HATTIESBURG – The
University of Southern Mississippi and the city of Hattiesburg are
joining forces in a project to provide at-risk children in the area
the skills they need to succeed in school.
Project SEED (Systematic Efforts for Enhanced Development)
will serve young at-risk children ages birth through 5, their parents,
caregivers, child care providers and educators. The project will
be funded by a 17-month, $800,000 grant that was secured from the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on
Children and Families.
"The primary purpose of Project SEED is to enhance
the developmental outcomes and school readiness skillsof young at-risk
children," Dr. Jane Siders, director of IDS.
Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree has appointed a local
council to provide the leadership for community networking to increase
the availability of quality child care for this population of children,
with the Southern Miss IDS designated as the fiscal and programmatic
agent to work on behalf of the council.
"The city of Hattiesburg is delighted to work
with (Southern Miss) on this project," DuPree said. "We're
always open to opportunities to participate in programs that are
beneficial to the youth of Hattiesburg, especially those considered
Project objectives will focus on three allowable early
learning activities, including enhancing early childhood literacy;
helping parents, caregivers, child care providers and educators
increase their capacity to facilitate the development of cognitive,
language, social/emotional and motor skills and promote learning
readiness; and increasing access to early learning opportunities
for young children with special needs including developmental delays
by facilitating coordination with other programs serving this population.
Project SEED coordinators will place special emphasis
on increasing access to child care and related health care and social
services for this population of children to give them the opportunity
to acquire developmental, pre-academic and literacy skills necessary
for academic achievement.
For more information on Project SEED, contact the
Southern Miss IDS at (601) 266-5163.