HCHRA Agency Managers Complete PML Program

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hinds County Human Resource Agency is pleased to recognize Vice President of Planning & Development Roger Lutrell, Vice President of the Department of Family Opportunities Ms. Shiandra Luckett, and Assistant Vice President of the Department of Family Opportunities Cornelius Beasley for successfully completing the spring session of the Public Management and Leadership (PML) Program at Jackson State University’s Institute of Government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The PML program is designed for managers with a critical role in frameworks of public service organizations, government finance, human resource management, government structure, leadership and public management, to name a few. During the 15-week program, participants engaged in in-depth discussions and received intense instruction from an esteemed panel of instructors including former mayors, state personnel board directors, college administrators, and advisors from the Governor’s office.  “The session was packed with great information, professional discussion, and grounded in best practices and high ethical standards,” stated Ms. Luckett.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The PML program sessions equipped HCHRA leaders Lutrell, Luckett and Beasley to become better prepared to help ensure the success of the agency and its employees, as well as its goal to continue helping families and strengthening communities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about our leadership team or our programs and services, please visit www.hchra.org.

HCHRA Head Start Celebrates the Week of the Young Child

The Week of the Young Child was no small feat for the little learners at Hinds County Human Resource Agency Head Start centers. From April 16 to April 20, 2018, teachers, staff, students and parents participated in the week-long, fun-filled activities.  All centers focused on a specific activity for each day of the week.

On Music and Movement Monday, students at the Welcome Head Start Center marchedto the beat with a “parade” of various instruments which they gleefully pounded, clanged, and shook. 
Welcome Center Administrator Shakrita Fields stated, “I love it!  It’s a new, creative idea and the children enjoy it a lot.”

Tasty Tuesday took the taste buds of Oak Forest Head Start Center students to a whole new “fruity” level.  Before making their fruit salads, students were taught where fruit comes from, how it’s transported and where it goes (grocery store), and how to combine the items to make a fruit salad.  Students were introduced to several fruits such as kiwi, strawberries, bananas, apples, and oranges.  Using plastic utensils, students cut up pieces of each fruit to place in paper bowls, were provided a fruit dressing and truly delighted in their fruit salads.  Dee-li-cious! 

 

Health and Wellness Wednesday provided the students at Gertrude Ellis Head Start Center with plenty of activities. Staff member Chelsea Robinson stated, “Kids went outside and participated in move to learn exercises.”  Later, inside the classroom, students received guidance in “brushing up” to keep their healthy smiles clean.

Nothing would beat a colorful day like Tie Dye Thursday.  Tons of children gathered outside at St. Thomas Head Start Center to paint the day away.  All hands were on deck for sponge, finger and brush painting. Blank white “canvases” were hung on fences and students created their colorful masterpieces to display.

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Fun-tastic Family Friday at Midtown Head Start Center gave families and students a great avenue to spend time together and play outdoors.  Dads and daughters, moms and sons had fun swinging, hula-hooping, playing basketball, jumping rope, climbing and sliding.  Great memories were created for each family and their children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration hosted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children that celebrates early learning, young children, their teachers and families. HCHRA Head Start students and center staff participate each year.

For more information about Head Start and other programs and services, visit www.hchra.org.

HCHRA Extravaganza! Friday – June 8, 2018

Are you looking for a job? Do you need to enroll your child in Head Start for the upcoming school year?  We’ve got good news for you!

Hinds County Human Resource Agency will host a Head Start Recruitment and Job Fair Extravaganza on Friday, June 8th from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If your child is at least 3 years old, but not 5 by September 1st, you can apply for enrollment at one of 16 Head Start centers located in Hinds County for the 2018-19 school year.  To apply, bring proof of income, child’s age, and Hinds County residency.  Children with disabilities are given priority for enrollment regardless of family income.

Not only is June 8th Head Start recruitment day, there will also be a job fair to fill several positions before the new school year begins.  Click here for a complete list of job openings.

Come to Head Start Recruitment and Job Fair Day and make plans to stay for lunch.  Hot fish plates will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for only $10.

Spring Break: Not Just for Fun

Spring break for college teens is usually one filled with vacations and down time from a semester of projects and homework.  But for the college students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), an “alternative” spring break was planned.  They decided to travel 493 miles to spend the week in Jackson, Mississippi giving up their spring break to volunteer their services around the city.  One of their stops was the Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA).

Amanda Kuipers, a UTK Child and Family Studies, Pre K-3 student, was the team leader for the group of 14 community volunteers that came to Jackson the week of March 12, 2018 to donate their time to Hinds County Human Resource Agency’s Meals on Wheels Program and the Little Bethel Neighborhood Service Center Congregate Site in Terry, Mississippi.  Kuipers states, “Each year, our Center for Leadership and Service Program chooses a theme in which we are to participate during the week of spring break, but the location is not revealed to the students until they are on the bus so that students don’t choose a trip based solely on location.  Though some students focus on one organization during the entire spring break week, we chose to service different locations each day.  All the trips in this program are student led, but we do get advice from our directors.”  This year’s theme was “Food Insecurity in Public Health.”

The UTK students were instructed to complete an online search for areas within an 8-hour distance pertaining to the theme and saw that Jackson, Mississippi was one of the locations.  From there, they queried local agencies in the Jackson area that focused on the theme.  HCHRA was one of the agencies they chose to volunteer with during their alternative spring break.

For the period of their visit, the volunteers split into two groups. One group of seven volunteers went to Meals on Wheels with HCHRA Planning & Development Officer and Volunteer Coordinator Jessica Davis, while the other group of seven went to Little Bethel’s congregate site with HCHRA Communications Specialist Carlene J. Parker.  Both groups of volunteers spent time visiting and talking with the elderly at their respective homes or site while servicing their needs.  Meals on Wheels volunteers greeted the seniors with a hearty smile and open heart as they delivered the meals to their homes.  Volunteers who visited Little Bethel, read to the seniors, listened to their daily devotional and then served them their meals.  The seniors also engaged the volunteers as they shared some of their life experiences and healthy wisdom.

As students rode from the Little Bethel site, volunteer Madelyn Weas, a UTK Chemical Engineering student commented, “It was good to be able to sit and talk with them and get to know them a little instead of just handing them a meal.” Other volunteers from the UTK included Mustafa Salameh, Katie Shannon, Thomas Hyde, Jared Smith and Emily Joyner.

Designed to promote the general health and well-being of older individuals, HCHRA’s Congregate Meals program provides seniors with a hot “sit-down” style meal at gathering sites throughout Hinds County. This service is intended to reduce hunger and food insecurity, promote socialization, and delay the onset of adverse health conditions.  In addition to serving healthy meals and providing opportunities for social engagement, the program gives seniors information on healthy aging and meaningful volunteer roles.  HCHRA’s Home Delivered Meal program delivers five nutritious, well-balanced and easy-to-prepare meals each week to elderly citizens and to people with disabilities who reside in rural Hinds County that are unable to leave home without assistance.  To learn more about HCHRA and its programs and services, visit www.hchra.org.

Project SOAR! HCHRA’s Biggest Community Event Ever

Tuesday, March 6, 2018, marked a stellar day for the Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA), which hosted a massive community outreach event called Project SOAR – a Services, Opportunities, Assistance and Resources Fair – held at New Horizon Event Center in Jackson, Mississippi.  Approximately 400 people attended the fair and received a wealth of information on education, finance, health, safety, social and legal services from dozens of speakers and exhibitors.  Through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), HCHRA provided energy assistance to 172 Hinds County residents, on the spot.

HCHRA, the only community action agency in Hinds County, Mississippi, administers LIHEAP for the entire county.  LIHEAP is a federal grant that offers assistance to help low-income families pay their energy bills for heating or cooling their homes, and offers additional help in cases of energy crisis, such as utility shutoffs for households in immediate danger of being without heating or cooling.  “One of HCHRA’s primary goals for Project SOAR was to promote awareness about LIHEAP and to make it available to anyone in need who met the qualifications for the program,” said Kenn Cockrell, president and CEO of HCHRA.  “The assistance provided through LIHEAP creates some relief from the financial strain low-income families experience and helps to create greater stability in the home.  Receiving payment assistance on energy bills, means that families will have more income available to address other household responsibilities.”

Typically, anyone interested in receiving LIHEAP services would have to schedule an appointment to meet with a case manager to apply for assistance.  According to HCHRA, the need is so great, appointments are now being scheduled three to six weeks out.  During Project SOAR, no appointment was needed.  HCHRA had 20 case managers onsite to meet with clients one-on-one to determine eligibility and provide immediate relief.

Over the years, HCHRA has organized various events in the communities it serves.  Project SOAR, however, was the agency’s largest community outreach event to date.  In addition to providing direct services, HCHRA invited a diverse group of corporate and community partners to conduct informative talks and offer valuable resources.  Health screenings were provided by volunteers from the University of Mississippi Medical Center.  BankPlus, a corporate partner, conducted a community forum on financial management.  Sam Buchanan, executive director of the Mississippi Center for Legal Services Corporation, conducted a forum and set up an exhibitor booth to offer free civil legal assistance on foreclosures, school loans, deeds and trusts to eligible attendees.  Some of the other forums provided information on voter registration, child safety, disease management and support for families and individuals living with mental illness.  HCHRA had staff on hand to provide information about Head Start, its preschool education program which serves children ages 0 to 5 and offers a variety of health and social support services for its students and their families.  They also provided attendees with information on their senior programs, home delivered meals, adult education, rental assistance, transportation, and emergency services programs.  AARP served as an exhibitor and shared information on the AARP Foundation’s Fresh Savings, a healthy-food incentive program which also has a nutrition education component.  Erin Smith of the AARP Foundation stated, “This is a wonderful event. We thank the agency for letting us be a part of the fair.”

“Project SOAR was a community resource fair created to address many of the barriers households in poverty face: from day-to-day crises to long-term need for jobs and education.  The agency plans to make it an annual event,” said Cockrell.

If you are in need of assistance but you were unable to attend Project SOAR, call HCHRA at (601) 962-5935 to schedule an appointment with a case manager to discuss opportunities.  You can also visit www.hchra.org to learn more about HCHRA and its programs and services.

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.