As United Way of North Central Mississippi (UWNCM) nears the 2016 Campaign Kickoff scheduled for September 14th, it continues its quest to make a difference by supporting the existing fifteen agencies and new programs through the Grant Challenge funded by a national anonymous donor. Completing the first phase of the Grant Challenge involved seeking new programs that addressed issues in UWNCM’s region of Choctaw, Oktibbeha, Webster, and Winston Counties.
With a focus of Overall Child Well Being and their family and social environment as major factors, a community TASK force of six individuals came together to ensure the integrity and purpose of the Grant Challenge was addressed properly. The areas of concern were potential new programs including health, education, finance, family with an emphasis on senior citizens, spiritual and well-being. The emphasis on senior citizens was inevitable due to the increasing rate of senior citizens in Mississippi who are now raising grandchildren and great grandchildren. The three programs selected to receive grant awards were the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Center, the Well Child Initiative project hosted by the Palmer Home and the Fan Give Away, a project of the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District.
The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Center is a part of the School Psychology at Mississippi State University. The program is headed into its second full academic year to provide comprehensive behavioral and academic services to children, adolescents and emerging adults with a variety of disabilities.
Dan Gadke, the clinic director, along with three graduate students accepted the check for the ADDC. The three graduate students are Alex Clarke, Margaret Bernheim and Adam Weseloh. Gadke states, “I am extremely thankful for the funds provided by United Way of North Central Mississippi. The money will go a long we in ensuring the delivery of services to children and their families this fall.” The number one offset for this program is being able to fund graduate assistants to provide the vital direct services daily. Funding graduates allows each one to see up to ten clients a day. Without funding, graduates would have to volunteer and would only be able to see just two clients daily.
The Palmer Home for Well Child Initiative focuses on middle school aged children and their families. The program concentrates on educational, emotional, physical, spiritual, and development of children. The program will begin hosting seminars to inform and educate those in the fields of medicine, social work, education, spiritual, counseling and other youth advocates.
Emily Ferril, Development Director, and Ashley Haeusler, Director of Whole Child Initiative, accepted the check for the Palmer Home of Well Child Initiative. Haeusler states, “We are very grateful to United Way for supporting an event that will benefit the local counties of Choctaw, Oktibbeha, Webster and Winston County. This event will provide an informative evening for families, teachers, and other youth advocates, as well as incorporate local community resources to have a presence and share their information with attendants.” The upcoming seminars and training sessions will begin in November of this year.
The Golden Triangle Planning and Development District serves as an aging resource center for Choctaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Webster, and Winston County. The GTPDD provides several programs to ensure a more sustainable life for the elderly in our communities.
The GTPDD is partnering with Lowe’s for its new project called the Fan Give Away. It will provide 350 fans to homebound senior citizens who have no access to central air or cannot afford to run their air conditioning unit. Recipients will reside in Choctaw, Oktibbeha, Webster, and Winston counties. First priority is given to senior citizens who are caring for grandchildren or great grandchildren. The fans will be distributed by Home Services and Meals Services. The check was accepted by Rudy Johnson, GTPDD Director, along with Cindy Brown, Outreach Coordinator.
United Way of North Central Mississippi’s main goal is to enhance lives by helping make a positive change within our community. The organization is proud to support these incredible programs that exemplify the characteristics that embody UWNCM’s mission as a whole.