By Elmetra Patterson
The Winston County Self-Help Youth Group sponsored a summer food program at Winston Place Club House July 20-24, 2015 with Jean Harper as the facilitator. There were two parent volunteers: Shondalyn Roberson and Charlene Rush. The cook was Bobbie Nickelson. Harold Hudson was there as a youth supporter. Christy Reed is the property and area manager.
The Mennonite Service Center (MSC), a nonprofit organization, located in Macon, MS partnered with the MS Department of Education Office Child Nutrition to provide meals to the children. Larry Miller is the founder of MSC; Beverly Bush Mayo is the director and Latasha Farmer is the assistant director. The children seemingly enjoyed the meals which included milk and various fruit juices. Larry Miller provided fresh corn from the fields in Macon for a fun Corn Day on July 24. The youth were taught how to shuck corn, take the silks off as they prepared it for cooking.
The camp provided many interesting activities for the youth within the week. Sandra Jackson of the extension office provided an opportunity for the youth to write and public speak. Of course like many, the youth were a bit shy about standing before the group to speak from what they wrote but it was a good start to one day becoming a good public speaker. Mrs. Jackson also had them do an art project with the story they wrote about themselves.
The Louisville Fire Department sent Detrick Sanders t one day to teach fire safety to the youth. Another day, they took a tour of the wildlife at the Noxubee Refuge. USDA Area Specialist, Jason K. Rushing visited the camp and talked with the youth about education, home construction and home renovation.
Ms. Harper assured that the youth were refreshed on manners by giving them a manners quiz and practice.
This writer interviewed several youth about the camp asking what they liked most about camp. This is their response:
Corandriz Pledge, 9 years old, 3rd grade, “I liked playing musical chairs.”
Bruce Strickland, 6 years old, 1st grade, “I like the lunch. I learned about Jesus.”
Makayla Hall, 10 years old, 5th grade, “It was fun and I’d like to come back again next summer. I loved the music.”
Grandmother Teresa Ashford, “I wish there were more participants. The socialization helped my granddaughter, Kynesha Ashford who is visiting me from Moore, OK near Oklahoma City.”
Parent Charlene Rush, “I think what Ms. Jean Harper and the rest of the summer program directors have done for these kids is great and I am so glad I was a part of it. This was something that I wouldn’t mine helping with again. May God always bless all of you for what you have done for our kids. Hope to see you next year. Thank you.
Summer camp ended with the youth receiving school supplies and backpacks which included pencils, coloring poster, pencil bags, pen sets, writing pads calculators, composition note books and notebook paper. The Back-to-School Program was sponsored by Youth Development and Capacity Building, Inc. (YDACBINC) of Atlanta, GA. Dennis S. Murray, Sr. is the founder and executive director. YDACBINC sponsors 25 youth in Louisville, MS annually for school supplies. In addition, they provide “Book Scholarships” to college students and have done so for over 11 years.
Jean Harper was thanked in a letter from YDACBINC “for your commitment in your community and patience and dedication with us to help you in changing these youth lives.”