"When I reflect back on my childhood, my mom, Mable Frazier Whitten, taught me lessons of humility, hard work, and working as a team to accomplish goals. My dad was a farmer and my mom worked on our farm as well as taking care of our family. The life lessons I learned from my mom and dad from their examples of working as a team, to remaining humble and grateful, I have cherished throughout my life. Now in my work professionally, I carry on those lessons to come together and connect the dots with statewide organizations for a greater cause for the state of Mississippi."  said Dr. Nancy New, Executive Director, 
Mississippi Community Education Center

5 Healthy and Honorable Ways to Approach Mother's Day for the Motherless
By: Jenny Cox Holman
Mother's Day stirs memories of a childhood wrapped in love and affection, meaningful birthday and holiday celebrations together, and simple days in the loving presence of a woman who selflessly lived, loved and sacrificed for her family. There are many, though, who will approach this Mother's Day with sentiment tinged with sorrow from the loss of a mother and feelings of void with the absence of her irreplaceable love.

John Owen, CEAP, CAS, of Recovery Consultations and Addiction Educator Director of Families First for Mississippi, describes his mother, who was affectionately known as Kitty, as a resilient, hardworking business woman, talented seamstress, and unending advocate for others, who selflessly shared her complete, unconditional love with him and his siblings.

Over the past 35 years, John Owen has counseled countless individuals through seasons of suffering and loss and is now walking through a journey of grief with loss of his mother. "My mom, 'Kitty' - Billie Anne Owen,truly was one of those people who could give complete, unconditional love. I never felt like I could do anything that could stop her from loving me. She was that same way with the rest of our family. My brother, sisters and I knew that she was there for us, and that she was going to love us," recalls John Owen. With the first Mother's Day without her, speaking about his mother in the past tense amplifies a loss created by the absence of a true joy-giving woman.
This Mother's Day may mark for you, as well, the first holiday as a day of remembrance instead of celebration. This Mother's Day may signify years or decades since you were in the physical presence of your mom, your life's greatest champion and best friend. You may wonder, "How do I approach Mother's Day being motherless? How do I process these feelings of desperately desiring to hug and share words of affection once again? How can I honor the life and legacy of my precious mother?"
Consider these 5 healthy and honorable ways from John Owen, CEAP, CAS, of Recovery Consultations and Addiction Educator Director of Families First for Mississippi, to approach Mother's Day as you grieve your mother's death and celebrate her legacy. Read more...

Law of 16 Conference

The Mississippi Community Education Center was recently invited to attend the Law of 16 Conference. The Law of 16 conference is a leadership training session to help participants become more self-aware and find the change within. The two day conference teaches us to communicate with ourselves, families, peers, and our clients. MCEC staff learned how to continuously improve our ability to have a servant's heart, be supportive of others and be the best we can be as life changers. John Davis, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services states, "YOU continue to meet the challenges of our agency and YOU excel despite any setbacks. We should all be very proud of where we are today and excited about where we are headed."

Special thanks to  Mississippi Department of Human Services  Executive Director, John Davis and Special Guest Ted DiBiase Jr., an American businessman, actor, and retired professional wrestler.

Taking Charge for a Healthy Mississippi

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) and Families First for Mississippi hosted a preliminary workshop of at least 200 health professionals and community leaders to combat the growing number of obese adults and children in the state.
The event, Taking Charge for a Healthy Mississippi, is part of Gov. Phil Bryant's obesity initiative.
The number of obese adults in the state has risen nearly 60 percent in 15 years, from 23.7 percent in 2000 to 37.3 percent in 2016. If nothing is done to stop the growth, the obesity rate could reach 66.7 percent by 2030.
"There is absolutely no time to waste," said MSDH State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. "Excess weight and limited physical activity are robbing Mississippi residents of opportunities for prosperity and good health," he said.
In 2015, 40 percent of school-aged children and youth were overweight or obese. Just like adults in the state, those children are at increased risk for developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.
"We are looking for evidence-based strategies to reduce obesity in the state. All options are on the table. We discussed ideas that will work and will have measurable results," said Dr. Dobbs. "We are working for real change," said Dobbs.
"Throughout Mississippi we are aware that there are challenges with eating healthy which may lead to obesity and other health disparities. The Governor's Obesity Initiative will afford great opportunities for communities to influence and impact health and nutrition across generations," said Nancy New, Ph.D., Executive Director of Mississippi Community Education Center.

The participants were tasked with identifying the best practices, opportunities and challenges faced while implementing initiatives designed to lower obesity rates across all age groups in Mississippi. The main priority of the event was to discuss obesity prevention and ways that community-based organizations, traditional health care systems and government agencies can collaborate to better serve their communities.  A follow-up summit will be held in late summer or early fall.
Pictured below is Dr. Nancy New, MCEC Executive Director with Dr. Thomas  Dobbs , State Health Officer.

"Shatter the Silence" Campaign
Mississippi Department of Mental Health

One in five people will experience mental health issues during life. Fortunately, people can and do recover to live healthy, satisfying lives, despite the health struggles they face. 

"Shatter the Silence" is a campaign of the Mississippi Department of  Mental   Health  to encourage people to talk through their feelings with friends, loved ones, and professionals, and to also encourage those friends and loved ones to show their concern and support. By working together, we can help those in need to realize it's OK to reach out for help. If you would like to speak to someone about a Shatter the Silence presentation, or if you would like to order some Shatter the Silence materials, contact the Department of  Mental   Health  at 601-359-1288."

Jason Crabb Concert
Families will be able to enjoy a FREE event!

Jason Douglas Crabb is a Christian music singer and musician. He has been the lead vocalist for the group The Crabb Family. Crabb was voted "Favorite Male Vocalist" at the first annual Harmony Honors Awards and "Favorite Young Artist" at the 2000 Singing News Fan Awards. 

Mississippi Community Education Center and Families First for Mississippi has the privilege of hosting Jason Crabb live in concert on June 2nd at New Horizon Church in Jackson beginning at 4:00 pm and June 3rd at First Ridgeland Baptist Church beginning at 6:00 pm. 

Special Guest Ted DiBiase Jr., an American businessman, actor, and retired professional wrestler, will be our emcee for the evening. This is a FREE event for all families. We hope to see you there! 
Early Childhood Education

Families First for Mississippi and Mississippi Community Education Center work directly with the Mississippi Department of Human Services and the Mississippi Community College Board to support families across the state by providing early childhood services that help parents and caregivers identify high-quality childcare services and learning experiences. 

Through this partnership, Mississippi Early Learning Standards and Guidelines have been revised and updated to ensure that childcare providers have up-to-date and research-based resources for use in individual childcare centers. 

For more information about the Early Childhood Education for Mississippi Community Education Center and Families First programs, please visit our website
Yazoo City Job Fair

Families First for Mississippi  employees, Bubba Weir, Roy Balentine, and Kim Funchess attended the Yazoo City Job Fair. 

Pictured below are Workforce Coordinators, Bubba Weir and Roy Balentine helping prospective employees with resume writing. The fair was held at the National Guard Armory Tuesday, May 14, 2019.
McDonald's Job Fair  at the Families First 
Jackson Resource Center

MCEC's Families First for Mississippi  will be hosting a McDonald's Job Fair at the Families First for Mississippi Jackson Resource Center on Monday, June 10th and Tuesday, June 11th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 
"Click it or Tick it" Campaign
at the Jackson Resource Center

MCEC's Families First for Mississippi thoroughly enjoyed MS Highway Patrol Public Affairs Officer, Kervin Stuart coming to speak to the  Families First for Mississippi  Jackson Resource Center on Friday, May 10th. He spoke on carseat safety and the importance of buckling up.

"Mommy and Me Tea" in Lawrence County

MCEC's Families First for Mississippi hosted a "Mommy and Me Tea" at the Lawrence County Library in Monticello, Mississippi. Mississippi Community Education Center's Field Educator, Terra Williams and Lawrence County Librarian, Melissa Moak hosted the event. We had several activities for the children to do with their moms consisting of a question and answer coloring page, bookmarks, and others. Lawrence County Librarian, Melissa Moak read the children's book "Llama Llama Home with Momma" and she had an activity for the kids to make a llama bookmark. Families First for Mississippi is dedicated to impacting the whole family, while meeting the specific needs of individual family members. We offer an array of parenting and life skills classes throughout Mississippi. In the month of May we reflect and celebrate mothers and mother figures. 
Law Enforcement Appreciation Week
in Meridian

MCEC's Families First for Mississippi Meridian staff member Casey Culpepper dropped off breakfast to the Meridian Police Department to thank them for their service and dedication to the Meridian Community in honor of Law Enforcement Appreciation Week. 

Families First for Mississippi has introduced a new program for inmates to put their best step forward upon being released. Families First "The Next Step" simply starts by taking the next, correct step. Families First for Mississippi is here to walk along side people as they begin a heathy and refreshed journey. We can connect them with resources for housing, employment, educational opportunities and efforts for reconciliation with their loved ones. On this journey ahead, know that they are not alone. Families First for Mississippi is there every step of the way to provide access to resources for second chances and new beginnings.

Pictured below is Casey Culpepper with officers from the Meridian Police Department.
Mother's Day Celebration
in Vicksburg

Mississippi Community Transportation Day 
in Hattiesburg hosted by the Mississippi 
 Public Transit Association 

The Mississippi Public Transit Association is hosting a statewide "Mississippi Community Transportation Day" on June 20, 2019 in unification with the American Public Transit Association (APTA) National Dump the Pump Day. 

The project is designed to celebrate community transportation services that enhance the lives of so many being served throughout Mississippi. Also, provide opportunity for important community resources to be shared. Health Screenings will be available by My  Brothers Keeper and South Central Regional Medical Center. PLUS - Mississippi football legend Marcus Dupree will hold a Meet & Greet for attendees. 

PLACE: Sawmill Square Mall 
DATE: Thursday, June 20, 2019
TIME: 10:00am-3:00pm.

Color Run for Rescue Army
at Hancock and Harrison Counties

MCEC's  Families First for Mississippi  Hancock and Harrison Counties Center Coordinator, Jena Tamez attended the Color Run for Rescue Army.  They had a table with other local non-profits and had the opportunity to talk about our services and form future partnerships. 

Conference USA Teen Block Party
in Biloxi

Pictured below are various high school students, legendary  Marcus Dupree, MCEC Executive Director, Dr. Nancy New, and Families First staff members. 

Carseat Safety Check-up Event in Biloxi

Families First for Mississippi, Mississippi Community Education Center, Safe Kids-Mississippi, Mississippi Department of Human Services, and Mississippi Highway Patrol are  hosting a  car   seat  inspection event where nationally certified technicians can help you properly install your  car   seat on  Friday, May 31st 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. at t he Creative Learning Center,  2140 Pass Road, Biloxi, MS 39531.

Mother's Day Celebration
in Moss Point

The ladies at Meridian Street Church in Moss Point were delighted to get a special treat from Families First for Mississippi  in Jackson County for their Mother's Day Celebration. They received a card along with some refreshments to celebrate Mother's Day. Mississippi Community Education Center and  Families First for Mississippi is dedicated to impacting the whole family, while meeting the specific needs of individual family members. We offer an array of parenting and life skills classes throughout Mississippi. In the month of May we reflect and celebrate mothers and mother figures.