The Institute for Disability Studies at The University of Southern
Mississippi and the Hattiesburg Mayor’s Council for Early
Learning Opportunities proudly announce the opening of the Families
First and Early Learning Opportunities Center at 622 Corinne St.
in Hattiesburg. The goal of the center is to boost community pride
and empower families to ensure that the children of Hattiesburg
have a healthy start and access to early learning opportunities.
The center will promote early childhood literacy, school readiness,
positive parenting and school success for children and youth.
The center provides parent training sessions
to promote positive parenting with some sessions devoted just to
fathers; developmental assessments; developmental appropriate toys
for checkout, including adapted toys for children with disabilities;
materials for parents to check out; after-school tutoring for the
children of Hattiesburg; and parent-child play groups. The services
provided ultimately prepare children for school and life.
The center will be open Monday through Friday
from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. with some evening hours until 7 p.m. for
tutoring and parenting sessions. There are no charges for the services
provided at the center.
During the week of Oct. 24, there will be several
events to mark the opening of the center. On Monday, Oct. 24 at
10 a.m., there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Johnny
DuPree and Dr. Jane Siders, director of the Institute for Disability
Studies. On Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 26 and 27 from 10 a.m.
until 2 p.m., developmental screenings will be offered for children
between the ages of birth and 5 years. On Friday, Oct. 28, After-School
Snack time is set from 2:30 until 5 p.m. Parents and children are
invited to come and see what is available at the center and to enjoy
a healthy after-school snack.
The center is sponsored by two projects (Families
First and Project S.E.E.D.) of the Institute for Disability Studies
(IDS) at The University of Southern Mississippi. Families First
is funded by the Mississippi State Department of Human Services
(Grant # 525D341). Project S.E.E.D., a collaborative initiative
between the Hattiesburg Mayor’s Council for Early Learning
Opportunities and IDS, is funded by the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services, Administration on Children and Families (Grant
# 90L00134/01). For more information, visit IDS on the Web at www.usm.edu/ids,
or call the center at (601) 583-2795.