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Released March 5, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- The parents of a Mt. Olive girl are confident their daughter, who suffers from Down's Syndrome, will be ready for a normal school environment because of the services provided by The University of Southern Mississippi's Children's Center for Communication and Development.

Stacey and Tony Gray are seeing vast improvement in the communication skills their daughter Savannah, 4, has gained since receiving early intervention services at the center.

"Because of the love, caring, and teaching Savannah has received, she now has an excellent lease on the rest of her life," said Stacey Gray. Gray began attending the center at the age of 7 months, and along with 50 other special needs children throughout Mississippi, receives services at the center that include special education, occupational and physical therapy, and speech-language therapy.

Gray will transition into the Simpson County school district this fall, and her mother believes she is ready for her new school. "We are so thankful for our extended family at The Children's Center," said Tony Gray.

Gray's family is currently supporting The Children's Center in a one-time major fund-raising campaign. The center is selling raffle tickets for a donated Browning B-80 12-gauge Ducks Unlimited shotgun still in its case. Monies received from this raffle and generous donations will be combined to help the center raise $350, 000 to modify building space to make it appropriate for their very special children, graduate students, families, and trainees. These modifications will allow the center to continue to make a difference in the lives of the children it serves and the thousands of children who will ultimately be served by the graduates and practitioners receiving training for this very special population.

If you would like to help The Children's Center, raffle tickets may be purchased from the following: Broadhead's Do-It Center, Walker Taxidermy, Music City Instruments, 49 Quick Stop, Kennedy Food Center, and Sullivan Enterprises Inc. To give a tax-deductible donation, contact the center at (601) 266-5222.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM