Families First for Mississippi has announced a partnership with KLLM Trucking Driving Academy and the Mississippi Department of Human Services. The partnership began when John Davis, Executive Director of MDHS along with Jim Richards, President of KLLM Transport and Dr. Nancy New Executive Director of Families First for Mississippi sat down to discuss ways to bring more stability to Mississippi's workforce and their families.  Davis said that MDHS was taking the band-aid approach and not looking at the overall issues. However, with the new partnership, they are looking to change that with a holistic approach to helping families.

"We used to look at a symptom, fix that symptom, and then not look at the overall problem," Davis said. "When we took a generational approach a couple of years back, we realized that in order to remove barriers from families lives, we needed to partner with others and that includes other outside entities and industries. We believe that a lot of the barriers can be eliminated by making a true, livable wage."

Workforce & Job Readiness
Families first are changing lives one day at a time.

"Families First for Mississippi provides individuals with the life management skills they need to succeed at school and in the workplace."
-Rebecca Brown, Workforce Coordinator 

"We are partners for the same mission. We are trying to help families overcome barriers that prevent them to a life of success. They bring families in and help them come up with a plan, then leverage that connectivity to all community colleges." 
-Dr. Jesse Smith, President Jones County Junior College

         To learn more watch the below video and visit  www.FamiliesFirstforMS.org/workforce

Partner Spotlight

Families First for Mississippi in Greenwood recently held its quarterly Coalition Meeting, the first hosted in their new resource center. The center's grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony was celebrated just two weeks prior. Attendees included members of the Greenwood and surrounding Delta communities, with like- minded organizations whose goals include impacting the region's workforce, health, and educational success. As a new component to the coalition, the organization recognized one member for their overall commitment to the community coalition and unfailing efforts to develop a partnership with Families First. For her service to the community, and years of support to the Greenwood center, Mrs. Jennifer Wiley was the first to receive the honor.  Wiley has worked for the Mississippi State Extension Service for thirteen years in Leflore County as a SNAP-ED educator. Her duties entail teaching nutrition and physical activity to adult and youth groups. She has been married to Mr. Steven Wiley of Greenwood for over 30 years. They have one daughter, one son, and 3 grandchildren. During her acceptance of the award, she announced her retirement at the end of this month. Her dedication over the years has not gone unnoticed, but her presence will certainly be missed. Families First looks forward to continuing their relationship with Mrs. Wiley as a volunteer and wishes her a well- deserved retirement, which includes plans with her family. The Greenwood staff was delighted to honor her time and efforts with this first coalition award.

Father's Day PACT Time-Hernando

Hernando orchestrated a P.A.C.T. activity for dad's and children that involved learning to show respect and emotion in the relationship. Children decorated popsicles and included words that expressed thing they admired about their fathers. 

Chickasaw-Houston Educate 
Father's  On Safety!

Families First joined with local organizations in Chickasaw/Houston to educate fathers and sons about safety while enjoying a day of fun and food. Chickasaw Emergency Management, Chickasaw Co. Sheriff's Department, Houston Police Department, Chickasaw Extension Service, the local Fire Department and Ambulance Service were all on hand to demonstrate and provide information about safety. Hotdogs, hamburgers and fun were had by all!

Columbus Grand Opening

Families First For Mississippi/FRC of North Mississippi celebrated the official Grand Opening of the Columbus center located on 1517 2nd Avenue North, Columbus. Invited to the ceremony were Mayor Robert E. Smith Sr., Councilman Stephen Jones, Councilman Bill Gavin, Councilman Gene Taylor, Representative Joseph Mickens, Sr., Councilman Charlie Box, Councilman Fredrick Jackson, Representative Gary Chism, Representative Carl Mickens, Representative Joey Hood, Representative Karl Gibbs, Senator Angela Turner-Ford. 

Also present during the ribbon cutting ceremony were Chief of Police Fred Shelton and Captain Rick Higgins of the Columbus Police Department.  President Lisa James of the Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce.  Other Chamber Ambassadors present included Lisa Neese, Sherry Clark and Ambassadors from Bancorp South.  Guests included several representatives of many partner organizations.

Diane Sherrod, Columbus Regional Coordinator said: "The vast number of agencies, entities, and people in attendance today validated the fact that FRC Columbus and our services are not only needed, but are welcomed, in the City of Columbus. This is only the beginning, I will continue to work hard, and secure more partnerships, so that we can touch more families."

Tupelo Child Safety

Tupelo Families First hosted a Child Safety Event at their Magazine Street location on June 4th.  Hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, popcorn, candy corn, flavored ice cones, and a drawing for four bicycles added to the excitement.  Children were delighted by book and cartoon characters, face painting and other fun activities.

At different booths, manned by different departments of Families First, children and parents were happy to received safety and fun items such as bike helmets.   At each of these booths, information was provided about safety in the following areas:   bicycling, car seats, home maintenance, child care, nutrition, health concerns, parenting tips and many other child care issues.

Families First Summer Programs

Summer Youth Program at Meadowview Housing Authority in Ripley provides fun outlets
 In Ripley, Families First educators Will Rowan and Eddie Begonia, with Amy Bratton and Janet Turman, provided not only information about healthy choices to youth groups but also orchestrated games, crafts, and healthy snacks. 

MEMA 4 KIDS was with Families First at Haven Acres Boys and Girls Club in Tupelo
MEMA 4 KIDS goes to schools, communities, cities, and organization to combat illiteracy while teaching children about disaster preparedness.  MEMA provides 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 is partnering with MEMA through staff participation in the MEMA DISASTER RESERVIST program, in addition to this program. 

COLUMBUS partnered with Coleman Head start in Columbus for Child Abuse Awareness. 
Families First staff dressed up as Smurfs and participated in the parade.  They provided literacy education and did face painting. Also, Officer Aaron Andrews, FRC Columbus part time security officer, brought his Police cruiser, and talked to the children. After the event, Families First staff celebrated with pizza and fellowship. 

The center held a fun-filled Summer Literacy Camp with tons of crafts, online learning sessions, crop growing, games, and special visits from local Columbus fire department, police department detective, MDHS oral Health Representative Genette Robinson for a free oral health screening, scavenger hunt, and MEMA 4 Kids. 

Erica Golden and Sharon Petty attended Vacation Bible School at Porters Chapel AME Church located in Calhoun City (Calhoun County). 
Information on bullying was provided through reading a book entitled, Bully Beans and through discussion and question/answer segment. Also, an activity was provided that encouraged the youth to draw themselves in a positive manner and to remember this pic whenever someone calls them ugly names or belittles them and know that they are beautifully made.

"Heroes All Around Us"
Regional Coordinator in Clarksdale

Carolyn Quin, Regional Coordinator in Clarksdale was awarded Volunteer Service Award for her continued work in the community on behalf of Families First. The award was presented by the Clarksdale Municipal School District during appreciation night. The event recognized partners that impact the lives of children and families within the school district. 

Batesville Graduation

We want to give a huge congratulations to the graduates who completed Families First For Mississippi-New Learning Resources Online diploma program in May! These students represent Marshall, Yalobusha, Tallahatchie, Grenada, Lafayette, and Panola County and are so excited to begin the next phase in their lives. We thank the community colleges and high schools that allowed the program into their facilities and give these individuals a second shot at a real education that works with their situations. Holmes Community College  South Panola High School   Oxford School District   MSU - Yalobusha County Extension Service  Grenada School District Marshall County Schools  Tallahatchie County, Mississippi
Kendricus Carlton- 18 years old. Went to Basteville High School where they promoted the NLRO program for those struggling with state tests. He started program in January of 2018 and finished in May. He came every day to complete all of his credits in just 5 months. He has plans to start his freshman year at Itawamba Community College in July. You can look for him on the basketball court at point guard. When asked who he gave credit to helping him accomplish the program he said, "Mrs. Crissi Williams, she helped me through it all!"
Ambra bolden- 21 years old from Grenada, MS. Wanting to join the Airforce, Ambra had to have a high school diploma so she began asking around and she gives credit to Holmes Community College for mentioning the NLRO. She started in October 2017 and finished by May 2018. Now that she has finished, she wants to follow in many of her family members' footsteps (army, marines, & airforce) and join the ranks. When I asked why she wanted to join she said, "I want to make my dad proud, he never finished". She also said, "I want to thank my family, especially both of my grandmothers, and friends who gave me lots of pep talks to push through and finish my diploma". When talking to Jeff Roberson, Oxford office, she said, "next you see me I'll be in a uniform" so we are excited to see where she goes from here!

Greenwood Center is Promoting Positive Fatherhood Involvement:
Workforce & Job Readiness

Father's Day is celebrated during the month of June, Families First For Mississippi is excited to use this special time of year to promote their Positive Fatherhood Initiative along with their Workforce and Job Readiness Skills programs and workshops. Both services are offered free to the community, along with additional resources including Parenting, Life Skills, Education, Literacy, Financial Planning, and Youth Development among others.  "We want individuals of all backgrounds, but especially our fathers and father-figures, to be able to provide for their families," says De'Kendrick Clark, Program Trainer over Fatherhood Initiative. "We want them to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride, so they can be an example for their children and have a positive impact on their community," says Clark.

Donuts with Dad in Canton!

Pictured: Canton Resource Center,
Trainer Eric Beamon and his Father. 
Families First wanted to do
something special to thank Father's for their vital role they play influencing their child's life. Breakfast is  the most important meal of the day so what could be better than bringing  your child by the Families First Resource Center and grabbing a donut and visiting with other dads.  In various centers throughout the state Families First hosted a "Donuts with Dad"  event to thank fathers for the vital role they play in a child's life. People dropped by  and grabbed a donut while conversing with other fathers.  Your child's primary relationship with his/her father can affect all of your child's relationships  from birth to death, including those with friends, loved ones, and spouses. Those early patterns of  interaction with fathers are the very patterns that will be projected forward into all relationships.  Not only your child's intrinsic idea of who he/she is as he/she relates to others, but the range of what your child considers acceptable and loving. Girls try to be with men like their  fathers while boys try to become the man their fathers are.

Fun Day With Dad Event In Jackson!

Families First for Mississippi hosted its 2nd Annual Fun Day with Dad event for Father's Day.  The event was held at Lynch Street CME church in Jackson, MS. Families First Fatherhood Coordinator, Frank Wynn, organized the event around the Summer & Activities camp going on at the church.  Parents picked up there kids for the last day at camp and celebrate the Father's in their lives with food trucks, games, jump houses, superhero characters, and food trucks! A big thank you to Chunky Dunks Sweets Truck, Hog Heaven BBQ Food Truck, Bounce-a-roo, Magically Perfect Entertainment, & Lynch Street CME Church for helping make the event a success! Families First for MS has partnered with the Mississippi Department of Human Services to develop the Non-Custodial Fatherhood Program.   The program is designed to facilitate or foster a sense of understanding of the responsibility of the male non-custodial parent to their children as well as assist participants in identifying reliable sources of income (employment or employment track) to promote compliance with the child support order which they have been reluctant or unable to pay.  The program achieves this by emphasizing job readiness and money management, in addition to parenting and life skills.   For more information contact Frank Wynn at fwynn@mscec.org or visit FamiliesFirstforMS.org/parenting

Crystal Springs Resource Center Partnering with Jobs for Mississippi Graduates!

"Ms. Pamela Fairman, an employee of Families First, spoke with Jobs for Mississippi Graduates (JMG) at Crystal Springs High School. She instructed students on the correct and incorrect way to conduct themselves when applying for a job or during the interview process. Ms. Fairman stated that "The main thing that you need to know are those soft skills that will get you to the next level after complet ing an application. The ability to say thank you, yes ma'am, no sir, a firm handshake, eye contact, telephone etiquette and knowing how to dress are important skills to know. Those are the basic requirements to "selling yourself" during the interview, but they are not the only skills. The ability to speak clearly and answer questions asked are of utmost importance also."

Pamela showed a brief power point with all those qualifications spelled out for the students. The students asked questions about resume writing, how to complete an application, how to phrase your skills and accomplishments and as a student, how to write those skills you have even if you have not held a job.

"The students were very receptive to what she had to say. She invited them to visit Families First For Mississippi if they are in need of assistance. Several students stated they had been there before and would be returning."

-Dr. Gloria Johnson-Carter
Jobs for MS Graduates
Job Specialist

Vicksburg Hosted A 
Summer Nutrition Seminar

In celebration of National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable month, Families First partnered with our local DHS director and United Way of West Central Mississippi, offering two educational classes. This past Wednesday, at our local DHS, the class focused on smart nutritional choices, the AARP Fresh Savings Program, and the importance of exercise. Next week, we will have a cooking demonstration, focusing on fresh vegetables in season and smoothies. The smoothies will be provided by the Alcorn State Extension office.

Youth Presentation on Bullying and Ice Cream Party in Meridian!

Families First for Mississippi's youth program is a holistic approach to at-risk and high-risk behaviors when implementing the youth development component of the program.  These efforts pivot from best practices, evidence-based practices and research-based practices to utilizes programs or program components that have shown promise or demonstrated effectiveness in working with teens to reduce high-risk behaviors.  The holistic approach seeks to reduce gateway behaviors.  Studies demonstrate that activities presented herein support reduction of dropout rates, support graduation rates, reduce initiation behaviors, support positive school environments and build character and self-esteem in target populations. 

Youth Development Programs provide:

Internet and technology safety education for children, caregivers, and community helpers

Bullying prevention programming to be implemented with children ages 5-17 within the community setting

Healthy relationships and teen dating violence prevention

Healthy choices & teen pregnancy prevention education

For more information about Youth Development, please visit our website www.familiesfirstforms.org/youth-development .

Hattiesburg Helps with Resume Building

The Governor's Job Fair Network of Mississippi hosts multiple monthly job fairs to assist employers who are actively looking for employers, and to offer real job opportunities to individuals looking for employment.  
Families First - Hattiesburg participated in the i-59 Governor's Job Fair on June 12 along with other community businesses to help individuals with starting a career and/or changing a career. Families First provided individuals with assistance with their resume to help illustrate their skills and accomplishments while reflecting their goals and experiences. Participants were able to visit our table to either edit or create an resume on site then get several printed copies to visit present employers booth to inquire about a career. 
Families First connects families with work opportunities in entry level positions.   If this entry-point can be tied to a career pathway that is meaningful to long-term employment goals and supportive services are provided for the working family, employment retention improves and anti-poverty measures have higher rates of success.  For more information about Families First Job Readiness program, visit  www.FamiliesFirstForMs.org  to find your local center.

Biloxi Is Giving Back 

Families First - Biloxi served over 100 people at The Veteran and Homeless Community Stand Down. Service providers and employers partner for annual free, one-day event benefiting the homeless. 

  Families First help individuals connect to other community resources, set appointments to come into our center for additional services, and receive hygiene/first aid kits.  Thank you to our very own littles for helping stuff hygiene kits. For more information and ways you can get involved in your community, please visit our  website  www. FamiliesFirstForMS.org/volunteer-opportunities


Dr. Nancy New
Executive Director of Mississippi Community Education Center
Dr. Nancy New holds a doctoral degree in educational leadership and administration  from the University of Southern Mississippi. She has dedicated her career to helping  others through K-12 teaching, school administration, and the founding of special  purpose schools, New Summit and North New Summit Schools. Simultaneously, Dr.  New founded the non-profit, Mississippi Community Education Center, to support  families and communities across the state. Dr. New has overseen Family First  Resource Centers for over 22 years, since the program's inception, and is jointly  overseeing the expansion of Families First for Mississippi. Families First  perfectly  aligns with Dr. New's vision for community education by connecting  services to  meet the needs of the whole family.

Mrs. Christi Webb
Executive Director of Family Resource Center of North Mississippi
Christi Webb holds a master's degree in education from the University of Mississippi  and has thirty graduate hours in psychology. She took the helm at FRC in 2006, after  having spent the prior thirty years as a devoted educator at Northeast Mississippi  Community College, where she served as: adjunct instructor, instructor, academic  advisor and Academic Division Director of the Social & Behavioral Science and  Physical Education Department. Webb's actions and commitment in her role as  Executive Director have been instrumental to FRC's growth and success in helping  families throughout the northern part of the state.


North Region
  • Cancer Survivor & Care Givers Educational Conference-Tupelo, MS (June 15, 2018)
  • Bicycle Drive-Tupelo, MS (June 16, 2018)
  • Safety Day-Clarksdale, MS (June 22, 2018)
  • Football Camp Ignite-Greenwood, MS (June 23, 2018)
  • Friend Football Camp-Marcus Dupree-Tupelo, MS (June 30, 2018)
Delta Region
  • Open House-Greenwood, MS (June 6, 2018)
  • Coalition Meeting-Greenwood, MS (June 20, 2018)
  • Rock the Mock-Greenwood, MS (June 7, 14, 21)
  • Game Night With Dad-Greenwood, MS
Central Region
  • Donuts for Dad-Meridian, Vicksburg, Natchez, Canton, MS (June 8, 13, 15)
  • Anti-bullying Ice Cream Bash-Meridian, MS (June 14, 2018)
  • Coalition Meeting-Vicksburg, MS (June 14, 2018)
  • Coalition Meeting-Canton, MS (June 27, 2018)
  • Adult Education Conference-Jackson, MS (June 4thand 5th)
  • Community Resource Fair State Employees-Jackson, MS (June 7, 2018)
  • Lunch for Volunteers -Crystal Springs, MS (June 8, 2018)
  • Fun Day with Dad-Jackson, MS (June 14, 2018)
  • "Look-in to the Future" Conference-Pearl, MS (June 21, 2018)
  • Coalition Meeting-Crystal Springs, MS (June 27, 2018)
  • Coalition Meeting-Jackson, MS (June 29, 2018)
South Region
  • Making Connections Conference-Gulf Coast, MS (June 6-8th)
  • Municipal League Annual Conference-Gulf Coast, MS (June 25-26th)
  • Rock The Library-Hattiesburg

Check out our websites for detailed information about our events. www.FamiliesFirstForMs.org