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Volume 1908• Issue 51• August 2019
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Re-Entry Program Expansion discussed with MS State officials


The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) hosted a gathering of state government officials and educational partners to provide success data for their Re-Entry Program.  This meeting was to provide not only information about the program but data that shows the success of the program.  Expanding the current network of partners was among the reasons for the gathering.

Not all that enter the program are “re-entering” from prison; others are entering after a conflict with the legal system and who have been diverted to this program by the District Attorney’s Office, the Judicial System and other referring sources.   FRC is currently providing training in halfway houses, local jails, and regional prisons, as well as through workshops and classes at other facilities.  

The role of the Re-Entry Program at the Family Resource Center of North Mississippi is to evaluate the client’s current barriers, provide support and instruction on how to best tackle those problems, and then to guide clients as they take the steps necessary to overcome the barriers to succeeding in life.  This support includes placement with a partner community college in the North Mississippi Community College Consortium, with guidance by a workforce or re-entry specialist who can facilitate workforce training.

Pictured left to right are: (front row, seated) Mississippi House of Representatives Bill Kinkade (R), Jerry Turner (R), and Shane Aguirre (R); (second row) and ICC Worforce Re-Entry Navigator Bethany Bonner, FRC Program Director Shelia Davis, FRC Re-Entry Program Coordinator Kim Benefield, FRC Special Projects Coordinator Amy Harris, ICC Director of Workforce Training Tzer Nan Waters, FRC Field Educator Dierdre Berry; (third row) FRC Circuit Court Liaison Rick Spencer, ICC Workforce Navigator Joshua Gammill, FRC Director of Re-Entry and of Outcome Studies & Data Dr. Collin Billingley, FRC Community Liaison and Grants Mitch Caver, ICC Dean of Career/Tech Education Barry Emison, FRC Director of Quality Management Patti Coggins.  Not pictured but present were James Robertson, Director of Employability and Criminal Justice Reform for EMPOWER Mississippi; Angela Mallette, Director of Programs at the LEAD Project; Mississippi Community College Consortium Chair Dr. Marion Tutor; and FRC Workforce Director Dr. David Cole.

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ACE Training Builds Strong Brains


The old biblical adage of “sins of the fathers” has sometimes meant that punishment is meted out to children for bad things parents have done.  Webster’s defines this more along the lines that children suffer for the bad things parents do, not as a punishment but more just a fact of life.  Abusive or neglectful parents can impact so many aspects of a child’s development, extending way beyond the trauma of the moment of the incident(s).

Dell Hatch, Dierdre Berry, Erika Jones, Sandy Tyes, Beverly Gonzales, Dr. Debra Moore, Sandra Blanch, Shelia Davis, and Laura Gillom of The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) attended training in Memphis:  Building Strong Brains Tennessee: ACEs Training.  This team of social workers/field educators will apply recovery and educational principles from this training in the services provided by FRC.  These FRC representatives hail from different FRC campuses across North Mississippi and will take the knowledge back to their respective communities.

ACE (adverse childhood experiences) gained attention after research was “gathered in the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, one of the largest investigations of childhood abuse and neglect and their effects on life-long health and well-being. The study found that the greater the exposure to things such as domestic violence, addiction, depression in early childhood, the greater the risk for later-life problems such as higher risk for chronic illnesses, poverty, depression and addictive behaviors.”

This training was developed to help build a knowledge mobilization movement around early childhood brain development.  This knowledge mobilization means developing a common understanding about early childhood through a shared, up-to-date, clear storyline based on science, including the following:

  • The architecture of a young child’s brain is shaped by the interaction between genes and experience, and this can have either a positive or negative result.

  • Science makes it clear that Adverse Childhood Experiences negatively impact the architecture of the developing brain.

  • Children thrive in a safe, nurturing environment of supportive families, caregivers, neighborhoods and communities.

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The Lee and Chickasaw Tobacco Coalition held first quarterly meeting in Tupelo


Shatara Agnew (left) lead the meeting of partnering organizations as they elected officers and reviewed reviewed objectives for the upcoming year.

   Funded by the Mississippi State Department of Health, Office of Tobacco Control, one of the 34 coalitions of this agency held their first quarterly meeting for the year.  The Lee and Chickasaw Coalition met at The Family Resource Center(FRC) in Tupelo on August 8th for an informal gathering and lunch.

    Leading the group was Shatara Agnew, the Project Director for Mississippi Tobacco-free Coalition and staff member of FRC, and her agenda began with the election of officers for the new year.  Three FRC staffers will fill seats:  Sharon Petty will be the new Chairman; Sandra Blanch will hold the Vice-Chair seat; and Stephanie Collier will serve as secretary.  Collier will be assisted by Kartasha White of Tupelo Police Department PAL (Police Athletic League).

    The mission of the coalition is prevention of initiation of tobacco use among youth and also to spread to all the message of the dangers of tobacco use and methods of cessation.  To accomplish this, several events will be held through the upcoming year in not only these two counties but in others throughout the state.

    An example of one of the projects is a seven-week course that will be conducted in a local housing authority community that is smoke-free, which is required in HUD residences. These courses will be conducted weekly for the duration.  Other events will include some youth events, community events, outreach efforts to employers and other such events.

    The coalition is made up of professionals representing many different organizations and professions. Medical experts, school educators and administrators, state governmental staffers, and members of several non-profit organizations.

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Oxford Campus is relocating to TWO new sites

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Golf Tournament Exchange Club Sept 2019
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Youth groups are rocking communities with inspiration

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Click above for July Newsletter.

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