Shop on AmazonSmile. Get Low Prices. Benefit HCHRA.

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The Christmas holiday season is the busiest shopping time of the year. Visit AmazonSmile at https://smile.amazon.com and enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices and convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com, while making a contribution to Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA).

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon.  The difference is when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to HCHRA.  Before you make that next purchase on Amazon, please go to AmazonSmile at smile.amazon.com and select HCHRA as your charitable organization of choice.  Every donation we receive helps us to do more for the families and communities we serve.

If you’ve shopped on Amazon before, log in with your usual sign-in info.  If you’re new to Amazon, create an account and begin enjoying the savings while making a tremendous difference in the lives of others. Anytime you and your friends or family members shop on Amazon throughout the year, be sure to log on to AmazonSmile in support of HCHRA.

Happy shopping!

For more information about HCHRA and its programs and services, click here.

For more information on AmazonSmile, visit smile.amazon.com.

HCHRA Makes $30,000 Investment in Community Landmark

Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) recently invested $30,000 in the replacement of the roof at the Edwards Neighborhood Service Center.

Formerly the Edwards Attendance Center, the Edwards Neighborhood Service Center is a well-known landmark that now serves as the home for HCHRA’s Congregate Meals Program in Edwards, Mississippi.  Seniors from throughout the community come to the center each weekday to enjoy a hot, nutritious, “sit-down” style fellowship lunch with their peers.

Due to the normal and usual exposure to the elements and the impact of father time, the 50-year-old building began to experience roof leaks that were beyond repair.  Given the importance of the Congregate Meals Program to the livelihood and wellness of the area seniors, HCHRA dug deep and made a huge financial commitment to replace the roof to ensure that the center remained open.  “Every program we operate is vital, but our senior programs are among the most important,” said Kenn Cockrell, president and chief executive officer of HCHRA.  “Seniors are extremely vulnerable. Without the meals and socialization opportunities provided at our congregate sites, many of them would live in isolation and suffer from malnutrition and undetected health risks.  Although there’s no type of reimbursement funding available for the $30,000 we spent on the roof replacement, there was never a question about whether it should be done.  The safety and well-being of the seniors was and is our number one priority.”

HCHRA also operates Head Start and Early Head Start programs on the same campus as the Congregate Meals Program in Edwards.  While the roof replacement is underway, seniors gather in a portion of the Head Start center’s cafeteria to partake in their meals, education seminars, and socialization activities.  The temporary move has not dampened the mood nor the activities that the site manager, Vivian Johnson, and her seniors enjoy.  Seniors from the surrounding areas continue to congregate and revel in a sense of independence and meaningful interaction, which contribute significantly to their health and happiness.

Cockrell explained that HCHRA is always exploring opportunities to strengthen its community presence and enhance the services it provides.  Though plans have not been finalized, the Agency is looking at turning the Edwards Neighborhood Service Center into one of its full-service locations where, in addition to providing the Congregate Meals Program and other senior services, area residents can also receive utility payment, rental, tuition, and employment assistance.

The Edwards Neighborhood Service Center is one of three sites in Hinds County at which HCHRA offers the Congregate Meals Programs.  The other sites are the Little Bethel Neighborhood Service Center and the Mt. Wade Congregate Site, both located in Terry.  To participate, seniors must be 60 years of age or older and reside in Edwards, Terry, Raymond, Utica or Bolton. Transportation for all participants is provided by HCHRA.  Funding for the Congregate Meals Program is provided by the Mississippi Department of Human Services Division of Aging and Adult Services through the Central Mississippi Area Agency on Aging.  For more information or to sign up, call (601) 923-3930.

 

HCHRA Head Start Posts Exceptional Gains in Literacy for 2017-2018

As three- and four-year-old students begin to return to Head Start classrooms for the new school year, HCHRA teachers are beaming with pride from last year’s results. According to newly released HCHRA data from the 2017-18 Head Start school year, HCHRA students showed a 19% gain in Star Literacy test scores.

Star Literacy scores represent how well a student understands concepts and possesses specific skills that are important in the development of reading. These scores represent a snapshot of where the student currently stands as it relates to literacy.

At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, data showed that HCHRA had an average student score of 400.  A score of 300-487 places a child as an Early Emergent Reader.  Students in this category are beginning to understand that reading involves printed words and sentences, and that print flows from left to right and from top to bottom of the page. They are also beginning to identify colors, shapes, numbers and letters.

To ensure that each student was ready for kindergarten, HCHRA’s Head Start Program developed the “Early Literacy Race to 500” campaign. The goal of “Race to 500” was to ensure that HCHRA students transition from Early Emergent Reader to Late Emergent Reader.  Late Emergent Readers score 488-674. Students in this category identify most of the letters of the alphabet and can match most of the letters to their sounds. Students are also beginning to read picture books and familiar words around the home.

By the end of the school year, test results showed that HCHRA reached an average score of 476 among all four-year-old students tested.  “While short of our goal, I am proud to say that our Head Start staff delivered high-quality instruction and provided an excellent learning environment to ensure we saw exceptional gains in our students,” says Kenn Cockrell, president and CEO of HCHRA.  “We had multiple centers to surpass the 500 mark, and a few students even scored over 800 – a remarkable accomplishment.”

The gains came a year after HCHRA made curriculum changes and implemented evaluations that were better aligned with their curriculum. HCHRA also recognizes parents as the child’s first and best teacher.  To reinforce the learning that takes place in the classroom, HCHRA provides parents with at-home activities they can practice with their children to help them strengthen literacy skills until they return to the classroom.

Just last year, all Head Start programs across the state were wrongfully categorized as not having positive results in early literacy.  “When you group all students together, without considering income or opportunity, data is not properly analyzed, inaccurate generalizations are espoused, and programs are not fairly evaluated apart from the others,” said Cockrell.

Cockrell went on to explain that the teachers and staff at HCHRA are held to a high standard of accountability, which often surpasses federal requirements.  “In addition to ensuring that our education tools and methods produce results, we utilize measurement systems that ensure accountability and clearly communicate results to funders, community members and leaders throughout Hinds County.”

HCHRA operates 16 Head Start centers and satellite locations throughout Hinds County and has successfully run the Head Start program for more than 41 years.

Head Start Parents Are Invited to Open House – Tuesday, August 7th

Welcome Head Start Parents and thank you for entrusting HCHRA Project Head Start to jump-start your child’s education.

We invite you to attend Open House at your child’s Head Start center on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, anytime from 10:00 a.m. up until 7:00 p.m.  This is a great time to meet your child’s teacher, visit their classroom, and tour the center.  It will also give you an opportunity to ask any questions you might have.

If you need assistance before the Open House, call (601) 923-3940.  We look forward to meeting you.

We’re Moving up to Kindergarten!

As the 2017-2018 school year came to a close, Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) Project Head Start celebrated Class Day programs at each of its Head Start centers during the month of May.  After a year of structured learning that follows the Teaching Strategies GOLD curriculum, 849 four-year-old students transitioned from preschool to kindergarten, ready to go to the next level.  “In the education department, school readiness is our focus from day one,” said Dr. LaTessa Long, director of Children’s Services. “The curriculum used in our Head Start classrooms align with the Mississippi Curriculum Framework, which outlines the objectives children should master by certain ages, as prescribed by the Mississippi Department of Education.  For preschoolers, that’s making sure they’re prepared to succeed in school the first day they enter a kindergarten classroom.

At HCHRA’s Midtown Head Start Center Class Day program, the students demonstrated through songs and recitations, accompanied by music and movement, that they had mastered key learning objectives such as knowing numbers, the alphabet, colors and shapes.  Midtown Center Administrator Charlotte Johnson gave 46 elated Head Start students a hearty handshake as she handed them their certificates of completion, signaling their readiness to move from preschool to “big” school.  Parents stood proudly to capture pictures of this important milestone, never to relive this moment again, except for the memories captured in photos.

“We are proud to witness the progress of our Head Start students as they move from one level of learning and growing to the next,” said HCHRA President and CEO Kenn Cockrell.  “Our goal is to equip them with the academic and social skills they need in order to master kindergarten and be successful in life.  To do that, we utilize the best education tools available, as well as provide opportunities to promote the overall well-being of our children and their families in their homes, outside of the classroom.”

Hinds County Human Resource Agency Project Head Start offers educational services for children three to five years of age.  It is designed to encourage healthy development of young children through its wide range of services at 12 Head Start centers and 2 satellite sites located throughout Hinds County, Mississippi.  We provide a quality learning environment, medical, dental, nutrition, disability and social services, all at no cost to the families we serve.  Help make a positive impact in the life of a child. Tell parents of 3- and 4-year-old children about the services available through Head Start and encourage them to apply.  For more information on Head Start, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Hinds County Human Resource Agency Releases Its 2017 Annual Report

Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) is pleased to announce the release of its 2017 Annual Report.

HCHRA is the only Community Action Agency in Hinds County and is dedicated to serving close to 5,000 families in Hinds County through education, tuition, housing, nutrition, transportation, employment, safety, case management and home energy assistance programs.

2017 was a historic year for HCHRA, as it marked the agency’s 40th year of successful operations.  Deemed the year of “accountability,” HCHRA focused on results measurements and quality improvement.  The agency made use of new technologies, and new models of funding and delivering that were not previously available.  Through new partnerships with Parents for Public Schools of Jackson and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), administered through the City of Jackson, HCHRA added new outreach programs to include youth development, rapid re-housing, and homeless prevention.  With the creation of the Quality Assurance Division, the agency was able to benefit from real-time perspective on the adequacy of internal controls and the effectiveness of established policies and procedures, thereby giving them opportunities to identify any potential operational gaps and weaknesses and strengthen efficiencies.

The 2017 Annual Report highlights HCHRA’s partnerships with local, state and federal entities and details the agency’s impact and outcomes on helping low-income families and individuals become stable and more self-reliant.  Some of HCHRA’s 2017 outcomes include 29,485 meals delivered to seniors and citizens with disabilities at their homes and 7,411 hot meals served at congregate sites; 116

people obtained and/or maintained safe and affordable housing; 112 obtained employment; 9,882 working individuals or family members received fuel and utility assistance, and so did 7,689 seniors, persons with disabilities and their caregivers; 83 families were prevented from being homeless; 1,598 obtained health care services; 378,911 miles of transportation were provided; 2,275 children received comprehensive development services through our pre-k education program; and 704,896 meals were served to children throughout the school year.

“2017 was a dynamic year for us,” said HCHRA President & CEO Kenn Cockrell.  “We made excellent progress around technology, service diversity, strengthening controls and reducing bureaucracy.  HCHRA is an exceptional company with an extraordinary history of service and a promising future.”

Copies of the 2017 Annual Report are available at Hinds County Human Resource Agency.  A copy of the full report is also available here on the Agency’s website under Reports & Plans.  To request a copy or get more information about the Hinds County Human Resource Agency 2017 Annual Report, call HCHRA’s Planning and Development Department at 601.923.3930.

HCHRA Hosts Partnership Dinner in Honor of National Community Action Month

In honor of National Community Action Month, Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) celebrated with its board of directors and sustaining partners to share the agency’s 2017 achievements.  Observed annually in May, National Community Action Month was created by the Community Action Partnership to call attention to the Community Action programs that help thousands of families achieve self-sufficiency.

During the May 16th dinner, HCHRA leaders showcased their 2017 accomplishments and gave partners a first-hand look at the struggles low-income families face.  HCHRA showed how community action agencies such as theirs empower these families to become self-reliant.  Guests received updates on the outcomes of more than a dozen Community Action programs operated by HCHRA. The agency’s report revealed that of the more than 244,000 people residing in Hinds County, approximately 48,244 people living in 20,000 households, live in poverty.  HCHRA provided opportunities to over 5,000 of those households last year.  “These numbers show that we’re making great strides in creating opportunities, but they also show there’s still a lot of need,” said Kenn Cockrell, the president and CEO of HCHRA. “Our goal now is to figure out how to serve the other 15,000 households while funding virtually remains the same.  We’re doing a good job with what we have, but we don’t have enough funding to do all that we need to.”

Roger Lutrell, vice president for planning and development, presented the agency’s 2017 Annual Report, highlighting its education, employment, transportation, nutrition, and home energy assistance programs and the benefits and opportunities each provided.  Following Lutrell’s presentation, David Knight, the agency’s executive vice president and chief operations officer, talked about the continuous circular pattern in which HCHRA has historically operated and how it will use this pattern to become even more effective in 2018 and beyond.  Knight explained that the old way of doing business – where each of the agency’s programs start, operate and stop based on an annual cycle, and then start that same process all over again – is over.  “HCHRA has become an action learning agency, meaning we will work to identify better, more efficient ways of doing what we’ve always done while we’re doing the work, because there’s no time to stop,” said Knight.  “We are adopting new technologies and implementing new approaches to make sure we provide the right opportunities for success and produce even greater outcomes. The information and data on what works is there.  Now we have to use it the most we can.”

HCHRA is a public, non-profit Community Action Agency dedicated to helping families and strengthening communities.  For more than 40 years, it has built its reputation in eradicating poverty by empowering disadvantaged Hinds County citizens to become self-reliant and realize their full potential.  It is the largest Community Action Agency in central Mississippi, and the only one in Hinds County.  Through Head Start, Early Head Start, congregate and home-delivered meals, home energy assistance, rural transportation, case management, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Earned Income Tax Credit programs, HCHRA continues to improve the conditions of children, families, single adults, the elderly and citizens with disabilities throughout Hinds County.

For more information on HCHRA programs and services, click here or call (601) 923-3930.

Head Start Recruitment and Job Fair Extravaganza – Friday, June 8th!

On Friday, June 8, 2018, Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) will host a Head Start Recruitment and Job Fair Extravaganza from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at its central office located at 258 Maddox Road in Jackson, Mississippi.  The extravaganza will provide a myriad of opportunities for those who attend.

APPLY FOR A JOB
During the extravaganza, HCHRA’s Personnel Department will be accepting applications and providing information on job opportunities available for social workers, bus drivers, case managers, center administrators, cooks, custodians, family services workers, family & community services specialists, teachers, quality assurance specialists, security guards, transportation specialists and the vice president of Head Start and early childhood programs.  For a complete list of job openings, click here.  This could be the day you start a new career!

APPLY FOR HEAD START
Several staff members from the Department of Family Opportunities will be on hand to assist parents with the Head Start application process. HCHRA provides a comprehensive education program for children ages 0 to 5 years old, along with medical, dental, nutrition and disability services, all at no cost to parents.  We have 16 Head Start and Early Head Start centers located throughout Hinds County in the cities of Jackson, Byram, Bolton, Edwards, Terry, and Utica.  To apply, bring proof of child’s age, family’s income, and Hinds County residency. Families of children with disabilities are encouraged to apply regardless of income. Recruitment has already begun and slots are being filled daily. This is a great time to apply without having to schedule an appointment.

STAY FOR LUNCH.  ORDERING FOR A LARGE GROUP?  CALL AHEAD.
After exploring career opportunities or registering your child for Head Start, don’t leave hungry.  From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the agency will be serving hot lunch plates with catfish fillets, spaghetti, coleslaw, dessert and a beverage for only $10.  All proceeds will go to benefit HCHRA programs.  You can even call (601) 923-1794 to place your order in advance, and we’ll have it ready for pick-up. 

“This is our fifth year hosting the Head Start Recruitment and Job Fair Extravaganza and it has proven to be a great opportunity for community engagement,” said Kenn Cockrell, HCHRA president and CEO.  “The greater good, however, is that HCHRA uses this event to respond to the need for education and employment opportunities, which were identified by Hinds County residents and area organizational partners in our annual Community Strengths and Needs Assessment survey as two of the biggest problems to attaining self-sufficiency.  The Extravaganza is one of the ways we’re providing real solutions with measurable outcomes for putting people to work and providing a quality education to children whose families cannot afford the high cost of preschool – helping to end cycles of poverty.”

If you’re interested in enrolling your child in Head Start or applying for a job with HCHRA but can’t come to the June 8th Extravaganza, don’t worry, you can use our online services.

TO APPLY FOR HEAD START
Click here to schedule an appointment with an opportunity advisor.

TO APPLY FOR EMPLOYMENT
Click here to view a complete list of job openings and submit an application online.

Head Start Centers Get New Signs. Can You See Us Now?

HCHRA recently installed new signage at several of its Head Start Centers located throughout Hinds County.  This was a major project that took months to complete, but was well worth the time and effort.

HCHRA has operated the Head Start Program since 1976.  Over the years, signs were erected as new centers were opened and then they were replaced when needed.  “Some of our signs displayed our old logo and needed to be updated, and several were simply worn due to years of exposure to the elements,” said Kenn Cockrell, HCHRA’s president and CEO.  “Head Start offers a very high quality education program, and we want our signage to reflect that.”  Cockrell went on to explain that in addition to achieving uniformity among all centers and promoting visibility in the community, the signs were installed as part of the program’s safety plan to ensure that all of its sites are easily identifiable in case of emergencies.

The Head Start center located in Terry, Mississippi, was named (posthumously) in honor of Eulander P. Kendrick in 2002.  Mrs. Kendrick joined Head Start in 1969 as a teacher aide and served as center administrator from August 1990 until her retirement in August 2000.  Under her leadership, the Terry Head Start Center was the first center to receive accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).  Joseph O. Kendrick, Sr., the husband of the late Eulander Kendrick, commented, “I was proud to see the new signs installed.  It’s been a long time coming.  The Head Start Center was my wife’s pride and joy.  She would spend countless hours at night working on lesson plans for her kids’ class work for the next day.  She was dedicated to making sure that all the children would be ready for the next level in their education. ” Mr. Kendrick’s son, Joseph Jr., serves as the mayor of the town of Terry.  Mayor Kendrick says, “This really means a lot to my father because he hoped that this would be done while he was still alive.  When we saw the new signs, family members began to stop and take pictures.  We are very appreciative.  They look great.”

Mayor Kendrick submitted photos of the new signs to be included in the town of Terry’s history book marking their 150th year celebration in hopes they will make the publication not only to celebrate the legacy of his mother, but to also mark the longstanding presence of Head Start and its historic role in the education of young children in the community.

Like the building and ground signs installed at Eulander P. Kendrick Head Start, new signage has been installed at the Edwards, Oak Forest, Richard Brandon, Edwards, Gertrude Ellis, Mary C. Jones, Martin, Midtown, St. Thomas, South Jackson, Welcome, and Westside Head Start Centers.  Can you see us now?

HCHRA Meets 100% of CSBG Program Standards

On March 19, 2018, Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) received notice from the Mississippi Department of Human Services that following a review by the Division of Community Services, HCHRA was found to have met 100% of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Program organization standards for 2017.

The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Services (OCS), a federal entity, requires states to establish a set of organizational standards as part of performance management and accountability for the CSBG Program.  In the case of Hinds County Human Resource Agency, the Mississippi Department of Human Services has both the authority and responsibility for oversight for the agency’s CSBG Program.

The standards by which HCHRA’s performance was measured were designed to ensure that the agency has a capacity to provide high-quality services to low-income families and communities.  During its review, the Division of Community Services looked at HCHRA’s consumer input and involvement, community engagement, community assessment, organizational leadership, board governance, strategic planning, human resource management, and financial operations and oversight.

“To go from achieving 95% of the standards in 2016, to meeting 100% in 2017, is a testament to our commitment to continuous improvement,” said Kenn Cockrell, HCHRA president and CEO.  “We will continue to work to maintain the high standard of excellence that has been set.”

For more information on the organizational standards for CSBG eligible programs, visit www.nascsp.org/Performance-Management/967/Organizational-Standards.aspx.