• 75°

Oxford’s Family Resource Center of North Mississippi seeks to strengthen families

When people become parents, an instructional manual may not be sent home with the baby from the hospital; however, there is now a place in Oxford that can offer new parents and families some guidance.

The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi opened its doors in Oxford in October after a grant allowed the Tupelo-based program to extend its services by opening new centers around north Mississippi.

“It started as a small entity with a lot of vision and has grown over the years to where it is today,” said Jeff Roberson, administrative assistant for the new Oxford center on Skyline Drive.

The Family Resource Centers are under the Families First for Mississippi umbrella. The Jackson-based Mississippi Community Education Center serves the south half of the state through the same grant.

The program seeks to strengthen families of all backgrounds and life circumstances by providing programs for the entire family, including youth development, workforce development, classes and presentations. It’s designed to stimulate employment through job readiness, support family financial stability, promote literacy and increase graduation rates while continuing to decrease teen pregnancy, promoting positive father involvement and providing parenting classes.

At the Oxford campus, current parenting classes include Infant and Toddlers; Children in the Middle; Healthy Relationships; Conflict Resolution; Effective Parenting; and Responsible Fathering.

The Oxford center serves six counties, including Lafayette, Panola, Yalobusha, Grenada, Marshall and Benton counties.

The center also provides the New Learning School District, which allows students or adults a chance to earn a high school diploma.

Through dual enrollment, a student can still attend high school while taking the free online courses to get needed academic credits. Parents who didn’t graduate high school, can take the class at the FRC in Oxford and finally earn their degree, opening doors to better jobs and a chance to further their education.

“Our main goal is to help Mississippi residents improve their lot in life, whether it’s to increase their work capabilities or allow them to go to community college. It allows us to get them in a better situation.”

A computer lab is available at the FRC for those enrolled in the high school diploma program who may not have access to a computer or the internet.

The FRC in Oxford will be holding its grand opening ceremony from 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday where information about all of the services offered at FRC will be provided. Refreshments will be served.

Field Educator Blakely Beggs teaches several of the parenting classes offered at FNC. She works with school districts and the Mississippi Department of Human Services. When not in the Oxford center, she travels to schools to teach classes about bullying, teen dating and internet safety.

Beggs said parents will often come to the center to seek some assistance in one area, for example, effective parenting, and after going through an assessment, find other programs that may help them and their family.

“They might come in for parenting classes, but we discover that they’re also having a hard time with life management skills, like budgeting or conflict resolution within the home,” she said.

Dyslexia Therapist Danielle Snyder shares office space with the Oxford FRC and is also available for those needing assistance.

Jack Gadd is the regional coordinator. Educators include Beggs, Brenda McGaha, Erica Golden, Wesley Hill, Johnny Flynt and Wesley Bell.

For more information, call the center in Oxford at 662-638-6999 or visit www.frcnms.org.