INCREASING ACCESSIBILITY BY PUTTING OUR SERVICES IN THE COMMUNITY!
Families First for Mississippi Resource Centers Form a Statewide Foundation of Philanthropic Services and Successful Skills Development.
Families First for Mississippi is a stalwart image of progress in the state of Mississippi. The organization continues to make strides in helping communities become more self-sufficient and more successful, as evidenced by the grand opening of the Families First Resource Center at Jackson Cash & Carry on May 18, 2018.
Mr. Greg Price, owner of Jackson Cash & Carry and a 40+ year veteran of the retail grocery business, praised Families First, saying, “All of us at Jackson Cash and Carry are so proud to be partnering with Families First for Mississippi. They’re about what we’re about, and that’s making a difference in our own community. We’ll make a difference in South Jackson together.”
Families First Resource Centers, like the Jackson Cash and Carry facility, aim to help each community stimulate employment through job readiness training, support family financial stability, promote literacy, and increase graduation rates. Beyond life skills, Families First Resource Centers support positive youth development, preventing teen pregnancy, valuable father involvement, parenting education and parenting skills development.
Charlie Smith, Families First Community Liaison, took this project into his own hands. He worked tirelessly alongside Mr. Price to make sure the Resource Center was up and running as soon as possible. Mr. Smith explains, “After looking at the space, I knew this is where we needed to be. It will be a win-win for both Families First and Jackson Cash & Carry. Mr. Price is somebody that wants to build up the South Jackson community and believes in Families First’s mission.”
Resource Centers have spaces for a variety of different functions and offerings, including toy lending areas, computer labs, hands-on skill development, parenting and fatherhood training programs, and many more valuable services. Most importantly, all services are available to clients free of charge at every Resource Center.
Nancy McRight, Workforce Coordinator and Regional Coordinator for Families First in Central Mississippi and a 30-year veteran of education, describes a few of the services provided by Resource Centers and how Families First changes in each environment to meet the needs of the citizens. “We have parenting classes, anger management classes, and workforce development classes. A Families First navigator helps people complete resumes and learn soft skills, if they need it. Our plan is to develop the capability to address specific needs as they come through each resource center door. We move with each community as they grow.”
Families First now has dozens of centers throughout the state, and has earned praise for its efforts. Jason Duren, Chair of the Ambassadors of the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership, gives his strong support for Families First and its centers. “Every day they are going out and trying to change people’s lives – all the way from young kids to adults. That’s what we need throughout Jackson, Hinds County and the state of Mississippi.”
Families First goes beyond its own services to partner with outside organizations for the betterment of each community. For instance, at the Jackson Cash and Carry Resource Center, Families First is partnering with United Healthcare to provide improved medical care options through the facility. Kelsey Holleman, from United Healthcare, expressed her pleasure at addressing the needs of those in the area. “In Hinds County alone, we have almost 20,000 members. In areas like this one, there is such a high concentration of members of United Healthcare that it’s great for us to be able to come to work with Families First. Hopefully, we can come alongside Families First and provide similar services and ways to make families healthier.”
None of this progress would be possible without the two dedicated leaders of Families First, Dr. Nancy New (South Mississippi) and Christi Webb (North Mississippi).
Nancy McRight continues to commend Dr. New for her vision. “I feel like the passion that she has to change our state and reach out to families in need and provide them an opportunity to strive makes me know I can continue my love for community education and make a difference at the same time.”
Dr. New knows that Families First could not operate without the efforts of every navigator and volunteer throughout the state and saves her praise for them. “Some people say ‘how are you getting this done?’ I’m not. I just get to look like I’m part of it, too. It’s the great people who are scattered across the state that are making these wonderful things happen.”
JACKSON CASH & CARRY, MS (MAY 18, 2018 ) – The Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC) and Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) is proud to announce the grand opening of the Families First Resource Center-in the Jackson Cash & Carry Grocery Store.
Families First is continuing its growth each week, with ribbon cuttings for new facilities nearly every month, continuing to gain momentum.Representative Deborah Butler Dixon, Chairman of Youth and Family Affairs for the Mississippi House of Representatives, plans to help Families First continue to develop Resource Centers throughout Mississippi. “My plan as a Representative is to help expand this group by reaching out to the rural houses and areas around the state of Mississippi. I have been to several events with Families First and every time I go, I become more excited, because their hearts go out to the children, families, and the community as a whole.”
Though Families First sees its name now on the door of Jackson Cash and Carry, the organization could not have opened any facility without the help of local leaders, like Mr. Price. Dr. New continues to see their willingness to help and their effect on their communities. “We are so pleased he opened up the doors here for this wonderful learning center. We are doing this across the state. It’s exciting for everyone involved.“
Families First for Mississippi is a statewide, multi-generational outreach organization designed to empower and stabilize individual family units. Organized into five pillars of care and services (education, literacy, parenting, job readiness and workforce development, and youth development) the organization strives to establish or reestablish strong foundations for the whole family unit, from grandparents to grandchildren. The organization serves all 82 Mississippi counties and offers its services free of charge.