JANUARY/FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER
"At the heart of Mississippi Community Education Center and Families First for Mississippi is a unified mission with a team effort to offer families avenues for success in the workforce and education across Mississippi. We are fully dedicated to helping Mississippians flourish with stability and success," said Dr. Nancy New, Executive Director, Mississippi Community Education Center and Co-Executive Director, Families First for Mississippi.

IT'S TIME TO GET FIT, MISSISSIPPI! 
 
MCEC's Families First for Mississippi programs are working to make a difference in the lives of Mississippi's youth.  Families First programs such as Healthy Teen for a Better Mississippi are promoting fun and fitness to encourage students to remain active.  The Healthy Teens Council has used its creativity to organize Zumba and nutrition classes, as well as many other activities in their schools. Together we can strengthen lives of Mississippians!
Families First Health & Nutrition Awareness
Families First Health & Nutrition Awareness

Families First for Mississippi and Mississippi Department of Human Services Team Up
with Paul Lacoste, Fitness Guru and All-American SEC Linebacker, to Bring Free Fitness Programs to Mississippi

A new year brings forth dedication to goals for refreshed and renewed exercise routines  and healthy eating habits. Each year, Mississippians resolve that "this year" will be "the  year" a healthy lifestyle will happen. As creatures of habit, though, the comfort of living  in the same routine of the past creeps back into our daily lives even as we eagerly hope to  make a change for this year. It is our habits that hold us back; and as the days move into  weeks and pass into months, those resolutions and vivid plans for the new year slowly  fade away and never happen.

Could it be the mindset of being comfortable with what is easier from unhealthy eating
habits and sedentary lifestyles that brings Mississippi to the forefront as one of the fattest  states in America? Mississippians are part of a state where over 1.5 million adults were  overweight or obese in 2015, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health. Read more


Healthy Teens Council 
"This Year I Will" Campaign 

January  is a time of year to focus on new beginnings and set goals. During January,  Healthy Teens for a Better Mississippi introduced a social media campaign that incorporated, "This Y ear I Will." The Healthy Teens Council members encouraged their peers  to post their new year goals by using our Snapchat filter or on Instagram. The  Healthy Teens Council members created a banner for their school where  students wrote their goals as a visual for all students and faculty to view.

Healthy Teens Council 
"Teen Dating Violence Awareness"

February  is the month that focuses on bringing awareness to teen dating  violence. On February 9th, National Unity Day, the Healthy Teens Council provided  orange bracelets in recognition and support of Anti-Teen Dating  Violence.  The council members placed Post-it notes around their schools concerning what love is and is not, for  example, love is kindness or love is not controlling. By implementing these  strategies, we hope that teens will be able to recognize dating violence and  combat the issue within their school communities.


NATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT APPRECIATION DAY!

In honor of  National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day  (L.E.A.D.) on January 9th, Families First served lunch to the  Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop C Enforcement Division . We want to thank all Law Enforcement for your courage, service, and sacrafice.   Pictured are Colonel Chris Gillard, Chef Robert Jones, Lt. Colonel Randy Ginn and Families First Community Liaison Ken Magee
National Wear Red Day
Everyone can support the fight against heart disease in women by wearing red in February.

Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for the women. More women die from heart disease than all forms of cancer combined. Many women are unaware of this fact and don't realize that heart disease is the greatest threat to their health. 

You can support our mission throughout the entire month of February by participating in one or all of the following: 
  • Light up your Building Red for Heart Month 
  • Get your employees to Support Go Red by purchasing a t-shirt to wear in February
  • Donate a portion of proceeds back to the Heart Association for the month of February 
We encourage you to take part National Heart Month and help up raise funds and awareness needed. 
 
MCEC's Families First Participates in the Mississippi Valley State University 
Heart Healthy Walk!

MCEC's Families First for Mississippi-Greenwood Resource Center's employees De'Kendrick Clark, Marilyn Griffin and Natalie McLellan along with Delta State University Intern, Kayla Gary, participated in the Mississippi Valley State University Heart Healthy Walk on February 1st.
 
Canton Resource Center
 Presented at the 
Kiwanis Club Luncheon!

MCEC's Families First for Mississippi-Canton Resource Center gave a presentation at the Pearl Kiwanis Club luncheon. Paul Mooney gave a very interesting and informative presentation about the works of the Mississippi Community Education Center's organization. Pictured below, from left to right, are guests Chad Davis and Tonya Leach; Club members Tim Mueller, Rebecca Watkins (who arranged the program), and Cedric Graham; Mr. Mooney; and Club members Pete Laven, Brian Hughes (President of the Club). Ray Morgigno, and Mitch Childre.
 
MERIDIAN'S CARSEAT CHECK-UP 
SAFETY EVENT!

MCEC's Families First for Mississippi-Meridian Resource Center is excited to announce the partnership with  Safe Kids Mississippi , Mississippi Department of Human Services,  Mississippi Highway Patrol Headquaters , and  Families First for Mississippi  for the Car Seat Check-Up event that was held on January 17th, at the Meridian Resource Center. The event was free to the public.  Mississippi Community Education Center/Families First hosted a car seat inspection event where nationally certified technicians came for the day to help properly install car seats. The Mississippi Highway Patrol showed demonstrations throughout the day about car safety with the Rollover Simulator that was donated by Families First.  Families  First accepted monetary donations and new car seats to serve the Families First clients. Families First would like to take this initiative statewide. Together we can strengthen communities in Mississippi. 
 
Healthy Sweet Hearts Health Fair 
in Brookhaven

MCEC'S Families First for Mississippi  Brookhaven Resource Center's field educator, Terra Willams attended the "Healthy Sweet HEARTS" Health Fair yesterday. The health fair was held at the South Pike Career and Technical Center in Pike County. Williams spoke with students about healthy relationships and teen dating violence awareness.  Pictured below are students who attended the Health Fair and Field Educator Terra Willams.
 
Crystal Springs is Celebrating Health Awareness Month
 
The MCEC's Families First Crystal Spring's center celebrated Health Awareness month by having Mr. Theavis Cooper, certified sports trainer on the staff of Wesson campus  Copiah Lincoln Community College, speaking with a group of Seniors. He spoke to the class about health and wellness. He also shared ways to take a holistic approach to health.
 
WAPT's "Coats for Kids Drive" at the 
Jackson Resource Center

MCEC's Families First for Mississippi participated in the 16 WAPT News "Coats for Kids Drive" benefitting the The Salvation Army Jackson Metro Area! Sponsors included: Families First for Mississippi Richard Schwartz & Associates, P.A.
Vicksburg Resource Center Partnering with River City Rescue Mission

The men at  River City Rescue Mission  enjoyed healthy snacks following a financial literacy class with Benny Hubbard. Our Vicksburg MCEC's Families First for Mississippi staff works with these men once a week and they always greet them with a smile. 

"Play to Learn, Learn to Play"
at the Hattiesburg Resource Center

MCEC's Families First for Mississippi- Hattiesburg Field Educator, Anisha Pizzferro, hosted "Play to Learn, Learn to Play" for children and parents. She taught them inexpensive activities they can use to engage with their kids, after work, school, and weekends. These activities are a great way to create a bond and an opportunity to engage in conversation. It also teaches them educational skills such as math by using measuring cups and life skills of helping in the kitchen. 
Healthy Happy Snacks Presented by 
Moss Point Resource Center

MCEC's Families First for Mississippi- Moss Point Resource Center's staff, Mrs. Patrice McCullum, presented about healthy happy snacks with the children's choir at Meridian Street Baptist Church in Moss Point this week.

Hancock County Youth Court Training 
in Bay St. Louis

Families First for Mississippi in Hancock and Pearl River counties attended the Hancock County Youth Court training in Bay St. Louis. Youth Court Judge Trent Favre hosted the event featuring Mark Harris of the Pelican Center for Children and Families in New Orleans. He spoke on "Safety Decision Making: Bookends of the Foster Care System." Pictured are Timothy Johnson, field educator, Youth Court Judge Trent Favre, and Jena Tamez. 

Human  Trafficking Symposium
in Gulfport

Kiersten Cater and Betsy McClendon with MCEC's Families First for Mississippi in Harrison County attended the seminars and provided a booth at the Human Trafficking Symposium with Advocates for Freedom in Gulfport.

Yellow Ribbon Programs on the Gulf Coast

MCEC-Families First for Mississippi participated in the Yellow Ribbon Program Post-Deployment event for the Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group Saturday, January 19th and Sunday, January 20th. We provided a booth with information about our MCEC services. The Yellow Ribbon presented to the participants on Sunday about the programs that MCEC/Families First offers and connecting the dots to the resources within their communities. Pictured left to right: Kim Hart, Brigadier General Elton Berry, and Betsy McClendon.