Volume 1804• Issue 7 • April 2018

Family Resource Center

of North Mississippi Newsletter

Impacting the WHOLE Family

Families First for Mississippi


Message from Christi Webb, Executive Director of The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi and Co-Director of Families First for Mississippi

   Folks, we are on the path to winning this one in the state of Mississippi!

   At The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC), partnering with Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC) to implement Families First for Mississippi (FFFM), our emphasis is on strengthening families by providing youth development and parenting education, along with education and literacy improvement across the state.

    In this country, we are chock full of issues to overcome and the issues are interrelated with one impacting the outcome of the other. 

     That is why FRC and MCEC are taking Families First for Mississippi to the whole state, working to help families solve all these separate issues through whole family involvement in education about each of the issues and helping to find resources to win the game.  The great news is that the impact of this collaboration and the efforts of countless other state and non-profit organizations is breaking records that Mississippi has struggled to change for years.

   This is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month in the state of Mississippi. Factors that affect the teen pregnancy rates include low education and low income levels.  Improving these statistics (and lives) are among the priorities of FFFM.

    Let’s look at some good news in Mississippi by reviewing some stats from CDC (Center for Disease Control) (

     In 2005, Mississippi teens were having babies more than any other state in the country:  60% of the births in the state were by teenaged mothers; this dropped to 32.6% in 2016.  That’s not a reduction by half but its close!  According to, teens had fewer babies in 2010 than in any year since the mid-1940s across the nation.

    Some more good news from the Mississippi Department of Education:  The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) released the high school graduation rates for the 2016-17 school year, which show that the state’s graduation rate has reached an all-time high of 83 percent. Mississippi’s rate is just a single point shy of the national graduation average of 84 percent.  This is up from 75.4% in 2014 in four years.  Almost a ten-point gain is awesome!  Our kids are coming through and understand that goals can be reached and lives can be improved.

   Ponder this:  with organizations like FFFM embracing the Gen+ approach (to build a better Mississippi through a multi-generational, collaborative approach) to let our fellow residents know they can (and how to go about it) change their life circumstances by making healthier choices from birth to death and these can impact the quality of life every day of that life. 

   When the word gets out that we Mississippians are winning and we can win bigger, folks could start standing in line to support the prevention of teen pregnancy so that they can ensure our kids have better education opportunities. This will provide mid-level or better job skills that will result in higher wages, thus providing improved lives all around. We are going to be dancing in the streets all along the way!

    We can win this one!  Our kids are smart and they will get the big picture when they understand life will be better with smarter choices.

    For more information about individual issues, contact Families First for Mississippi to enroll in youth development programs, parenting classes, life skill classes, learn more about the workforce programs and how to find resources for whatever problem may be impeding your street dance. and has the information needed for change.

    Families First for Mississippi is serious about providing teens with information for making healthy choices for their lives. To make sure that this information is available to all teens, a new app is available for mobile download:   healthy-teens-mississippi is all that is needed to locate this on iTunes or  In addition to information about many teen concerns, there are resource hotline numbers that will connect a teen to a professional whenever life gets out of control.

Winning this one—Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month  Check out these record breakers


When I step back and consider the amazing growth and expansion of the Family Resource Center and its family of employees spread all over north Mississippi, I sometimes find it hard to recognize it as the same agency that began in a single building in Tupelo employing a staff that could all fit in our kitchen break room and share a meal together. As we have grown, our circle of influence has grown to effect positive change in the lives of more families in more ways and we do not take this responsibility lightly. I believe that the heart of the Family Resource Center remains focused on lifting up families that need just a little extra guidance, support, and encouragement as they move toward more stable and self-sustaining homes. This month's newsletter highlights just a few of the opportunities we have had to do just that. 


   The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi joined with the New Albany Boys' and Girls' Club on April 20th to help control unplanned pregnancies in teenagers.       Door prizes and snack were provided and performances were by local sororities and fraternities.  The event hosts were Dierdre Berry and Marquel Conner.

The kids went to different stations and played games that gave analogies about what it’s like being sexually active before marriage or what STDs could be transferred when you take a chance on “getting lucky."  Some kids won the prize of teen parent at one station and when the baby doll started crying they had to take it out and miss what was going on. A very realistic example of what it’s like to have a baby. 

Barbara Howard Washington- Parent Club President (in black scrubs) and Marquel Conner, Unit director,  are with several FRC associates on hand to support the event at the Boys and Girls Club in New Albany.  FRC partnered with the club to present games, activities and other events to increase awareness about teen pregnancy. 



Celebrated the Grand Opening of a new full service facility in Fulton

Christi Webb Executive Director of FRC (center) addresses the goup.

Buddy Collins directs new center and leads grand opening.

FRC Buddy Collins expresses gratitude for the support of Fulton Mayor Barry Childers.

Tremont Mayor Robert Whitehead with Senator J. P. Wilemon

Helen Boerner, Alderwoman Liz Beasley ad FRC Exec. Dir. Christi Webb together at the ground breaking

Schools are built with one very important function: to educate the residents of that area.  The old Fulton Grammar School, now a historical landmark, may no longer see hundreds of elementary children flooding the halls and rooms every day but education will now continue in this beautiful old facility which was renovated about ten years ago.


The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) is a non-profit organization that provides education, all kinds of education, and will now continue that tradition of education in this grand old grammar school through a lease agreement with the city of Fulton for space in this historical building.  

FRC celebrated their grand opening April 18, 2018, to officially open the old school’s doors to promote literacy, increase graduation rates, through youth development, whole family education in parenting, finance and personal development.


FRC is a partner with Families First for Mississippi (FFFM). The FFFM program was designed to stimulate employment, support family financial stability, promote literacy, and increase graduation rates while continuing to support positive youth development, promoting positive father involvement as well as supporting Department of Human Services County Offices through parenting education and parenting skills development.


In an effort to provide students who are at risk of dropping out or failing to graduate a second chance, Families First for Mississippi offers students an option to earn a high school diploma in a flexible and hassle-free environment.  Whether students want to take a course in a private home, computer lab, or classroom setting, FFFM through FRC is offering NLRO (New Learning Resources Online) both at the center and in the Itawamba County school system. 


Life skills in parenting, workplace essentials (job readiness) and multiple family courses will also be available. In addition, youth development and healthy choices for teens are among the programs and objectives of FRC, as are initiatives for the aging and elderly.  The “whole family” focus will provide services for children, adolescents, teens, adults and the elderly.


The organization utilizes partnerships with state and community agencies to both fill in service gaps and ensure that quality services are not being unnecessarily replicated.

Retired Itawamba Community College vice president Buddy Collins is leading the Itawamba County programs for FRC and FFFM.  Opening the ribbon cutting ceremony, he was followed by Christi, Webb, Executive Director of FRC, Senator Chad McMahan, Senator J. P. Wilemon, Jr. and Representative Shane Aguirre.


Among the guests were Fulton Mayor Barry Childers, Tremont Mayor Robert Whitehead, Fulton Alderman Hayward Wilson, Tony Green of BancorpSouth, Fulton Chamber Representatives Mary Sue Boggs and Danny Gaither, Jeff Holt of the Tishomingo Board of Supervisors, Fulton Alderwoman Liz Beazley, Executive Director of Itawamba County Development Vanita Martin, as well as several members of the Mississippi State Extension Services and many other community leaders and citizens.

Group includes Senators, Representatives, Mayors and

community leaders

Senator Chad McMahan (center) addresses group during ground

breaking ceremony.

Danny Gaither of the Chamber Board greets Tremont Mayor Robert Whitehead. Stanley Huddleston of FRC looks on.

Ann Izard ICDC, Santana Hollard of LIFT, and Ramona Edge of MS Ext Service are present during ceremony.

FRC Financial Dir. Debbie Underwood, Representative Shane Auirre, and FRC HR Coordinator Dede Frranks


Open House held in Saltillo to increase awareness of FREE tutoring 

   In the community of Saltillo, Mississippi, with a population of around 5,000, some members of the community are dedicated to improving literacy.   The First Baptist Church of Saltillo (FBCS) has provided a building within which local volunteers from several walks of life can provide ongoing services to the children in the area to improve reading skills and literacy in general.

    Dr. R. B. “Rud” Robison started the Robison Resource Center in downtown Saltillo and eventually the outreach was moved to the Freedom Community building which was purchased by FBCS.  The building is provided at no charge to the center as one of the churches ministries.   Before his death in 2017, Dr. Robison served as a medical doctor in the area for 53 years until his retirement.

   The mission of the Robison Resource Center is “to enrich the lives of our community by providing services and programs that encourage and enhance those touched by the works done here.”   This mission statement was proudly displayed during an open house held Friday, April 13th, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. to promote awareness within the community about the services offered for free to the community.

   The project is funded in part by Families First for Mississippi (FFFM) which helps to provide community centers to help promote early childhood learners and youth literacy.  In addition to literacy services at the center, FFFM helps to provide tools for parents for reading and literacy within the homes.

FFFM is a program sponsored state-wide by The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi and by Mississippi Community Education Center, serving South Mississippi.

Among the notables present were W.K. Webb, former Mayor of Saltillo, Jewell Webb, Alderwoman, and Rud B. Robison, AIA, son of late Dr. Robison.   They are standing (left to right) next to a display honoring the founder of the organization, Dr. Robison.





Safety Day in Fulton with 280 children

   The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) partnered with the Mississippi State University Extension Service on Friday, April 6th, for “Safety Day.”  They instructed 280 second graders about issues such as bullying, child abuse awareness and tobacco dangers.

   The Mississippi State University Extension Service provides research-based information, educational programs, and technology transfer focused on issues and needs of the people of Mississippi, enabling them to make informed decisions about their economic, social, and cultural well-being.  The extension’s overall purpose is education that will empower people to make intelligent decisions relating to their vocations, their families, and their environment.  []

   Paralleling similar goals, FRC’s mission is to provide quality educational support services in a family based and child-friendly environment to promote healthy families and communities. Education is extended from an online high school diploma to classes in youth development, parenting, and workforce/job readiness.

   The event was held in the old Fulton Grammar School, now occupied by The Family Resource Center in Fulton, MS.   Schools in attendance were Itawamba, Fairview, Dorsey, Mantachie and Tremont.

1. Eddie Begonia of Tupelo FRC educates students on the dangers of tobacco use.

2. Michael Farrar, Jennie Cates, and Katlyn Chism of the Fulton FRC stopping for a photo in front of the auditorium where Safety Day welcome greeting was going on.


3. Buddy Collins, Regional Coordinator at Fulton FRC extends a welcome to all students. 

4. Will Rowan of Tupelo FRC speaks with students about anti-bullying.


5. Penny Parmer (MSU Extension Service), Jennie Cates (FRC Fulton), Michael Farrar (FRC Fulton), Romona Edge (MSU Extension Service), Katlyn Chism (FRC Fulton), and Marie Rogers (MSU Extension Service).


6. Eddie Begonia, Will Rowan, and Jennie Cates taking a break.






Stop the Hurt - Child Abuse Awareness Kick off Event at FairPark  on April 11

  Pictured are Toyota Family Learning Families from several Lee County sites. FRC was present also to provide information about programs and classes for overcoming the issues.


Tupelo Fire Station #1 was onsite to support the crusade. 

Mayor Jason Shelton read the city proclamation for awareness and prevention.

Balloons were released to commemorate the campaign.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

   The world out there can be scary, especially if you are a young child. Paralleling this is knowing who to trust can be very hard at any age. There are, however, some basic facts that every child and every adult need to know:  in this country, maltreatment of children is against the law. 

     There are two kinds of maltreatment: abuse and neglect.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta weighs in with definitions that make clear what they consider either an act of commission (abuse) or an act of omission (neglect).         Their website is a good place to begin to understand when lines are crossed by abusing adults even through commonly accepted definitions are continually under study and definitions across the United States vary by state. --

     This article above is interesting reading about what constitutes physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, medical/dental neglect, educational neglect, inadequate supervision, and exposure to violent environments.    

   April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. This national observance is to remind parents and caregivers of children to talk their children and let them know adults are not allowed to hurt them. 

   This is also a time to help children understand the difference between abuse and discipline: what’s okay and what is going too far.  Because this is such a difficult area and views are so widely spread, adults need to be honest and well-informed, prepared for questions that may arise.

   “I don’t know” is something that even a child understands.  “We can work on finding the answer to that” also works when the adult is in a school or not the parent/guardian.

   The most important messages from Child Abuse Prevention Month is 1) to teach the children to take the issue to a trustworthy adult and even to more than one adult and 2) adults need to be able to recognize possible signs.

    Parenting classes are available at Families First for Mississippi and The Family Resource Center (FRC) in your area. 

   If abuse is suspected, this should be reported immediately to the authorities. Also, the Children’s Advocacy Center of FRC is available to provide forensic interviews, referrals for specialized medical exams, counseling and therapy services for child victims, along with court preparation when needed.

Grenada Fatherhood Brunch

FRC Tiffany Reed speaks at a Fatherhood Brunch at the Grenada Headstart on April 19 to heighten awareness about child abuse and prevention.  She shared the speakers platform with Johnny Reed, Executive Board Member.


    On April 4, 2018, FRC/FFMS NLRO Education Coordinator Taylor Pierce joined representatives of Coahoma, East MS, Itawamba, Northeast and Northwest Community Colleges for a specialized training with a new partner, Get2College. Those attending were treated to information that will help guide learners into a college pathway. The information will help FFMS provide help to traditional high-school age and non-traditional students, first-time college applicants, and students who may be returning to college.  

   During the event, attendees learned several ways to help students fund college, how to assist students apply to college, and tips on what to expect from the college experience that students need to know.  FFMS and the community colleges are excited about the new partnership with Get2College.

Pictured: (L to R seated) Stacey Loden, Bethany Loden, Taylor Pierce, Jalisa Brunt; (L to R Standing) Josh Gammill, Amanda Janes, Brittani Aiken, Paul Bolton, Charlie Smart

In this GET2COLLEGE activity, Charlie, Bethany, Paul, Brittani and Josh learn the effect student activities have on grade point averages.  This fun activity helped drive home the lesson that good grades help, but they are not the only factor in college admissions.


   The Mississippi State Department of Health works to address the impact of tobacco use through the Office of Tobacco Control (OTC). As established by Section 41-113-3 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, OTC is charged with developing and implementing a comprehensive statewide strategy that includes tobacco education, prevention, and cessation programs.

   The mission of the Office of Tobacco Control is to promote and protect the health of all Mississippians by reducing tobacco-related disease and death.

   The MSDH School Health Program works to make all Mississippi children healthy, ready to learn, and prepared to make lifelong healthy choices through the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child approach.

Healthy Teens Council member, Amy Parker, of Saltillo High School shares information with peers at her school on the dangers of tobacco usage for National Kick Butts day.  This is in collaboration with the MS Tobacco Free Coalition.


   Mississippi Emergency Management Agency's (MEMA)statewide campaign, developed to introduce children to disaster preparedness is bringing a system of preparedness to schools across the state.

     MEMA will go to schools, communities, cities, and organizations to combat illiteracy while teaching children about disaster preparedness.  MEMA will provide educational books, a narrator to present the information to the audience, and characters to interact with the audience in a fun-filled atmosphere. 

    The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi/MCEC/Families First for Mississippi has partnered with MEMA through staff participation in the MEMA DISASTER RESERVIST program. 

FRC partnered at Career Expo in Clarksdale at Coahoma Community College

    The Family Resource Center located in Clarksdale partnered with the Career Technical Center at Coahoma Community College a Career Expo on March 27th. 

   The expo provided local high school students an opportunity to explore different careers and the skills needed for those occupations.

    The Expo presented a variety of educational opportunities, including healthcare data, CDL truck driving, culinary arts, business administration, barber/stylist, welding, bricklaying/carpentry, auto mechanic, and more.

Left to right are Carolyn D. Quin, Regional Coordinator and Tolernisa Butler.


Tabara Drame, Tunica Family Resource Center’s first graduate, will complete the Health Care Assistant program at Northwest Community College in May 2018. 


Tabara enrolled at Northwest Community College in the fall of 2017 after successfully completing the NLRO program in July  2017.  Since enrolled, Tabara has maintained a good standing status academically and also received her license in CPR. 


After graduation, Ms. Drame has secured employment at Lebonheur Hospital as a Medical Assistant and plans to continue her education as a Registered Nurse.

Pictured above are William Walton and Tabara Drame,recent CPR graduate.

NLRO Graduates goes on to receive CPR licensing


Clarksdale hosts

 "Meet & Greet"

   The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) continues to spread their wings across North Mississippi. This spread is an outreach to make services conveniently available to all areas so that families in all areas can have available the educational tools for healthy families and family relationships. 

      FRC partners with Mississippi Community Education Center(MCEC) to administer the Families First for Mississippi across the entire state

   Among the recent regional openings of FRC facilities is the one in Clarksdale.  Located in the MDHS building, the facility has already garnered the support and partnership of many of the local agencies. 

   FRC partners with many other agencies in the state to supplement, boost and expand services for youth development, parenting, workforce and job readiness, and for making online high school education to students at risk of dropping out or who need a means to earn a high school diploma other than through the traditional school system.

   On April 20th, FRC hosted a “Meet and Greet” event to bring the partners together to share objectives, plan for future program sharing and to coalesce the various groups.  This event brought together legislators, governmental agencies, faith-based groups and non-profits.

Pictured above individuals from MS Dept. of Child Protection Services, MDHS Economic Assistance, MDHS Field Operations, MDHS  Healthy Families MS, Coahoma Community College, Coahoma Co. Circuit Clerk Office, Magnolia Health, FRC- NLRO Program, MHP, MDHS Adult Services, Clarksdale School District Parent Center,  Tunica Co. FRC, MS Dept. of Corrections and Delta Health Partners, Clarksdale FRC and Tupelo FRC.

Pictured:(from left to right) are Senator Robert Jackson, Carolyn D. Quin, FRC Regional Coordinator;  Angela Williams, FRC Field Educator; Kelly Sayle, But God Ministries; and Representative Orlando Paden. 


Heading to bed is quite a heavenly thing

   Wednesday nights is the meeting time for church members of Parkway Hills United Methodist Church to meet and make beds!  One of their newsletters invited members to meet Bill Flynn in the basement of the church to build bunk beds as one of their missions to “show God’s love.”  Another message to the church members said, “As long as there are children sleeping on the floor in Madison County, there’s still work to be done.”

   That goal has traveled north to the hearts of associates of The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC).  The bed frames arrive at the FRC facility ready to be stained and assembled.  Rev. Stanley Huddleston, FRC employee and pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Prentiss County who is leading this project said, “Donations are coming in from churches and businesses to support this effort. Our goal is for ‘no child to sleep on the floor in North Mississippi.’” 

   “Mr. Bill Flynn from Parkway Hills UMC in Madison County supplies us with bed frames,” said Huddleston. Frames are donated from Parkway Hills UMC in Madison County and stained by volunteers at FRC Tupelo. Beds are delivered with a mattress and most cases a pillow.

FRC Staff pitchs in to complete beds

This is the first recepient of our bunk bed project from the FRC team in North Mississippi.


This printer was donated by FRC North Mississippi to Pastor Josh Daffern and Mt Vernon Baptist Church who began an afternoon program to help tutor students from New Hope schools at Greentree properties in Columbus, MS, also pictured with Bro Stanley and Pastor Josh is Pam Painter, property manager.


Gerald Crabb and The Tribute Quartet

    Gerald Crabb will be appearing with his son Jason Crabb at The Summit in Tupelo, MS August 23rd, 7 p.m.  Gerald currently serves as part of the Faith-based Community Outreach Team for Families First for Mississippi, a state-wide program currently administered jointly by The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi and Mississippi Community Education Center of South Mississippi.

   A resident of Ripley, Mississippi, Gerald Crabb received a very special accolade for his song-writing accomplishments this past year. The event was held at Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) in Nashville, TN.      He was awarded a plaque presented by his Publisher, Daywind Publishing, commemorating him for         his  25th #1 song on the Singing News radio chart.

   Crabb was recently awarded two trophies at the Absolutely Gospel Music Awards held in Nashville, TN for songs he had written. The categories were Country Gospel Song of the Year, “It Still Takes the Blood” and Traditional Song of The Year, “God of the Storms.” He had been nominated in five categories.

   Gerald has been the recepient some major awards throughout his career: He has won the BMI Christian Songwriter of the Year and BMI Publisher of the Year. Crabb was recepient in two major categories at the 2011 GMA Dove Awards winning Song Of The Year “Sometimes I Cry” and Songwriter Of The Year.

   Gerald’s songs has been performed worldwide, They have been recorded by Randy Travis, The Oak Ridge Boys, Marie Osmond, The Gaither Vocal Band and many others. Five of his songs were recorded on two Grammy winning albums.

Crabb Father and Son winning awards and supporting FRC with Fund-Raiser

   Jason has appeared on stages such as Carnegie Hall, the Grand Old Opry, the Brooklyn Tabernacle and Billy Graham’s final crusade in NYC. Jason Crabb released his first solo album in 2009, and it earned him his first Grammy the following year. Since then, he has received numerous industry accolades, among them 21 Dove Awards, including wins in the “Artist,” “Male Vocalist,” and “Song of the Year” categories. In addition to his recording career, Crabb is also an actor and author. He shared his life story in the inspiring book, Trusting God to Get you Through, and has written a series of successful children’s books.

    One of His performance style can be previewed at:

    The Summit event is a fund-raiser to support The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC). FRC is a non-profit organization that focuses on family improvement with support in youth development, parenting, workforce and job readiness and education for at-risk students wanting to earn a high school diploma through online learning resources.  More information is available at


Gerald Crabb and the Freemans

St Luke Methodist Church wants to help

   St. Luke United Methodist Church, located on Clayton Street in Tupelo, has received press in recent months for their Food Pantry, which is on Eason and Veterans.  Every Thursday, anyone with a need for food is welcome there.

   This is not their only philanthropic outreach.  Where there is a need, they try to meet that need whenever they can.  Hannah Maharrey of The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi was invited to speak to the St. Luke Ministry Group on April 24th.  They also issued another invitation to her; they asked what supplies that the homeless of Tupelo need that FRC might not be able to provide.  They wanted to help fill that need.

   Hannah spoke to the group on the 24th and discussed human trafficking, homelessness and other issues that affect women.  She had also responded earlier to their second invitation and let them know many of the women who are staying at the Salvation Army shelter needed undergarments.  FRC does collect used clothing for these women but can only provide new “undergarments,” and sometimes there is a shortage of these.

   The Women Ministry of St. Luke United Methodist “collected a large number of underwear and bras that I will be giving out at the Salvation Army tomorrow,” Hannah said.  “I just thought this was an awesome thing for St. Luke’s Women’s ministry to do and wanted to share.”

    The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) is a non-profit organization that works through many channels to improve lives for the residents of Mississippi. From an online high school diploma program to a clothing closet to workforce/job readiness, FRC is always delighted to partner with other organizations with the same objective of helping their communities.


FRC is to be recepient of fund-raising event by a state agency

   “MDRS (Mississippi Department of Rehabilitative Services) is the largest state agency committed solely to helping people with disabilities. Services may include vocational evaluation, counseling and guidance, educational assistance, job training, job placement, assistive technology and personal attendants.
“It is the mission of the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS), to provide appropriate and comprehensive services to Mississippians with disabilities in a timely and effective manner. Programs and services assist individuals with disabilities to gain employment, retain employment and to live more independently.”–Lavonda Hart, Director (

   MDRS sponsors a May Day Event that not only provides games and fun activities but also serves as fund raiser for a selected non-profit organization.  This year, that organization will be The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi. The event will be held at Tupelo’s Ballard Park on May 11 and the award time for the distribution to the FRC is set at 11 a.m. The annual event is for the Mental Health and Wellness Awareness campaign observed each May.

   When informed about their intent, Christi Webb, Executive Director of The Family Resource Center was humbled, "We are so very grateful to be recognized by MDRS and to receive the funds from the May Day Event. Both of our agencies are committed to making life better for Mississippi families and we are proud to come along beside MDRS and help fill in the gap for so many people."

   There will be a couple of events during the day targeted to provide support to FRC.  Luck of the Draw is a drawing that rewards winners with gift bags of gift cards!  Also, a pie in the face contest will bring in additional dollars and provide lots of entertainment.

   Spokesperson Melanie Hickman explained the selection was because she knew the FRC organization and was familiar with the help provided to Mississippians because she had worked with them several years earlier during a joint umbrella of United Way and FRC. 

   FRC’s mission is to provide quality educational support services in a family based and child-friendly environment to promote healthy families and communities.  This education ranges from many areas of family issues and relationship needs, workforce and job training, youth development and improving high school graduation rates by providing access to online high school program to achieve a degree.

   MDRS’ focus parallels FRC’s mission stated above by helping Mississippians with disabilities achieve independence through vocational training, equipping them with the education and special equipment needed to succeed in their chosen field.  They also help those with deeper disabilities to remain as independent as possible in their home and community       

   Both organizations, a state agency and a non-profit organization, work through their own efforts, with multiple partners and through referrals, to improve the lives of the state residents.

    For more information about the services of FRC, visit   The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services can be reviewed at


FRC Sponsored Wheelchair


Event at Ole Miss

MACE and Family Resource Center of North Mississippi Partner for Empowerment

   Antonio Wright brought MACE to Oxford and the Ole Miss campus in late April to create awareness and goodwill for people in wheelchairs and their community.

   MACE is a Jackson-based organization, its full name being Metro Area Community Empowerment, which wants to broaden its horizons and allow more people, those in wheelchairs and those not, to better understand the community. Wright, a former Jackson State University football player who is in a wheelchair since an auto accident years ago, is its founder and CEO.

   “It was exciting to be here,” Wright said after the Ole Miss event, which featured a wheelchair basketball game. “We had future soldiers who were here from the ROTC programs. We had future police officers here. We had Rec Therapy people here, and they are people who want to work with people who have disabilities.”

   Wright was in an accident on his way home from a trip to Memphis two decades ago. The vehicle had a blowout and Wright, a passenger, was thrown from the auto. His life has great meaning, both for himself and many others he’s connected with throughout these many years since.

   “Wheelchair sports are great therapy both mentally and physically,” Wright said. “Using adaptive sports to change how people feel about themselves and feel about others is a lot of what we’re all about.”

   Joining Wright in Oxford were fellow wheelchair sports participants Trey LaFitte, a disabled Marine, and Carlos Blackmon, who serves as the MACE equipment manager.

   Wright and MACE are partners with the Family Resource Center of North Mississippi. He wants to have a great impact on people in the region and to become a more visible entity through events such as the one at Ole Miss. He welcomes invitations to bring MACE and its people to locales in Mississippi.

   On its website, MACE lists wheelchair basketball, tennis, softball, youth mentorships, and community activity programs among its endeavors. “Contact us to learn how you can help us empower our community,” the website says.

   Wright likes to mention often keeping a positive outlook whatever the situation you are presently in.

   “Remember, no matter how you have it, it could always be worse,” he said.

   --- By Jeff Roberson, Family Resource Center of North Mississippi, Oxford

   Oxford FRC was busy with many community events in May  

Bishop Davis and Bremeika Jones of Family Resource Center in Oxford talk to a local citizen at the Mary Cathey Head Start Health Fair in Oxford

Bremeika Jones and Ben Salvador, FRC Oxford interns from the Ole Miss social work department, welcome guests to the Families First for Mississippi table at the kickoff event for the Oxford Community Market this spring.

The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi, Oxford staff, welcomed participants to the Empowered To Connect conference at the Oxford Orchard this spring.

LaConda H. Thompson (second from left)  of FRC Oxford is joined by her family members and others at the Oxford Community Market kickoff event.

Blakely Beggs (left) and Ashley Pfahler (right) at the Empowered To Connect conference to help connect children and families on April 13-14 at the Oxford Orchard, sponsored by Families First for Mississippi and the Family Resource Center of North Mississippi. 

Family Resource Center of Oxford and Families First for Mississippi sponsored a Petting Zoo at the kickoff event for Oxford Community Market this spring.


The Family Resource Center in Chickasaw County was selected to receive endowment from NEMYF/ CREATE with funds raised by students

Left to right are Halley Hollingsworth, Kathy Austin, Sharon Petty, Erica Golden and Thomas Byrne.

      NEMYF may not be an acronym with which everyone is familiar but maybe should be:  Northeast Mississippi Youth Foundation.  CREATE Foundation established this group to give teenagers in north Mississippi a place to learn about giving back, getting involved, helping others and improving the region.

     The NEMYF board consists of forty-two 11th and 12th graders from 18 high schools in seventeen counties. They work with teenagers in these counties to raise funds that are awarded to non-profit organizations they select. 

    This year, The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) was selected to be the Chickasaw County recepient of a grant.  They were one of eight groups to receive this endowment. These were presented at the CREATE Foundation Building on Sunday, April 29th.

     NEMYF was founded in 2001 and has given nearly $45,000 in grants.  This year, their grant offerings are $4,419, with each group receiving $491.22 from funds raised by the students.

   CREATE was formed through an endowment by the late North Mississippi Daily Journal Publisher George McLean and his wife, Anna Keirsey McLean in 1972. 

   CREATE emphasizes four program areas:  regional capacity building, endowment building, financial administration, and targeted grant making.   Stated on their website is the following: “CREATE is directed to improve the quality of life in Northeast Mississippi by cultivating charitable service and by investing effectively in education, community development and quality services for individuals, families and children.”

     When informed of this decision, FRC Executive Director Christi Webb said, “We are honored to be selected as the recepient in Chickasaw County. Our staff is excited about the opportunities that these funds will provide for the youth in the area.”

   Accepting the award on behalf of FRC was Kathy Austin, Regional Director in Chickasaw County, with Field Educators Erica Golden and Sharon Petty.  The award was presented by students from that county:  Halley Hollingsworth and Thomas Byrne.

   NEMYF stated they had selected FRC based on their stated mission:   “Our mission is to provide quality educational support in a family based and child-friendly environment to promote healthy families and communities.”


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