Join the Global #GivingTuesday Movement on December 3, 2019 Support HCHRA, Help Families in Hinds County

Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) is a part of the #GivingTuesday movement, and we ask you to join us in our commitment to helping families, especially during this holiday season.

Occurring on December 3rd this year, GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.).  We have two days for getting deals – Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  On GivingTuesday, we have a day for giving back to a charity or cause in which we believe.  We hope that you will choose HCHRA.

HCHRA’s primary mission has been to empower disadvantaged Hinds County citizens to become self-reliant and realize their full potential.  For each and every family it serves, HCHRA takes a comprehensive approach to identify the causes and effects of poverty in the home.  The agency then works in partnership with the family to develop a plan and identify opportunities to overcome the barriers they face.  “Our mission is to move families from poverty to self-sufficiency,” explains HCHRA President & CEO Kenn Cockrell.  “We do that by providing individuals with opportunities to attain higher education and improve work skills, while helping to stabilize their home environment.  But before we can truly help someone get on the path to success, often times we have to first address their needs for things such as food, warmth and a safe home – things that many of us take for granted,” said Cockrell.  “How can anyone believe that things can get better when they go to work every day, but they aren’t sure they can afford to keep their lights on or provide enough food for their children?  That’s where agencies like HCHRA kick in.  For every dollar we raise, we can secure an additional $2.41 in program funding.  That goes a long way in educating children, caring for seniors and those with disabilities, and providing opportunities for hardworking individuals who are striving to become self-reliant.”

HCHRA offers a range of programs and services year-round to help move families out of poverty to self-sufficiency.  The holiday season, however, always come with an increased demand for housing, food and utility payment assistance.  Participating in GivingTuesday provides HCHRA with a platform to encourage giving, especially at such a critical time.  HCHRA uses the funds it receives from private donors to secure additional funds to support programs such as home-delivered meals, rural transportation, and emergency services..

Please consider giving to HCHRA on today, GivingTuesday.  Your gift will help HCHRA provide families who live in poverty in Hinds County with greater opportunities for a stable home.

About #GivingTuesday
#GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. This year, #GivingTuesday falls on December 3rd. #GivingTuesday harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners
to transform how people think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season. It inspires people to take collective action to improve their communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they believe in, and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday demonstrates how every act of generosity counts, and that they mean even more when we give together.

 

Website: www.givingtuesday.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GivingTuesday

Twitter: twitter.com/GivingTues

HCHRA’s 5K Poverty Awareness Run/Walk: And the Winner Is…

Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) held its first Walk in My Shoes 5K Poverty Awareness Run/Walk on September 7, 2019,  with the racecourse beginning at the Martin Head Start Center located in downtown Jackson.  Participants say it was a beautiful course that was fun to run. It went through the historic Farish Street district over to Midtown Head Start Center, which incidentally was the midpoint, and then ended where it began, back at the Martin Head Start Center. Race day began at 6:00 a.m. and ended at 8:30 a.m. with an awards ceremony.

The event was created to bring awareness to the insufficiencies some Hinds County residents and communities face concerning family and economic security. Proceeds from the race will support the programs and services offered by HCHRA to provided families with opportunities and resources to address their unique needs for emergency assistance, food, housing, health, education, and/or job development.

Not only did the 5K run/walk create greater awareness about the services and opportunities HCHRA provides to the community, it also got Agency employees, community partners, friends and families with children of all ages involved.  Trophies and “braggin’ rights” were given to the team with the most miles, the one with the loudest/craziest outfits, and the team with the most HCHRA spirit, and awards were given to the fastest male and female in each age category ranging from 7 to 60, and above!

“Race organizers told us that we shouldn’t expect too much during our first year,” said Roger Lutrell, HCHRA’s vice president for Planning and Development.  “They told us if we get 40 people to participate, we’d be doing well, and if we got 60, we would be doing really well.  Needless to say, we are ecstatic about the turnout.”  Over 100 people participated in the race as either individuals or teams, all vying to beat the clock and promote health and well-being.  The race was even more success due to the generous support of sponsors. Mississippi Group Marketing, the largest donor, served as the finish line sponsor. Other sponsors included Jackson Area Federal Credit Union, Covington Electric and Phelps Dunbar, Waterview Casino & Hotel, and Atmos Energy.

“We appreciate every employee and supporter who got involved to help support our cause and mission to foster self-sufficiency for the clients we serve,” said HCHRA President and CEO Kenn Cockrell.  “We look forward to greater participation next year and making an even greater impact in the community.”

                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HCHRA Family Literacy Night a Huge Success: Read All About It!

HCHRA hosted Family Literacy Night and the event was a huge success.  Approximately 424 families of children enrolled in Head Start came out for the event which was created to promote parent participation and encourage community literacy.

Families returned to Head Start classrooms with their children to experience an evening of fun learning activities related to the children’s book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”  The book is about a boy who shares a cookie with a hungry mouse, and that one act creates a chain of events that lead to an endless stream of demands from the mouse that leave the boy worn out in the end.  The book teaches concepts of sequencing, cause and effect, and self-sufficiency. Parents and children worked together to complete math and literacy exercises inspired by the concepts and lessons revealed in the book.

Interim Children’s Services Director Dr. Twana Mallard stated, “We saw the children exhibit an increasing excitement in regards to math and literacy. We saw families develop greater awareness of ways to assist their children in learning.  Families saw their children learning, and children saw their families’ support in their learning and school environment.  It was a wonderful experience.”

For more information on Head Start programs and services, please call 601.923.3930 or go to www. ITFrontdesk.com to register.

Martin Head Start Center and The Della J. Caugills Early Head Start Center Are Closed Today – Wednesday, September 25, 2019 – Due to Water Main Break

Martin Head Start Center and The Della J. Caugills Early Head Start Center are experiencing water outages due to a water main break.  The centers will be closed on Wednesday, September 25, 2019.

We will provide updates as they become available from the City of Jackson. If you have questions, please call your center administrator.

HCHRA Recruitment and Developmental Screening Fair Readies Children for Head Start

In just one day, Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) helped 339 families enroll their preschoolers in the Head Start program and made sure they had all of their health screenings for the upcoming school year.  The recruitment and developmental screening fair was the second such event HCHRA hosted this summer.  The first was held at Mary C. Jones Head Start Center in June, and the last one was held at Westside Head Start Center near the end of July.  HCHRA staff provided information about Head Start and assisted parents with the enrollment process, while providers performed medical, dental, speech, hearing, vision and developmental exams for every Head Start student who needed them.

Choices Dental provided hygiene awareness and made sure students were cavity-free.  Mississippi Families for Kids shared information on day treatment centers for 1- to 5-year-olds, adoption, outreach, counseling and more.  Assurance Wireless helped eligible families get free cellphone services, if needed.  Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center and UMMC UNACARE had their large mobile clinics on-site to conduct wellness exams. Hinds Behavioral Health Services, Habitat for Humanity, Mississippi Smiles, CANOPY Children’s Solutions, the Mississippi State Department of Health, and the Mississippi Division of Medicaid were also on hand to provide information and services to the attendees.

HCHRA’s organized the event as a proactive measure to assist in the early determination of children who may be in need of support services.  Department of Family Opportunities staff member Elizabeth Easterling stated they would initially check to see if children were already on the Head Start waiting list or needed to enroll. Children would then participate in a medical assessment along with a family unit assessment geared to find resources and provide assistance on the family’s individual interests to make sure the family’s needs were met.

A passport was given to each family to streamline the recruitment and screening process.  Parents visited each area sequentially, and their passport was marked as each assessment was completed.  Sarah Fair attended the event with her daughter, Seara Fair, and her grandson, CJ.  Seara Fair, who is the mother of CJ, commented, “It was an easy process, organized and well put together.  First, we received a registration card. Then we visited an advisor, went for the developmental screenings, and received a copy of our records. It was a good process.”  HCHRA structured the event to make sure that parents had access to every resource and service they needed to enroll their child in Head Start – all in one place.

The fair also included popcorn and cotton candy, train rides, and an activity room where children and parents could bowl, color, or play mini basketball and bean bag toss games while they waited for their screenings.  Parent M’Tisha Townsend, while coloring with her daughter Jazmyne, a student at Mary C. Jones Head Start Center, stated, “I came along to help a friend. I like it.  It’s exciting.”  The train rides doubled as a fun time for the kids, as well as giving parents and grandparents a ride to their cars parked down the street.

For more information concerning Head Start, please visit www.hchra.org

 

 

HCHRA Executive Weighs in on the Need for More Funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Last year, for the first time in the 41-year history of Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA), the agency expended all of its Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds before the year’s end.  While this was partly due to a streamlined application process and increased operational efficiency, it was mostly attributable to the fact that Mississippi only receives enough funding to help 12 percent of the Mississippians who qualify for LIHEAP.

In a recent article published by Mississippi Today, Anna Wolfe, an investigative reporter on poverty, looked into how federal dollars are being allocated to fund LIHEAP and whether or not southern states like Mississippi actually receive their fair share.  Wolfe also reached out to HCHRA to see how funding impacts low-income citizens in Hinds County.

Wolfe spoke to David Knight, executive vice president for HCHRA, about a Jackson resident who received LIHEAP assistance from HCHRA in 2017, but is now having a difficult time securing an appointment to receive additional assistance.  Knight explained that the demand is so high, appointments are being scheduled thirty days out from the time any slots become available.  In 2018, funds ran out about halfway through the year.  “This year, they’re set to run out by fall,” said Knight.

The July 11th Mississippi Today article stated that the customer who was having problems scheduling the appointment, attempted to apply for LIHEAP this month in hopes that she could free up some of her household income to purchase school supplies and clothes for her children.  The article also stated the automated phone system kept dropping her calls, making it even harder for her to get an appointment.  HCHRA was pleased to report that by the time the article was published, the customer had already successfully scheduled an appointment and received the energy assistance she needed less than a week later.  The agency also reported that although there was not a problem with their automated telephone system, there was, in fact, a problem with its telephone service provider which resulted in dropped calls.  That problem has since been corrected.

HCHRA, like other Community Action Agencies who administer LIHEAP in areas where the funding is disproportionately allocated, is hoping that in the very near future, more emphasis will be placed on people’s needs based on poverty rates and energy burden than on states having the coldest weather.

Click here to see the full investigative report published by Mississippi Today on Mississippi being shortchanged on federal energy assistance funds for low-income homes.

HCHRA Participates in Community Resource Health Fair

In June 2019, Planning and Development Officer & Volunteer Coordinator Jessica Davis, along with the Childrens Services staff of Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA), attended the Community Resource Health Fair sponsored by Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center. Ms. Davis and Childrens Services staff were able to share information about HCHRA’s programs and resources to create greater awareness in the community about opportunities available through the Agency.  During the event, Children Services assisted individuals who were in need of Head Start services. Ms. Davis promoted volunteerism, passed out a Community Strengths and Needs Assessment and spoke one-on-one with participants about where they felt services were lacking in the community and what barriers or challenges they are facing that HCHRA could help alleviate.

To learn how you can receive services or programs offered at HCHRA, go to www.hchra.org.

 

 

HCHRA Passes Federal Triennial Review

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Head Start (OHS) recently conducted a monitoring review of Hinds County Human Resource Agency’s Head Start program.  The Triennial Federal Review of the Head Start Program resulted in NO FINDINGS.

During the review, OHS used the Head Start Monitoring System to gather data and other information to measure the performance, progress and accountability of HCHRA’s Head Start program and its compliance with the Head Start Program Performance Standards, the Head Start Act, and other regulations over multiple years.

The review included off-site and on-site reviews, and included reviews of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), Focus Area One, and Focus Area Two.

The Pre-K Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) is an observation tool used to analyze and assess the effectiveness of interactions between children and teachers in preschool classes – an important measure of quality.

Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) made great strides since its 2014 Federal CLASS Review. After reviewing the report, HCHRA took several actions to ensure higher teaching quality. Some of those actions included realigning the child assessment tools with the curriculum; investing in classroom staff by setting a 16 percent pay raise for teachers over a 5-year period to attract new teachers and retain the ones in place; and ensuring a significant amount of time and resources were provided for training and technical assistance to teaching staff.  The investment in training staff generated great results as all 4 education specialists, and 15 center administrators became CLASS certified. In addition to the management staff, 34 teachers also attended training and became CLASS certified.

The efforts made to raise the teaching quality of their program paid off. For the 2019 CLASS review, HCHRA scored from a quarter point to three-quarter points higher than they did during their last review in 2014. For example, Emotional Support had a score of 5.7167 in 2014 but scored 6.0806 in 2019. Classroom Organization gained 0.311 in 2019 and Instructional Support had the highest gain of .4481 from 2.4593 in 2014 to 2.9070 in 2019.

The investment made in training and resources allowed the grantee to deliver the best opportunities for children because, in addition to raising its CLASS score, HCHRA increased its student education goal to show a positive approach to learning through engagement, attentiveness, persistence, and curiosity by 3 percent in 2018.

Focus Area One evaluated program design, management, and governance structure, while the Focus Area Two (FA2) review looked at the agency’s effectiveness in implementing a high-quality program to promote positive outcomes and school readiness for children and their families.

The Triennial Federal Review of HCHRA’s Head Start Program resulted in no findings.  The written report issued by OHS stated, “Based on the information gathered during this review, we have found your program meets the requirements of all applicable HSPPS, laws, regulations, and policy requirements.”

 “It was particularly gratifying to receive the notice stating that we had met all of the requirements,” said Kenn Cockrell, president and chief executive officer of HCHRA.  “We often push our staff to go the extra mile to ensure that we’re doing more than the minimum that’s required.  Our hard work paid off and made this achievement possible.”

While conducting program reviews, the federal review team also looks to see if Head Start programs have any unique and innovative practices they’ve implemented to better serve families.  HCHRA received a personal, hand-written note from Dr. Beverly Bergeron, the director of the Office of Head Start and Early Childhood Development for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Serves, commending them for improving the efficiency by which they administer social services to Head Start families.  HCHRA recently completed a merger of its social and community programs to ensure that each of its families is linked to opportunities to increase stability and self-sufficiency.

Head Start is a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families.  Each year, HCHRA serves more than 2,000 Head Start families in its 16 centers located throughout Hinds County.  For more information on HCHRA, visit www.hchra.org.