Hinds County Human Resource Agency Elects New 2017-2018 Policy Council Executive Officers

Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) Project Head Start elected its Policy Council Executive Officers for the 2017-2018 school year.  A program operated by Hinds County Human Resource Agency, Project Head Start is designed to help break the cycle of poverty by providing preschool children of low-income families with a comprehensive program to meet their emotional, social, health, nutritional, and psychological needs.  Kenn Cockrell, president and chief executive officer of HCHRA, carries out the overall day-to-day operations of the Agency and supervises the vice president for Head Start and Early Childhood Programs, who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Head Start Program.  A Board of Directors and Policy Council share governance of the program and believe in governance by “maximum feasible participation” – an idea that was formulated when the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 was enacted and suggests that low-income citizens can best determine what benefits them the most, and should therefore play an active role in the program design and administration of the services within their own community.  Dr. Joeann Williams, a community representative, was elected Chairman of the Policy Council.  Dr. Williams is a retired educator who resides in Jackson.  Dr. Andrea Montgomery, a Jackson resident who is employed with Tougaloo College, was elected Vice Chairman.  Like Dr. Williams, Dr. Montgomery is also a community representative.  Ebony Jenkins Owens, the parent of a Head Start student, was elected Secretary of the Policy Council.  Ms. Owens is employed with Grace & Mercy and resides in Edwards.  Angel Carter, elected Assistant Secretary, is also a Head Start parent.  She is employed with Homeinstead Senior Care and also resides in Edwards.  Gwen Wilks, a Head Start parent and a Mississippi Museum of Arts employee, was elected Member-at-Large.  Ms. Wilks resides in Jackson.

The Head Start program helps qualifying children succeed educationally by providing activities to help them grow mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically.  The education curriculum is formulated within the context of sound early childhood development principals and is designed to educated three- and four-year-olds and prepare them to be developmentally ready to transition into kindergarten.  Classroom environments are arranged to foster social and academic achievement in the eight Head Start domains in order to comply with program objectives. Teaching strategies and individual curriculum objectives are planned and developed by the teaching staff and parents and implemented according to children’s individual needs.  Head Start children socialize with others, solve problems, improve their listening and speaking skills, and have other experiences which help them to become self-confident learners.  Literacy and professional development activities are available for parents of children participating in Head Start.  Parents can receive financial assistance for obtaining GEDs or taking college classes or technical training.   “While education is the principal focus, promoting health and stability in the homes of our Head Start families is just as important,” said Cockrell.  “HCHRA is pleased to have a Policy Council made up of both Head Start parents and representatives from within the community to help ensure that we operate a highly effective program that yields positive results, now and in the future.”

HCHRA Central Office Closing at 2 p.m. on Thursday, January 4, 2018

For health and safety reasons, Hinds County Human Resource Agency’s Central Office will be closing at 2:00 p.m on Thursday, January 4, 2018, due to the loss of water pressure.  If you had an appointment for assistance, we will make every effort to reschedule you within the next few days.  Please call 601.923.3950 to reschedule your appointment.

For your safety, please be advised that the City of Jackson has issued a precautionary boil water notice for its residents.

Continue to check the website for additional updates regarding hours of operation as we work through this temporary inconvenience.

HCHRA Funds Leadership Academy for Teens

JACKSON, MISS. – Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) partnered with Ask for More Jackson, also known as Parents for Public Schools of Jackson, in its summer internship initiative called “Engage, Enlighten, Employ,” also known as E3, which began in 2014.  With funding provided by HCHRA, E3 launched its first leadership academy for high school students who attend Jackson Public Schools.  The E3 Leadership Academy served 30 students who participated in the summer 2017 internship program with E3.

The program was extended into the fall of the school year so students could continue on with the development of their growth mindset for personal success in life, which began in the summer.  Each E3 Leadership Academy participant constructed the “Well-Being Promise” Plan, which emphasizes wellness, leadership, collaboration, communications, and problem-solving skills for career readiness, and overall well-being.  According to Dr. Earl Watkins, a member of the E3 Leadership Academy staff, the problem-solving component is considered the bedrock of the leadership academy, because the interns will use this concept throughout all activities to develop personal goals and empowerment strategies to fulfill their goals as promises they make to themselves to improve their individual lives and their communities, while becoming advocates of their own learning and growth.  “We are grateful for HCHRA’s commitment to the leadership academy and for helping to transition the teens into a new school year and to focus on self-development,” said Watkins.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation provides funding for E3 during the summer via the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson, and HCHRA provided funding for the fall E3 Leadership Academy.  HCHRA is a public, nonprofit community action agency that operates and funds both senior and youth initiatives through its Community Services Block Grant.  “The E3 Leadership Academy perfectly aligns with our goals to provide a stable environment in the home and in the community through education and personal development, and to provide job training and employment assistance,” said Kenn Cockrell, president and CEO of HCHRA.  “As operators of 16 Head Start centers which serve more than 1,900 pre-school-aged children throughout Hinds County, we are very strong proponents of education and development for youth.  We are excited to support the E3 Leadership Academy in its efforts to help teens identify their strengths and prepare for success in life, said Cockrell.  “We hope that through this process, some of the participants will find themselves employed with HCHRA and will use the skills they’ve learned in the leadership academy to help us carry out our mission of helping citizens to overcome poverty and realize their full potential.”

To learn more about HCHRA programs and services, visit www.hchra.org.

Home Energy Assistance Day at Mary C. Jones

Hundreds of Hinds County Head Start parents were assisted during Hinds County Human Resource Agency’s Home Energy Assistance Day hosted at HCHRA’s Mary C. Jones Head Start Center.  Parents received assistance through HCHRA’S LIHEAP program, which is the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program that provides low-income families with assistance in paying their household energy bills.

A collaborative effort between HCHRA’s Department of Community Programs (DCP) and Project Head Start Programs made the event successful. Cornelius Beasley, Assistant Vice President for DCP expounded that they are setting the stage for reaching beyond the Head Start students to reaching toward the parents. “HCHRA is doing more than just educating Head Start students, we are also working to meet the needs of Head Start families holistically,” said Beasley.  “We intend to broaden their outreach and wrap their services around Head Start parents to help them be aware of all of the opportunities offered by the Agency.”

The October event was specifically designed for those parents whose children attend the Mary C. Jones Head Start center at 2050 Martin Luther King Drive in Jackson. Mr. Beasley stated that multiple LIHEAP events are being planned for parents at each of the Head Start center sites throughout the school year. Parents in need of home energy assistance should contact their family service worker at the center.  Center Administrator, Ms. Almeta Roberts added that “while education is our primary focus, promoting health and stability in the homes of our Head Start families is just as important.”  More information about the HCHRA community programs and services can be found at www.hchra.org or call 601.923.3950.

Still Doing Our Part

Hinds County Human Resource Agency’s Head Start In-Service Training held on October 9, 2017 at the Jackson Convention Complex, led to another informative and engaging learning source for the staff of HCHRA. Professionalism, Accountability, Responsibility and Teamwork is what the acronym stands for in the theme “Together: Let’s Do Our PART”.

Workshop sessions included subjects on School Readiness, Digging Deeper: Looking Beyond Behaviors to Discover Meaning, Fair Labor Standards Act, and A Comprehensive Overview of the 2017 OHS Monitoring Protocol Process. Family and Community Services shared topics on An Overview of Community Action, Virtual ROMA, and Doing What Works – Performance Targeting. Early Head Start offered topics on Routines and Environment, Emotional Support & Self-Regulation, Facilitated Exploration and Exploration & Language Modeling.  There was also a session on CPR and Standard First Aid and Safety Training.







Hinds County Human Resource Agency’s Quality Assurance Specialists, Kynetta Shinard and Verlillian Williams attended the In-Service workshops and gained valuable insight and knowledge they say they can readily apply during their monitoring assessments for each of the Head Start centers. Shinard was impressed with knowledge she acquired in the Family and Community Service session.   “I  learned what Community Action Agencies are, I received a better understanding of the utilization of virtual ROMA and I developed a better understanding of CSBG (Community Service Block Grant)”, said Ms. Shinard.

Ms. Williams added, “The teacher sensitivity portion of the Emotional Support & Self-Regulation session really engaged me. We learned how to recognize and use natural instincts to provide comfort and support to babies, and gained a greater understanding of how infants and toddlers communicate at a very early age.” Ms. Williams also learned a new acronym from the Emotional Support & Self-Regulation session concerning teacher sensitivity and it is “H.E.L.L.O.”

is to have a conversation

E  is to extend into thick questions

L  is to listen and ask questions

is to listen and expand

O  is to (always) offer new words

In-Service learning sessions continued on November 20, 2017 as HCHRA staff once again convened at the Convention Center.  Various topics in the November training from Children’s Services included Classroom Management for Head Start Classrooms, Breaking the CLASS Ceiling: Maximizing Outcomes in Instructional Support, Fun with Phonics, and FY 2018 Head Start Monitoring Protocols.  Facilities and Field Services sessions focused on Basic Hand Tools, Environmental Health and Safety Practices, and Maintaining a Clean and Safe Environment.  Family and Community Services encompassed COPA Training – Eligibility, Recruitment, Selection, Enrollment and Attendance Procedures (ERSEA), Family Goal Setting and Planning, and Virtual ROMA.  Nutrition Services offered sessions on Foodborne Illnesses, Cross Contamination, and Civil Rights.  Transportation Services workshops included topics on Defensive Driving, How Transportation Staff Promotes School Readiness through Effective Communication, and Bridging the Gap in Transportation Safety in Schools.  CPR and Standard First Aid and Safety Training was again offered as part of the In-Service workshop sessions.

In addition to training offered each month, Hinds County Human Resource Agency offers a minimum of one pre-service and four in-service training session for Head Start staff each school year.  This is part of the Agency’s ongoing commitment to ensure that staff is properly trained, and equipped with the knowledge and tools to provide the best possible environment for children and families who are a part of the Head Start program with HCHRA.


HCHRA Participates in Career Fair at Antonelli College


Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) recently participated in a career fair hosted by Antonelli College.  HCHRA spoke with over 50 applicants and career seekers and received 29 applications and resumes combined.  HCHRA also spoke to representatives of the Professional Development Institute of Antonelli College on how their graduates can become HCHRA employees.  The Professional Development Institute assists students with job placement, interview skills, resume building, impromptu interviews and business etiquette.

Hinds County Human Resource Agency is a public, nonprofit Community Action Agency that has been in business for over 40 years and employs close to 400 individuals.  HCHRA President and CEO Kenn Cockrell attributes the agency’s long-term success to hiring capable and dedicated employees.  “We are always looking to employ a diverse group of individuals with various talents and experiences to provide quality services for the community we serve,” said Cockrell.  “Without them, HCHRA would not exist.”  HCHRA is currently looking to fill vacancies for teachers, teacher assistants, case managers, infant and toddler teachers, transit drivers and coordinators, family services workers, center administrators, and special project officers.

Ms. Carolyn Upkins, HCHRA Personnel Specialist, stated, “There was great potential among the Antonelli graduates that submitted applications for classroom positions.  We’re optimistic about employing some of them to fill key vacancies.”  The City of Jackson Police Department, Allstate Insurance Company, Army National Reserve, BankPlus, UMC, Regions Bank, Waffle House, Dr. Quinn Health Care, Massage Envy Spa, Personal Care Representatives, and several state departments also participated in the career fair.

For a complete list of job opportunities available at HCHRA, visit www.hchra.org/employment.

More Than a Night of Entertainment – HCHRA’s 2017 Awards & Recognition Gala

More than a night of food and dancing.  More than a night of speaking and awards. More than a night of black-tie elegance and entertainment.  Hinds County Human Resource Agency’s 23rd Annual Awards and Recognition Gala held on Friday, September 29, 2017 at the Jackson Marriott Hotel, was much, much, more.

Why? Because it involved the community.  ‘Helping families, strengthening communities’ is the cornerstone of  Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA), and helping Hinds County advance continues to be one of HCHRA’s main goals. Caring about the citizens and providing life-changing opportunities through the services HCHRA offers is what made the Gala more…much, much, more.  It is HCHRA’s annual signature event, which helps to provide critical matching funds for several services such as home-delivered meals, congregate meal sites, and Hinds County rural public transportation.  This year’s gala was especially significant, as it was also part of the Agency’s 40th year anniversary celebrations being held throughout the year.

The keynote address was provided by Ms. Denise Harlow, CEO of the National Community Action Partnership in Washington, D.C.  Harlow encouraged the Agency to keep its feet to the mission of helping families and strengthening communities, as she continues to champion the work and impact of the nation’s Community Action Agencies around the country.

Dr. Jessie Primer III, Saxophonist, provided superb entertainment that was as excellent as the great food served up by the Marriott as everyone shared in the festive night.  Yet, it was even more than that.  The Gala provided an opportunity to create awareness about its programs and services; to celebrate clients who transitioned out of poverty to self-sufficiency; and to honor volunteers and community partners who worked with the Agency throughout the year to help eradicate poverty and provide a better life for more than 65,000 low-income citizens throughout Hinds County.

It was more, because it involved HCHRA sponsors.  HCHRA President and CEO Kenn Cockrell remarks, “If not for the unwavering support of sponsors to help HCHRA empower disadvantaged Hinds County citizens to become self-reliant and realize their full potential, the task would be insurmountable.”  The 2017 Gala was made possible by BankPlus (Platinum Sponsor); Mississippi Group Marketing, PA and The Mississippi Link (Gold Sponsors); Kenn Cockrell & Family, along with C Spire (Silver Sponsors); Entergy, HCHRA Board of Directors, Jackson Advocate, Patty Peck Honda, Phelps Dunbar, and Watkins, Ward & Stafford, PLLC (Bronze Sponsors); and valued friends, Atmos Energy, M3A Architecture, PLLC, Vera Butler and Chelsea Luster, Mississippi Development Authority, HCHRA Advisory Committee, Walker & Son, Jackson Memorial Funeral Service, WEM Consulting Group, WWISCAA, and David Knight & Natasha Phillips, D.O.  Contributions made this year will go towards expanding programs and services in the upcoming year.  “Having strong corporate and community partners who are committed to the Agency’s efforts has made a tremendous difference in the lives of the children and families HCHRA serves.  We thank them for believing in the work we do,” said Cockrell.

It was more, because it involved HCHRA donors. Donor generosity was undeniably at the top of the charts! From must-haves to essentials, from dining to on-the-go, from dressing up to a night out, as well as remarkable artwork, generous donations in support of the HCHRA Awards & Recognition Gala’s silent auction, its first ever, helped to make the evening a grand affair.  Silent auction items included everything from tickets to Walt Disney World, to gift cards at local restaurants.  HCHRA thanks Office Products Plus, Penn’s, McAlister’s Deli, The Fairview Inn, Almeta Roberts, IP Casino Resort & Spa, Caesars Entertainment/Horseshoe Tunica Hotel & Casino, Kats Wine & Spirits, Walmart (Flowood), C Spire, MS Products, Inc., Staffers, TempStaff, M3A Architecture, PLLC, R.J. Young, Elkins Wholesale, Kendra Scott, Andrea Little, Marriott (Jackson), Hilton Garden Inn Jackson/Downtown, Heartwood, Aundrayeah Ramsey, Vera Butler, Jimmy Mumford, Kwame Braxton, Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, Venture Technologies, Walt Disney World Company, Jessica Davis, and Jackson Data Products for their support.

It was more, because it involved HCHRA staff and volunteers. It is the mission of HCHRA to empower disadvantaged Hinds County citizens to become self-reliant and realize their full potential.  HCHRA employs nearly 400 people to carry out its mission.  In addition to the work performed by staff, last year, volunteers donated 678,592 hours to support the work of HCHRA.  “HCHRA has a very talented and dedicated group of staff members and volunteers,” said Cockrell.  “It is because of their untiring work ethic, commitment and support to advance the community that the Agency has successfully operated for forty continuous years.”

HCHRA’s 23rd Annual Awards & Recognition Gala was more than just a night of food and dance, or speaking and awards; it was much, much, more – it was to honor the work HCHRA has done over the past 40 years to make Hinds County a more prosperous community in which we are all afforded access and opportunities to education, employment, health, and safety.

To all of our staff, volunteers, friends and supporters who contributed in any way, HCHRA thanks you.

Each year, HCHRA honors individuals and organizations who help to further the mission of HCHRA, as well as those who work to help families and strengthen communities throughout Hinds County.

The following is a list of the 2017 awards and their recipients:


Presented to individual(s) whose work in and for the community during the year most closely personified the noble legacy of Medgar Wiley Evers.

  • Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center

Presented to the individual, organization or community group that has made the greatest contribution to the community during the year.


  • Alexis Harvey (posthumously)
  • Former Executive Directors of HCHRA/Community Service Association – among those honored were:
  • Benjamin Bradley
  • Rudolph Jackson
  • Charles Jones

Presented to the individual or institution that has generated or provided substantial monetary and other resources during the year.

  • BankPlus
  • DeJohn Hampton

Presented to the individual who has been the solid rock of support for the Agency because of his/her steady guidance and leadership during the year.

  • Ann Burton
  • David Knight
  • Chelsea Luster

Presented to the agencies, organizations or individuals that have contributed tremendous support to the Agency during the year.

  • Hinds County Board of Supervisors
  • Tina Ruffin, Division of Community Services, Mississippi Department of Human Services

Presented to individuals who unselfishly contributed their time and resources to the Agency in order to make a difference in the lives of the children and families served during the year.

  • Angela Burleigh
  • Wayne Goodwin
  • Gloria Green, Esq.
  • Nicole Martin
  • Cedric Morgan
  • Dr. Joeann Williams

Presented to the individual within Hinds County Human Resource Agency (Board, Policy Council or staff) who has served people and has met the mission of the Agency during the year.

  • Laura Patterson & Eulander Kendrick Head Start Center
  • Almeta Roberts & Mary C. Jones Head Start Center
  • Dr. LaTessa Long
  • Angelique Rawls

Presented by the President and CEO to the individual who has made outstanding contributions to the success of the Agency.

  •  Kathleen Williams-McGriggs

It’s Here! The 23rd Annual Awards & Recognition Gala – Friday, September 29, 2017

At Hinds County Human Resource Agency, our goal is to help families and strengthen communities.

The Annual Awards and Recognition Gala is Hinds County Human Resource Agency’s annual signature development event, which helps to provide critical matching funds for several services such as home-delivered meals, congregate meal sites, and Hinds County rural public transportation.

The featured keynote speaker for this year’s Gala will be Denise Harlow, Chief Executive Officer of the Community Action Partnership in Washington, DC.  Enjoy dinner, live music and dancing, entertainment, and a fabulous silent auction.  Cash and credit cards accepted.  Tickets are $75.

The Gala provides an important opportunity to create awareness about our programs and services; to celebrate our clients who have transitioned out of poverty to self-sufficiency; and to honor our volunteers and community partners who work with us throughout the year to help eradicate poverty and provide a better life for more than 65,000 low-income citizens throughout Hinds County.

Our programs and services would not be available without the invaluable support of our community and corporate partners.  With your gift, we can do more!

To make a donation or for more information on tickets, ads, and sponsorships, call 601-923-1838.

A Smashing Senior Awards Day!

“I don’t like instant grits!” were the words that bolted out of the mouth of anchorwoman Maggie Wade of WLBT News as she spoke to a lively crowd of about 45 seniors during the Senior Awards Day program held on July 12, 2017 at Mt. Wade Baptist Church in Terry, Mississippi.  “I’ve learned to laugh at myself.  I’ve learned to stay humble.  I’ve learned patience.  And I’ve learned to forgive and let it go.  When you get older, people think you are less useful.  Give our youth the right example.  You are still equipped to use the wisdom you have to reach out to the kids of today,” Ms. Wade continued.  She encouraged the seniors and let them know that there are things left for them to do.

The Senior Awards Day was an appreciation event hosted by Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) for seniors in the Hinds County area.  Rural area sites convened together at Mt. Wade not only for opportunities to socialize, but to present awards for the Funniest Senior, the Best Dressed and the Senior of the Year.  To some, receiving an award was a very pleasant surprise.  HCHRA Neighborhood Service Center site managers who organized the awards program were Emma Welch – Mt. Wade Neighborhood Service Center site manager, Vivian Johnson – Edwards Neighborhood Service Center site manager, and Towanda Anderson – Fannie Jackson Neighborhood Service Center site manager.

Cornelius Beasley, assistant vice president of Community Programs and Services, states the purpose of the awards event was to show appreciation for our seniors in the Hinds County area and to create greater awareness about the programs and services HCHRA has available for seniors, especially in the rural parts of the county.  “We hope that seniors will see what we’re doing and realize they have a place to go to during the week to socialize, enjoy hot meals, and participate in fun, safe activities,” said Beasley.  HCHRA Neighborhood Service Centers are open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Last year, HCHRA served more than 5,700 congregate meals to senior citizens at gathering sites throughout Hinds County where seniors met and participated in social activities.  The Congregate Meals Program is funded by the Mississippi Department of Human Services Division of Aging and Adult Services through the Central Mississippi Area Agency on Aging.  For more information about senior services and activities offered by HCHRA, call (601) 923-3930 or click here.

Mt. Wade Neighborhood Service Center Awards

Fannie Jackson Neighborhood Service Center Awards

Edwards Neighborhood Service Center Awards