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Released March 28, 2005

SOUTHERN MISS, HATTIESBURG JOIN FORCES
TO IMPLEMENT PROJECT "SEED"

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 at risk."

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.

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April 14, 2005 12:01 PM