October 21, 2014  

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Children's Center Enters Partnership with School Districts

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The Children’s Center for Communication and Development at The University of Southern Mississippi will provide training to personnel in four Mississippi school districts as part of a new partnership that targets special-needs children.

The Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation, Rotary Club of Poplarville and Safe Harbor Programs joined with Southern Miss to create the Safe Harbor School District: Training and Modeling Project. Funding for the project totals $145,847.

Staff from the Children’s Center will oversee the necessary training regimen for representatives in the Bay/Waveland, Pearl River County, Picayune and Poplarville school districts. The Children’s Center for Communication and Development is a statewide early intervention school for children with disabilities. It serves children from infancy to age 5 and their families.

“This grant will give the Children’s Center the opportunity to serve more children with special needs, to share our technology with the school districts and provide them with equipment and opportunities to enhance their programming,” said Margaret Buttross-Brinegar, center director. “We are so grateful to the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation, Rotary Club and Safe Harbor Programs for supporting this unique partnership.”

The Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation contributed $45,000 to the project, with Southern Miss providing $40,847 in in-kind support and the Rotary Club and Safe Harbor Programs donating $30,000 each.

With the assistance of the Children’s Center at USM and the partnership created by Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation, the school districts and the Rotary Club of Poplarville, we look forward to meeting some very special needs of children and families in South Mississippi,” said Dr. Ted Alexander, chief executive officer of the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation.

Since its inception in 1974, the Children’s Center has not only served special-needs children but also as a training lab for future teachers. Between 2006 and 2009, the center provided direct services to 18 students and their families from one of the four Safe Harbor school districts along with referral and resource services to 25 families and outreach training for six teachers. Those teachers, in turn, served 180 children.

A $145,847 grant agreement among the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation, The University of Southern Mississippi, the Rotary Club of Poplarville and Safe Harbor programs will enhance services for special needs children in Hancock and Pearl River counties. Dr. Ted Alexander, center, executive director of the foundation, presents a check for $45,000 to Margaret Buttross-Brinegar, director of the Children’s Center for Communication and Development at Southern Miss.