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VISTA participates in 2016 Delta Stand Down

By | Center for Community and Economic Development, VISTA | No Comments

On Sept. 10, members and staff with the VISTA project at Delta State University’s Center for Community and Economic Development joined efforts with the Gulf Coast Veterans Advocacy Council, Inc. and the Washington County Board of Supervisors to host the 2016 Delta Stand Down for more than 400 participants in recognition of National Day of Service and Remembrance.

On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, a total of 15 agencies provided services and connected more than 300 veterans and their families to health, education and federal benefits. Some of these agencies included the Division of Medicaid, Veterans Association of Memphis, VA Hospital of Jackson, Humana, Mississippi Valley State University and the American Red Cross.

More than 20 volunteers from the Washington County area assisted with preparing lunch for attendees, helping exhibitors and issuing supplies to veterans, such as blankets, boots, backpacks and sleeping bags

Eric Simmons, mayor of Greenville; Kenneth Johnson, mayor of Mound Bayou; and several members of the Washington County Board of Supervisors participated in the Stand Down.

Learn more about VISTA at http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/graduate-and-continuing-studies/center-for-community-economic-development/mdscamericorpsvolunteers-in-service-to-america/.

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VISTA accepting applications

By | Center for Community and Economic Development | No Comments

In its fight against poverty, the AmeriCorps*VISTA program, under the direction of Linda Stringfellow, is now accepting applications for full-time members. Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) members focus on building sustainable programs by strengthening an organization’s infrastructure, expanding community partnerships, and securing long-term resources.

VISTA members will receive, in exchange for a 12-month commitment to service, a modest living stipend, an end of term education award or cash stipend, free health insurance, student loan forbearance or deferment, priceless skills development and much more.

“In combatting illiteracy, health concerns and economic despair, some of your efforts may include implementing marketing campaigns, coordinating educational workshops, recruiting other volunteers, or organizing fundraising efforts,” said Stringfellow.

May’s Member of the Month, Shannon Curtis, is a testament to impactful community change. Joining VISTA led her to Mississippi where helps build and sustain a viable local food system with the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network and Sustainable Oxford.

During her first six months in Oxford, Curtis hosted monthly forums and potlucks concerning issues of sustainability, social justice, poverty, transportation, water issues and more. She facilitated discussions of food systems development during the LOU Homelessness Summit. Additionally, she also developed the MSAN program Sustainable Oxford by building a steering committee of more than 25 volunteers.

Curtis has built coalitions with partner organizations like the University Of Mississippi Office Of Sustainability, City of Oxford Recycling Department, McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, Leadership Lafayette, Oxford City Market, Mississippi Farm to School Network and more.

VISTA openings in Sunflower, Panola and Tunica counties are waiting to be filled.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen. Apply to the program at www.nationalservice.gov and select “I’m Ready to Serve.” Participants must also attend one of the recruitment sessions on either June 28 or June 30. Sessions will begin at 9:30 a.m.

For more information, contact Lakisha L. Butler, program associate for marketing and recruiting, at 662-846-4848 or kbutler@deltastate.edu.

Sandy Adams (CCED), left; Linda N. Stringfellow (director); Cierra Triplett (CCC); Brittany Neal (GCVAC); Lisa Watkins (GCVAC); and Samuel Miller (CCC).

VISTA members to support summer STEM efforts

By | Center for Community and Economic Development, Community | No Comments

The Center for Community and Economic Development at Delta State recently announced the start of its “Summer of SERVICE,” with 40 VISTA summer associates participating through July. The center has received five AmeriCorps*VISTA members from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to support summer programs designed to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math activities — commonly known as STEM.

The AmeriCorps*VISTA members placed at the CCED will join hundreds across the country as part of an expansion of STEM AmeriCorps, a CNCS initiative announced in 2013.

The five CNCS members include: Sandy Adams, Cierra Triplett, Brittany Neal, Lisa Watkins and Samuel Miller.

Their primary goals include: increase involvement in STEM education for economically disadvantaged youth in grades K-12 and undergraduate college students; increase involvement of veterans and military families in college access programs in STEM, and decrease education financial barriers; recruit veterans, military families and individuals from low-income and economically disadvantaged communities to participate in STEM education sessions; and assist with research of funding opportunities for STEM education initiatives in Bolivar, Coahoma and Washington counties.

“VISTA is an indispensable resource to help strengthen STEM education in our communities,” said Linda N. Stringfellow, director of AmeriCorps*VISTA at CCED. “We’re thrilled that the Corporation for National and Community Service has recognized the value of the work that the Center for Community and Economic Development is doing in this field and are honored to be a part of STEM AmeriCorps.”

Building on President Obama’s launch of STEM AmeriCorps at the White House Science Fair last year, this major expansion will place more than 250 VISTA members in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and West Virginia. These AmeriCorps members will connect more than 18,000 at-risk students in low-performing schools to STEM opportunities.

“AmeriCorps members are improving the lives of millions of citizens and having a positive and lasting impact on the toughest challenges facing our communities,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “By strengthening STEM education for students, especially those from low-income backgrounds, STEM AmeriCorps will spark greater interest in math and science and build ladders of opportunity these students might otherwise never have.”

AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 members in intensive service annually to serve through nonprofit, faith-based and community organizations at 25,000 locations across the country. These members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve.

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the AmeriCorps program. Since 1994, more than 830,000 Americans have provided more than one billion hours of service addressing critical challenges from poverty and hunger to disasters and the dropout crisis.

The newest VISTA Summer Associates are serving in: Coahoma Community College, Coahoma County; Gulf Coast Veterans Advocacy Council, Inc., Bolivar and Washington counties; and the Delta State University Center for Community and Economic Development, Bolivar County.

For more information, visit www.cns.gov or contact the VISTA staff at the CCED at 662-846-4358.

AmeriCorps VISTA is administered CNCS, a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund and the Volunteer Generation Fund, and leads the president’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For 50 years, AmeriCorps VISTA has engaged Americans in a year-long, full-time intensive commitment to service designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov.

Monica Stinson (left), MSDH asthma program coordinator; Wheezy Bear, SAM mascot, Beverly Moon, dean of Graduate and Continuing Studies and Research; Evelyn Jackson, RRT of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Center; Alexis Hynes, AmeriCorps VISTA member; Derrick Price, AmeriCorps VISTA member; Marquita Dorsey, Health Advocacy coordinator; and Billy Nowell, mayor of Cleveland, recently celebrated World Asthma Month.

Delta State University SAM progam hosts a tribute

By | Center for Community and Economic Development | No Comments

Delta State University’s School-based Asthma Management program recently hosted a World Asthma Month proclamation ceremony to continue its asthma awareness efforts.

A special tribute was given to Judith Winford, the former SAM program director who suffered from asthma and passed away from a different illness on Dec. 22, 2013. The tribute was held at the Center for Community and Economic Development on the campus of Delta State.

Each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America declares the month of May as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.

Evelyn Taylor-Jackson presented asthma facts and management techniques to participants. She also expressed the importance of education and awareness to prevent and manage the disease. Mayor Billy Nowell presented Wheezy Bear with the proclamation declaring World Asthma Month for the City of Cleveland.

It is currently peak season for asthma and allergy sufferers and the perfect time to educate patients, family, friends and co-workers about these diseases. Asthma is a chronic lifelong disease that impacts the lungs. It can’t be cured, but is controllable with the help of a written asthma action plan. The plan should be completed collaboratively by a physician, patient and parent if the patient is a minor.

According to Senate Bill 2218, all students diagnosed with asthma must have a written student action plan on file at their school effective July 2014.

For more information regarding asthma or the Student Action Plan, talk with your physician or contact the SAM program at 662-846-4807 or mdorsey@deltastate.edu.

50/50 Bear Bucks Raffle

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Delta State University’s School-based Asthma Management (S.A.M.) is sponsoring a 50/50 Bear Bucks Raffle to fill someone’s bare pocket’s” the winner gets 50% of the sales of the raffle tickets! The remaining 50% of the money will go toward support of S.A.M. projects for children that have asthma. Projects such as Wheezy Bear Asthma Education Appearances in the schools, Wheezy Bear Asthma Camp – a 5 day summer day-camp, Asthma Academy, held at the United Family Life Center in partnership with Cleveland Park Commission Summer Program and Rescue Me Boot Camps for parents are interactive and fun. All projects are designed to provide information and knowledge to help children manage their asthma at home and at school. This year, the Annual 50/50 Bear Bucks Raffle is in honor of Mrs. Judith N. Winford (Judy). Mrs. Judy was the Asthma Resource Nurse for the S.A.M. Program until her death on December 22, 2013. Mrs. Judy also suffered from asthma which fashioned an even greater passion and desire to help others (especially children) manage and control asthma. The SAM team members wish to thank all that are so generous in helping to raise community awareness of the severity of asthma. Asthma can’t be cured but it can be controlled [more quickly and for longer periods] when children and their families have the necessary information to prevent an episode, “Together, we can keep our children healthy and in school” states Mrs. Winford. Raffle tickets can be bought at the DSU Center for Community and Economic Development, 1417 College St., just ask for S.A.M. You may call (662)-846-4784 or (662)-846-4807 and we’ll deliver the tickets to you (Cleveland, MS Area Only). You may also come by the Delta State University Student Union (1st Floor), January 15- 17, 2014 (9:30a.m.-12 noon).Tickets are $5 each; winner will be notified on February 14, 2014.