through outdoor experiences such as hunting, coaching, camping, fishing, etc.

Johndrix Robinson receives donation

from Bigger Than Ball organization founder, Will Lowrey.

    The event was sponsored in part through a partnership between the Bigger than Ball Foundation and the Family Resource Center of North Mississippi through the Families First for Mississippi initiative. 

The all-day event at The Orchard featured four speakers:

Coach Kurt Hines, Coronado High School Football, California

Wes Simmons, 3 Dimensional Coaching

Coach Derek Jones, Duke Football Assistant and Author of Always Play to Win

John Finch, Author of Father Effect

    More about the program is available on their website:

   The organization is funded in part by Families First for Mississippi, a program of The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi,


Healthy Dating Relationships was discussed with Columbus teenagers

To promote healthy relationships in teen dating, The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi in Columbus held a special event to discuss what constitutes a healthy or unhealthy relationship.   During the event, games were played and refreshments served.  The guests were individuals from the local area.

   Teen Dating Violence Prevention month  was observed in several events at FRC-COLUMBUS. 

FRC partnered with the Mississippi School for Math and Science on the Mississippi University For Women campus twice this month. The first Tuesday, Feb 6, 2008, there were 19 participants, who are 11th and 12 graders,attending class. On the second Tuesday, Feb 13, 2018, there were 16 participants (11th and 12th graders) attending class. 

      Gabrielle Smith, the Columbus Youth Development Educator was the facilitator, both nights. 

"Go Orange" Campaign for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month observed in Grenada

Grenada High School youth, pictured below, wore orange to heighten awareness about teen dating violence.. The Family Resource Center classes held at the school were presented to the girls by Tifany Reed, Youth Development Educator, and to the boys by Johnnie Reed, Field Educator.  Addressed during these sessions was Positive Youth Development, Abstinence and Character Education.  Pictured below are participants in the Youth Relationship Violence sessions

RESPECT WEEK is a week-long celebration designed to heighten awareness about teen dating healthy relationships.  To combat dating violence and abuse, the month of February has been set aside to help teens make informed choices, understand what constitutes abuse and to provide sources for positive change in young people.  Spreading the word that exercising power and control over another person is never okay is the aim of the month of awareness.

Oxford FRC staff observes "Orange" day to increase awareness about healthy dating relationships

Pictured, left to right: LaConda H. Thompson, Jack Gadd, Bishop Davis, Wesley Bell, Blakely Beggs, Jeff Roberson, Dr. Debra Moore

   “Love is respect” and typically our culture views abuse as coming from a male and directed toward a female.   That happens but the aggressor is not always a male.  Females can be abusive in relationships as well.  Guys are often taught to “man up” or just take it when aggression comes at them from a female because they are viewed most often as being stronger physically. The Department of Justice, according to, reports a male is the victim of physical abuse by a female every 37 seconds. Because many are embarrassed about abuse and have been taught that men should always be strong, having an accurate picture of male abuse instances might not be easily obtained.

   When dating escalates to abuse, teens need to have someplace to turn to talk about stalking, about date rape, about physical and verbal abuse.  They need trained professionals with whom they can talk and learn how to deal with difficulties and issues that arise during this step to adulthood.  This is where organizations like The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi's Tupelo Campus and Families First for Mississippi can help.

   Awareness of what abuse is and what it looks like comes first and The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi's Tupelo Campus and Families First for Mississippi has sponsored and held all kinds of events that will be fun for teenagers while being informative about some very serious subjects.


Partnership established between Columbus Law Enforcement and The Family Resource Center

Pictured above, left to right, are Officer James Powell; Diane Sherrod, Regional Coordinator – FRC Columbus; Office Alvin Ellis; Office Eugene Betts; CPL Amanda Burrell; Officer Glenn Jenkins; CPL Josh Vandiver; Officer Jonathan Vergne; Officer Jamarco Harris; SGT John Bishop; Officer Kelvin Burdine; and Officer Kenneth Davis.

Families First for Mississippi and Family Resource Center of North Mississippi is now partnering with Columbus Police Department. These organizations are now a part of their Resource Directory given to each Police Officer. Each police person has access to the directory while they are out taking calls in Lowndes County.

Pictured above, let to right, are Investigator Tommy Watkins and Diane Sherrod, Regional Coordinators - FRC Columbus.

Pictured above, let to right, are Diane Sherrod, Regional Coordinators - FRC Columbus.and Chief of Police Fred Shelton

Coahoma County FRC honors Law Enforcement Appreciation Day with Open House

Left to right" Captain Mark Hayes; Lt. Ronnie Jefferson; Angela Williams, FRC - Field Educator; Deputy Tiffany Liddell; Chief Sandra Williams; Carolyn D. Quin, Regional Coordinator; Investigator Shereka Griffin,;Sargent Will Rooker   


RISE will mentor youth in MS Delta

   In three counties in the Mississippi Delta, a pilot program, Raising Inspirational Sons of Excellence (RISE) has been implemented through a collaboration of the Mississippi Valley State men’s basketball team and the University of Southern Mississippi.  The project also includes participation from Men in Black and Blue Community Health Advisors (CHAs) which is a group of volunteers. The project, with oversight by MSU faculty, is funded by a $231,985 grant from Families First of Mississippi.

   Each of the basketball players will be assigned to one of the three counties and will not only hold the responsibility of delivering the educational program but will also serve as mentors to the participants.  The goal is for the players to exemplify healthy nutrition choices and social behavior practices. The basketball player/mentor is also challenged to motivate and encourage the participants and also to model appropriate behavior.

    Sixteen sessions per county will be delivered through the program. MVSU will meet monthly with a CHA group to discuss these education sessions as well as other concerns for the participants and for goal achievement.  




Life Skills

Healthy Teens

Columbus, Curtis Svell

    The [Fatherhood] courses and material covered is very helpful.   The instructor presented the information in a great manner.   Fatherhood is important and this should matter to fathers; we fail short of understanding the needs of others due to the fact that we are the breadwinners….This course helps the focus of shared understanding of all parties.

Columbus, Lakesia Conner

   I’m proud that I enrolled in this program.  It has been very helpful to me and I will highly recommend others to enroll.

Columbus, Micaela Sherrod

   When I first started this [NLRO] class, I knew it was special because every school or class I attended, I always would give up but Mr. Terry and Ms. Amber made me feel like I didn’t have to give up.  [They provided] so much motivation as soon as you come in.

    I am a single mom and it is hard sometimes and I am grateful to receive a jacket for my son.  Trying to get yourself together and making sure the kids have the things they need is tough! I’m thankful I found this program.  You all have helped me a lot.

   Thank you so much!

Columbus, Felicia Spraggins

    I started this [NLRO] program, I needed fifteen classes.  As of today, I have completed eleven of the fifteen.  This program will allow me to improve my education and have a better life.  I recommend anyone who needs [to get a diploma] enroll at Families First.  I am very excited and hope to finish by May!

Columbus, Tabitha Rozell

   I attended the Life Skills/Parenting class at the Resource Center.  The Center helped me to value life more and to understand that there is not a perfect parent; there is always room for improvement; and to know that my past does not control my future.  We all have to keep pushing and moving forward through life’s [challenges].

Tupelo, Michael Lesley

   Michael Lesley and his family woke up to smoke and chaos Thursday night.  Michael, his wife, and four children ages 1 ½ to 20 years old made it out but nothing else. Figuring out the next step, long-time friend, Senator Chad McMahan, made a phone call to Ann Hoover Hopkins at the Family Resource Center North Mississippi to help them out. By noon, the Lesley’s were in Tupelo picking out clothes from the center’s clothes closest, receiving funds to last them through the weekend and putting Mr. Lesley to work while they look for an apartment where FRC is covering the first three months’ rent. The family was also given a car seat through the FRC partnership with Toyota. “We want to thank the Family Resource Center for everything. We didn’t know what was going to happen after losing everything. We’re so appreciative.”-

Tupelo, Tonya Young, Lewisburg Middle School Counselor

   Ya’ll did an awesome job   We appreciate your taking time to help our students    They really enjoyed your sessions and learned a lot

   Our community’s most valuable resource in educational excellence is our local people working together to make a difference      Thanks again.

Oxford, Vonda Agulanna

    The staff was very low key, down to earth.  They treat you like a person, not a client.  Dealing with Laura Gillom and Blakely Beggs, I could really say what was on my heart.  They understand how to apply the skills to [their class].  In the social arena, it really helped me to learn to approach another person to not let things go “downhill” in the communication realm. They stressed the importance of taking care of yourself.  They always ask “what have you done for yourself?”  They gave me a “reboot” on my dreams.

Hernando, Ada Claudio

    My name is Ada Claudio.  I came to The Family Resource Center in 2107 to learn how to use proper English since my primary language is Spanish.  I began using the ESL reading smart program on the computer and taking lessons.  I feel like I can speak more fluently and write in English better since coming to the center in Hernando.  The ladies are helpful and professional with any questions I have.  It’s a nice, quiet place to learn.  I would suggest this place to anyone.

Oxford, Name Withheld   

    Several months ago, I was asked to attend a class offered through First Family. With that request, I soon learned I had to take an additional class in order to be a part of the initial class. I was placed in “Conflict Resolution.” My first experience, I was introduced into Anger Management. I honestly believed I was in the wrong class, and even asked what class I was attending. By the end of the first class, I realized one person’s anger or conflict may be perceived one way, while mine was totally different, yet both very relatable. Each week, I found myself looking forward to the next and the next angle to address. Every week, I left feeling more in control. I quickly began to anticipate the next week. The classes I attended honestly left me searching my soul, my thoughts, my attitude, & even my perspective daily.
    I’ve shared information I took away each week with family & friends, & have been told they see a difference in how I approach different situations now.
    I was truly blessed to be placed with these awesome people. No matter your age, you ALWAYS can evolve into a better you! I feel as though there should be no end to this journey. I left eager to learn more-to find peace daily & be satisfied with myself & decisions. Always remind yourself, there is room to grow mentally & emotionally!     Thanks to First Family for reminding me and being a wonderful experience!

Olive Branch, David Chambers

     Faith, Madison, Christy and Toldnada were very nice and helpful.  [They were] polite and made everything understandable.   They did a great job providing information and resources. (The above comments were made in reference to the workforce program.)

Columbus, Shantik Scott

    I have enjoyed the NLRO program.  I have learned a few things; some I already knew about.  The program will help me because I want to go to school and finally go after my other dreams. Having a diploma is much more important than anything.  The program is a wonderful way [to achieve this] if you put your mind to it.

On Friday February 16th from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Wednesday February 21st from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m, the Family Resource Center in Southaven set up booths at Northwest Mississippi Community College locations in both Tate and Desoto Counties to bring awareness to teen dating violence.

The month of February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and in honor of this, The Family Resource Center has been wearing orange, the awareness color, and teaching classes in schools to help teens identify both healthy and unhealthy relationships.  

“Teen dating violence happens more that you think it does. You don’t want to think that your friends could be in trouble, but they very easily could be.  Now I know what signs to look for to help them if they are in danger,” said Donny Fletcher, a student at NWCC.

According to, around 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience some type of abuse in a dating relationship and many adults are surprised by this number.

Christi McCafferty, the Regional Coordinator for the Family Resource Center in Southaven, said that bringing awareness to teen dating violence needs to happen for the community to grow.

“Helping these kids understand the dangers of having an abusive relationship while they are still young will help them make good choices as adults,” said McCafferty. “Having events like this and talking to the youth will help people know how big of a problem this is in their community.”

-Olivia Zeringue

Teen Dating Violence Awareness emphasized at NWCC by FRC