Black History Month: NAACP Moss Point – Jackson County and Chevron hosted Honorable Andrew Young, U.N. Ambassador, Civil Rights Leader

Civil-rights-leader-120-1-e1518442032859 Black History Month: NAACP Moss Point - Jackson County and Chevron hosted Honorable Andrew Young, U.N. Ambassador, Civil Rights Leader

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PASCAGOULA – NAACP Moss Point-Jackson County Branch partnered with Chevron Pascagoula Refinery to host a breakfast reception and presentation with the Honorable Andrew Young on February 6. Young is an American politician, diplomat, and activist. An early leader in the civil rights movement, he later became active in politics—serving first as a U.S. Congressman from Georgia, then U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and, finally, Mayor of Atlanta. 

Over 200 people attended, including about 20 students from Magnolia Middle School in Moss Point. Chevron partnered with the NAACP to bring Young to speak about his experiences and remaining positive in the face of adversity.

Alan Sudduth, Chevron Public and Government Affairs Manager for Mississippi, welcomed the audience  Then Reggie Aaron, Chevron engineer and leader of refinery’s Black Employee Network, introduced Young. for his keynote address.

“I’ve been around a long time and I’ve seen a lot of things,” Young said, “and it upsets me when people say things are no better now than they were back in the 60s.

“Even though things are so much better, they’re still not perfect. So what I try to do is help us understand where we are…. I lived in New Orleans in the middle of a block with an Irish grocery store on one corner, an Italian bar on another, the Nazi Party was on the third corner—and they were hailing Hitler. I was born in 1932, this was about 1936, and I remember it because the way my father explained to me about racism was to take me to the segregated movie to see Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics. And he says about the white supremacists who were in the Nazi Party, who were hailing Hitler 50 yards from where I was born, that white supremacy is a sickness. And you don’t let sick people get you upset—you don’t get mad with sick people. He was a dentist, and he said, when people wake me up in the middle of the night with their teeth hurting, I don’t get mad, I try to fix them.

“You don’t ever get mad with people who are sick. And he said ‘don’t get mad, get smart. If you lose your temper in a fight, you lose the fight.

“Things are changing—and one of the things that we learned as children is the world is everchanging, but God is still the same. So order my steps, and I will praise your name! Now, if that’s where we’re coming from, the world has never been as good as it is today.” 

Closing remarks were delivered by Curley Clark, President of the Moss Point-Jackson County NAACP.

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Ocean Springs Artist, USM Alumna Chosen for National Honor

wishik-fw Ocean Springs Artist, USM Alumna Chosen for National Honor

Original post from Southern Miss Now. Courtesy of David Tisdale.

From a young girl doodling on her notepad to shaping steel as an art student at The University of Southern Mississippi, Kelsey Wishik has engaged in creative action as long as she can remember.

That creative action earned Wishik, a multimedia artist from Ocean Springs, Miss. a prominent place in the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) fifth installment of its exhibition series, titled “Heavy Metal – Women to Watch 2018” after being chosen by a national jury to be the state’s representative for the event.  

According to a news release from the NMWA, “Heavy Metal – Women to Watch 2018,” set for June 28 – Sept. 16, will feature “contemporary artists working in metal to investigate the physical properties and expressive possibilities of metalwork through a wide variety of objects, including sculpture, jewelry, and conceptual forms.” The exhibit also “engages with the fluidity between ‘fine’ art, design, and craft categories, whose traditional definitions are rooted in gender discrimination.”

 

“Women to Watch” is presented every three years in a collaboration between the museum and its national and international outreach committees.

“I feel honored and humbled to be a part of this incredible showing,” said Wishik, who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from USM in 2014. “It has added a lot of heat to a fire of inspiration already burning [in me] to keep creating, learning, and mastering my craft and skills, and reminds me that we are all ambassadors of culture, in a way.”

wishik-fw Ocean Springs Artist, USM Alumna Chosen for National Honor
wishik-fw Ocean Springs Artist, USM Alumna Chosen for National Honor

The exhibition provides Wishik the opportunity to show several of her pieces, alongside a published statement of her work. She will attend the opening reception to connect with other contributors and facilitators, and speak to an international forum the next day about her work and artistic vision. 

“It’s a unique opportunity to share not only my academic studies and technical skills, but my insights, inspirations, passions, and hopes for future projects and potential collaborations,” Wishik said. 

Reflecting on her still young career as an artist, Wishik looks back at her childhood doodling and the stories and songs she wrote that for her gave life a narrative quality, as the genesis for her success.

“Even as a kid, just walking around, I saw so many things speaking through life, through other people, and through nature,” Wishik said. “Some of these fascinations became content for early work, but it was when I discovered abstract art and surrealism around the age of 13 that I became deeply enamored with creating art, and experimenting with what I was capable of through poetry, art, and music.

“Creating art is how I process and revere my experience. Sometimes I apply it for the sake of sheer curiosity, because studying something brings you closer to understanding it. Other times, creation comes with the sense of purging, that I am letting something go, or even inviting something in.”

Wishik loves all the materials she works with in her art for different reasons, but is most enamored with the steel medium. “Something that seems so rigid, hard, and cold can actually yield to being shaped, changed, and warmed quite easily,” she said. “Working with steel is my humble study of this concept on a small scale. I enjoy being able to apply considerable force to something, and shape it with my intention as well. I get that out of the steel fabrication process.”

wishik-fw Ocean Springs Artist, USM Alumna Chosen for National Honor

 

Wishik points to American sculptor and printmaker Lee Bontecou as a role model. “Her work is fantastic and otherworldly,” she said. “It shows great contemplative power and evidence of many years of immersion into her fascinations and self-education of those forms.”

After attending Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Wishik transferred to Southern Miss, where she received several scholarships that included the Fred A. Waits Scholarship; the Trustmark Bank Arts Scholarship; the Thelma Johnson Arts Scholarship; and the William Clark Art Scholarship.

Wishik said USM’s “incredible facilities, which offer a breadth of possibilities in many mediums” and proximity to home influenced her decision to choose the university.

“I’m proud of the work I did at USM in steel, because I really took the opportunity to immerse in the studio environment, and take advantage of the resources of both studio and creative community,” she said. “I was able to explore creative work processes in clay, metals, wood, fabric, foam, plaster, and many other materials. It helped me grow my skills quite quickly.”

Jennifer Torres, professor of art at USM and a mentor for Wilshik, said her former student is “exemplary, full of talent and intelligence.”

“What makes her exceptional is the way she attacks life as a whole, and explores the world without regard for boundaries or limitations that others might impose,” Torres said. “She is such a shining light and great example of what we wish for all our students to be, as well as a great ambassador for our program and the University as a whole.”

For Wishik, art isn’t contained on a canvas or in a studio – it’s everywhere. “The world is art. The world is in constant flux — a constant act of transformation and reflection of forces at work,” she said. “The word ‘art’ aside, we are creating at every moment. We can’t help it. We interact with our environment and impress upon it through our thoughts, actions, and speech.

“I think when the art process becomes true magic is when we invite it in intentionally. The process of creating can cultivate concentration, develop our emotions and empathy, and encourage abstract thought.”

Wishik’s advice to current and aspiring artists is to avoid artificial restrictions that suffocate creativity. “Focus your mind and intention where there is vastness, space to roam and imagine – do not waste your mind’s capacity on that which is decided for you without exploration or work, including unexplored limitations, doubts, or self-defeating mindsets,” she said. “These are some key truths I’ve found, and applicable in any setting.”

Learn more about and view Wishik’s work at  www.worksbywish.com. For more information about the National Museum of Women in the Arts, visit https://nmwa.org.
For information about the USM Department of Art and Design, visit https://www.usm.edu/visual-arts. 

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Huntington Ingalls Industries Awards More Than $100,000 In STEM Grants To 26 Gulf Coast Schools

ingalls_stem_grants2018_7242db44-a396-4f23-a754-f732a294de47-prv Huntington Ingalls Industries Awards More Than $100,000 In STEM Grants To 26 Gulf Coast SchoolsPASCAGOULA, Miss., Feb. 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (NYSE:HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division has awarded more than $101,000 in grants to 26 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) projects and initiatives from schools and educational organizations in Mississippi and Alabama.

This is the 10th year for Ingalls’ STEM program. The company has awarded more than $911,000 for STEM-related projects during that period.

“I want to thank the educators in this room for making such a substantial contribution to our workforce,” Edmond Hughes, Ingalls’ vice president of human resources and administration, said at a morning ceremony held at the shipyard. “Each year I’m excited to present these grants for such fascinating science, technology, engineering and math projects that will engage hundreds of students in our communities. Ingalls remains committed to helping ensure that our local schools have the resources needed to produce students who are ready to join our ever-growing workforce.”

The 2018 STEM grant recipients and projects are:

  • Agricola Elementary: Fourth-graders will collaborate to explore, design, build and program a robot to perform certain missions based on a real-world problem. $4,000
  • Alabama School of Math and ScienceFunds will be used to purchase a Redbird Flight Simulator, which will allow students to practice basic flight maneuvers such as: straight and level flight, how to turn an airplane without losing altitude, powered climbs, etc. $4,715
  • Alabama School of Math and Science: Funds will be used to purchase Raspberry Pi 3, Raspberry Pi Zero W and Pi-Top robots. These credit card-sized robots have the latest technologies that offer students an array of possibilities to extend their learning beyond the classroom. $3,815
  • Anniston Avenue Elementary: Second- and third-grade students will be introduced to robotics and programming using Lego WeDo 2.0 classroom sets. $5,000
  • Calcedeaver Elementary: Third- through sixth-grade students will form a robotics team. The team will begin building and programming robots using a Lego Mindstorm kit. $1,500
  • Cora Castlen Elementary: Applying their knowledge of ecosystems and food webs, students will test water quality and also the oil-absorbing properties of different materials as they engineer a process for cleaning up an oil spill. $5,000
  • Dauphin Island Sea Lab: Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are now widely used in marine science research, exploration and industry, reflecting the trend of increasing dependency on technology in STEM fields. $1,572
  • FABLAB Jackson County: Students will participate in a camp where they will learn about basic electronics and computer programming skills by building and programming a robot that will traverse a maze autonomously. $4,719
  • Gautier Middle School: Students will create a family STEM night for the middle schools in the district. Students will facilitate at a variety of centers in which parents and students can build and become excited about technology. $4,035
  • Gulfport High SchoolStudents will use anatomy and physiology, health sciences and math classes to build collaborative, co-teaching lessons that show the relationship between the medical field, math and science using zSpace technology, a virtual reality platform. $5,000
  • Jubilee BEST (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology): This is a volunteer-based program for middle and high schools that teaches skill sets for STEM careers. Students are provided raw materials and must design and manufacture a functioning robot as well as write an engineering notebook. $2,972
  • Katherine Hankins Middle School: Students will design three-dimensional objects to solve engineering problems, print the objects, then test and redesign for improvements. $3,587
  • Lizana Elementary School: Funds will be used to purchase materials and printables to create STEM bins and challenges for first-graders. Using a digital camera, students will take pictures of their structures throughout the project process and upload them onto a Chromebook. They will use Chromebooks as a digital tool to publish and share their projects. $5,000
  • Mary G. Montgomery High SchoolStudents will utilize equipment such as a microplate reader and gel docking station to quantitatively measure molecules such as proteins, sugars, DNA and many more chemical products. $4,887
  • North Woolmarket Elementary and Middle School: Students will receive a six-month subscription to Kiwi Company. Kiwi Crate will provide a new STEM project for the students each month. $2,190
  • Ocean Springs Gifted EducationFunds will be used to build a KEVA Corner. In KEVA Corner, students will create original works of art and design and build architectural structures. $4,347
  • Ocean Springs Upper Elementary SchoolFunds will be used to purchase a variety of materials that students will use to experience the thrill of engineering and problem-solving as they are challenged to create a particular structure. $2,526
  • Pascagoula High SchoolStudents will become inspired to learn through exploration in an enzyme activity using cellobiase, a key enzyme associated with biofuel production. $5,000
  • Pascagoula High SchoolStudents will utilize digital microscopes to view specimens in greater detail than the standard compound light microscope. Students can view a live image, capture a still image for comparison or create short video clips of microscopic organisms. $4,819
  • Pass Christian Elementary: This robotics project will incorporate the Dash and Dot curriculum in second grade, the Lego WeDo 2.0 curriculum in third grade and the Lego Ev3 Mindstorms in grades four and five. $5,000
  • Singing River Academy: This project uses virtual reality technology to foster social integration of learners within a classroom environment by bringing together students who have different learning styles and needs. $5,000
  • St. Martin High SchoolStudents will explore STEM-related career fields through research and the use of K’Nex bridges and simple machines as well as how robots are essential in the construction of everyday products. $2,075
  • St. Mary Catholic SchoolThe development of the STEAM Plant’s Outdoor Classroom will provide students with an innovative learning environment that becomes an educational model that transcends the traditional classroom, while enhancing the quality of the school environment. $3,045
  • St. Patrick Catholic High School: A traditional classroom will be transformed into a STEM lab equipped with various tools such as software, virtual resources and interactive activities to prepare and excite students about STEM. Students will be involved in every aspect of the design and layout of the lab$5,000
  • Tanner Williams Elementary: Grant funds will be used to purchase instructional resources for students in kindergarten through fifth grades. Library books will be available for teachers to check out for inclusion in classroom lessons and for students to check out as well. In addition, items for exploration, creation and design will be provided to introduce STEM to students and to extend classroom lessons with engaging, hands-on resources. $5,000
  • Woolmarket Elementary: A stations-based learning platform will allow students with communication deficits to interact with general education students while completing specific STEM activities under the direction and supervision of the school’s speech-language pathologist. $1,527

Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of professional services to partners in government and industry. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. HII’s Technical Solutions division provides a wide range of professional services through its Fleet Support, Integrated Mission Solutions, Nuclear & Environmental, and Oil & Gas groups. Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs nearly 37,000 people operating both domestically and internationally. For more information, visit:

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Pay It Forward Friday: Shellie Carter Helping Homeless Teens on the Coast

1505924577544 Pay It Forward Friday: Shellie Carter Helping Homeless Teens on the Coast

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Many kids look forward to their 18th birthday, but for kids in foster care their 18th birthday is often the day they become homeless. That is when they “age out” of the foster care system, and unless they have plans to go to college or have someone pick them up and take care of them many of these young adults are left with nowhere to go and end up in the streets. A new program through the Community Care Network, Breakthrough, aims to to rescue these homeless kids that are on the streets and give them the housing and necessities they need to help get them on their feet. 

The Community Care Network is a faith-based, non-profit organization located in Ocean Springs seeking to empower their clients and minister to their physical, emotional, and spiritual need, enabling them to move from addiction, homelessness, and/or incarceration to a stable and independent life. The network is made up of different branches, including a long-term transitional home-Sue’s Home. Sue’s Home helps women and children who have either been displaced by incarceration or rehab and are seeking to get their life’s back on track, so they may unify their family again.

The Breakthrough program began in South Mississippi in July and rescues these 18-to 24-year olds who have aged out of the foster care system and have no job or hopes of going to college, said Shellie Carter, director of the program for the Community Care Network. “Many of these kids have bounced around in foster homes or may come from an abusive home and turn to alcohol and drugs to cope”, she said. 

Carter mentions how she can understand and relate to how uncertain and scared these kids are. “I was a child of an addict”, she said, and at age 6 she and her sister were taken from her mother and placed in a foster care in Harrison County. “I’ve been in your shoes”, she tells the kids. 

The program was founded after receiving the Continuum of Care (COC) Grant through Open Doors Homeless Coalition, which is a coalition for the homeless in Gulfport. “When I met Diane Easley, (Founder and Executive Director of Community Care Network), I thought ‘wow what a blessing it would be to work with the community after experiencing what I have as a child in the foster care system and having addiction touch my life'”, said Carter. 

This is her 9th year working with non-profits and second year with the Community Care Network. At 47, she now believes life has brought her to where she needs to be to put her own past to rest and to take those late-night phone calls from kids in Breakthrough who need help or just someone to listen to their concerns.

Homelessness is a challenge in our area 

The homeless population in Ocean Springs has become a  continuous issue in the city. A 2015 count showed a 300 percent increase in homelessness among ages 18 to 24 in the six southern counties, most of them on the Coast, Carter said. In every other age category the numbers went down, she said. The current count of young people living outside in South Mississippi is 54. “I have people call me daily to try and get into the program and on average about 3 people per week”, said Carter. “We’re funded out through the end of the year and at our max capacity with our budget”, she said. “We don’t have any more room- the problem is that big.” There are currently 11 residents enrolled in the program. 

“There’s a lot of barriers that go into homeless youth. If they’re 18 there’s a lot of apartment complexes who won’t accept an 18 year old signing a lease”, she said. “Another issue is employment and transportation that we’ve come across while trying to help the homeless youth.” 

How it works

The homeless youth first go through a centralized intake through Open Doors Coalition and get all of the information to identify their level of need. “A score of one would be the least amount of need and if they score from five to ten they are really desperate”, she said. 

After determining their need, the next step includes finding an apartment so the young person has a warm, safe place to live. The program provides them with everything from furniture and cooking supplies and even food. “There’s a lot to getting a young person housed who has nothing,” Carter said.

Breakthrough also assigns a case manager who provides help learning how to apply for food stamps, search for jobs and even enrolling them in financial counseling. “It’s very overwhelming to 19-year-olds,” Carter said, since many of them don’t know how to cook or parent and “freeze” when asked to fill out job applications.

The program has had many success stories ike a young woman in Gulfport who was homeless and now has apartment and a high school diploma and plans to start junior college this spring. 

“It can happen to anyone”, says Carter. “So if we can all take our shoes off and walk in someone else’s for a day we can all get that perspective and relate in someway”, she added. “I’m sure at some point in life, addiction has touched someone you know or someone in your family and that’s where our human-ness comes in our ability to touch and reach out to these people and give a hand up, not a hand down”, said Carter. 

How you can help

The program is always in need of supplies for the program such as personal hygiene items, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant. Any leftovers are sent back out into the homeless community. “We make care packages and take them back out into the streets to pass out” said Carter.

For more information on the Breakthrough program or Community Care Network, visit their website at ccms.org.

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JaxCoHome Proudly Introduces #JaxCoSnaps

jaxcosnaps-slide JaxCoHome Proudly Introduces #JaxCoSnaps

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Are you a photographer who enjoys capturing the scenic views of Jackson County? Or even someone who enjoys taking photos at local events? Well, JaxCoSnaps is your next favorite photo-sharing site! 

What is JaxCoSnaps?

JaxCoSnaps is a new addition to the JaxCoHome website and is the premiere place to be seen. Using photos YOU take and featuring them in galleries on our site, JaxCoSnaps is the place to share all of your favorite photos of Jackson County. 

How does is work?

JaxCoSnaps is easy to use and anyone can do it. All you have to do is tag your image with #jaxcosnaps on Facebook or Instagram and you will be eligible for showcasing your photos in our galleries. Our galleries currently include Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day and Nature, but there is always more to come! If you don’t have Facebook or Instagram, you can also upload your photo to the JaxCoSnaps section on our site

Wait, isn’t this like Snapchat or Instagram? 

Good question. But no, not at all. JaxCoSnaps is a unique platform on its own. You can view different galleries of photos submitted by people from all over Jackson County, and you don’t even have to follow/friend them. How cool is that? And if your photo is featured, it can be seen by over 100,000 of our monthly site visitors. We bet that’s more than your Instagram followers. 

What kind of photos do I send?

JaxCoSnaps can be used for any and all photos highligting the best aspects of Jackson County. You can tag a photo of a beautiful sunset on Front Beach or your favorite restaurant in Pascagoula- the possibilities are endless! And the best part? It’s FREE! We want to see your photos of the views you love most in the county. So, get snap’n, Jackson County! 

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What’s with the Baby in King Cakes?

kingcakebaby What's with the Baby in King Cakes?

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King Cakes are a traditional dessert loved by all during the Mardi Gras season. They come in a variety of flavors from cheese cake to chocolate and is known for its sweet icing and colorful frosting. But what’s the deal with the plastic baby inside the cake? There are many beliefs as to what the baby actually represents, so JaxCoHome wanted to research the history of the baby and king cake; how it’s relevant to Mardi Gras; and what it means if you get a piece with a plastic baby in the middle. 

King Cakes can actually be found as early as the beginning of the year and at the center of celebrations through early spring. Some associate it with Mardi Gras, others with a celebration known as Epiphany. According to Eater, King cake is eaten on January 6 in honor of Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, which historically marks the arrival of the three wise men/kings in Bethlehem who delivered gifts to the baby Jesus. King cake also appears on tables throughout the Carnival season, which runs from Epiphany to Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent).

Many people call King Cakes different names and it comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. Most people are familiar with with the dough-like consistency twisted into a ring, filled with a wide array of flavors and decorated with colored icing and sprinkles. The glaze is the most popular part of the cake, including the three colors found on top: gold, green and purple. Variants can be made from cake batter or bread dough or pastry, but almost all versions are shaped into a circle or oval to mimic the appearance of a king’s crown. 

Every king cake contains a trinket — often a small figurine in the shape of a baby — which plays a crucial part in the celebration of the holiday that inspired this pastry. There are two theories behind the trinket in the cake. Some believe the plastic baby is symbolism of Baby Jesus because of the religious connection to King’s Day. Others, however, believe the popular New Orleans lore, which suggests that an elaborate cake was served with a bean or ring placed inside during the commemoration of the king’s ball in colonial Louisiana. Whoever found the bean or trinket in his or her slice of cake would be crowned the king or queen of the balls leading up to the lavish finale on Mardi Gras. 

Now, instead of using a bean or a ring the plastic baby is mostly used today as an emblem of good luck. Though as history would have it, the lucky individual who scores the piece of king cake with the baby inside is said to gain favor, and they’re also tasked with hosting duties and bringing their own king cake for next year’s revelry.

So, you’re probably craving one now, right? Well, you’re in luck because there are plenty of bakeries in Jackson County who make these delicious, seasonal treats. Our favorite is Crazy B’s Coffee & Confections located in Pascagoula. Owner of the bakery, Susan, says they sell out of their famous king cake bites every year. “It’s like a mini ball of king cake”, she said. “It makes a great party tray to bring to your Mardi Gras party for everyone to share.” 

For all updates and information for Mardi Gras in Jackson County, visit our Mardi Gras section on our site and Facebook page

 

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January is National Blood Donor Month

blood-donate January is National Blood Donor Month

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Throughout January, the American Red Cross is celebrating National Blood Donor Month and recognizing the generous individuals who roll up a sleeve to help save lives. The winter months can be especially difficult to collect enough blood and platelets to meet patient needs, and this winter is proving to be a challenging one. John McFarland, Executive Director of South East Mississippi’s Chapter of the Red Cross, says blood is always needed, but winter is when they experience the greatest shortage. 

National Blood Donor Month has been observed in January since 1970 with the goal of increasing blood and platelet donations during winter – one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood products to meet patient needs. Inclement winter weather – like what the U.S. is experiencing so far this year – often results in cancelled blood drives, and seasonal illnesses, like the flu, may cause some donors to become temporarily unable to donate.

The Red Cross urges healthy donors who have made a commitment to donate during the winter months to keep their appointments. Each appointment kept, and each donation given, offers hope to a patient in need. McFarland says there are 22 blood drives scheduled along the Coast this month.

“Every 3 seconds someone is needing blood”, he added. “Blood is something that can’t be synthesized or manufactured, so it’s important that there’s an inventory of blood available in the hospitals”, says McFarland.  

Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be given every seven days – up to 24 times a year. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in most states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. Donors with blood types O negative, B negative, and platelet donors are especially encouraged to make an appointment to give.

For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org. Donors can also use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, which is free and available for download now. It can be found in app stores by searching for American Red Cross, visiting redcross.org/apps or redcrossblood.org/bloodapp, or by texting BLOODAPP to 90999 for a direct link to download. Message and data rates for texting may apply.

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Home of Grace Eyeing Campus Upgrades in the Near Future.

As we move into 2018, the opioid crisis continues to grow, as well as addiction to methamphetamines, alcohol, and various other mind-altering substances. We see billboards popping up declaring war on addiction. Recovery support groups grow in number and influence. We hear more and more frequently about major drug busts involving fentanyl, meth, marijuana, and other drugs. But there is hope.

In !965 Bill Barton Sr. founded the Home of Grace in Vancleave, MS. When he started out he had two mobile homes and a piece of land beside a creek, out in the woods. There is no way he could have known then what his vision would eventually become. 

billbarton Home of Grace Eyeing Campus Upgrades in the Near Future.

Today, the Home of Grace has two campuses. In 2009 the men’s campus completed a project that moved most of the campus from the creek bank, up the hill. There was always a problem with flooding because of its location in a low-lying area next to the creek. The move up the hill put everything out of the flood zone, except the chapel. The men’s campus is now located up the hill from the original campus, in Vancleave, and the women’s campus is located off of Martin Bluff road in Gautier. Since its inception the Home of Grace has helped almost 40,000 people, from 49 of the 50 states.

billbarton Home of Grace Eyeing Campus Upgrades in the Near Future.

Some people might think it would be enough to simply maintain what they have, but that is not the case. Plans are now actively being worked on to increase the size, capacity, and effectiveness of the Home of Grace for years to come. While the men’s campus has a capacity of 120 clients, and the women a capacity of 40, there is always need for more.

The Home of Grace is currently run by Josh Barton, grandson of Bill Barton Sr. His brother Clay Barton works alongside him. I recently spoke with Clay about the future of the Home of Grace, and asked him to detail for me any upcoming plans for the Home of Grace. Clay was kind enough to give me some time and do just that. Below is a series of questions and answers from that conversation.

What upcoming plans are there for the two campuses?

“Our men’s campus project is more of a completion and expansion project that includes moving the chapel up the hill. We’ve been at capacity and running a wait list for some time now. We also need more classroom and office space. Also, our women’s campus is currently located in an area growing in crime rates, violence, and drug activity. Additionally, the facilities were not originally designed for residential recovery, which presents crowded living spaces, and less then ideal accommodations.”

I’ve heard about upcoming projects involving a new chapel on the men’s campus, up the hill with the rest of the campus, and a new women’s campus. How will that impact the Home of Grace’s ability to accomplish its mission?

“These two projects will allow us to increase our capacity to help more men and women struggling with addiction, and do so in an environment more conducive to safe rehabilitation.” 

Are there any other building projects planned within the next 5 years?

“There are two possible capital opportunities coming up, in addition to what I’ve already discussed. 1) We may look to relocate the administrative offices to an offsite location which will free up office space on the main campus. 2) We were blessed by a very large donation of gym equipment, enough to furnish both campuses with a workout facility.”

What do you hope any new building projects will help the Home of Grace accomplish that it cannot currently accomplish? 

The demand for addiction recovery continues to climb. While we are doing our best to meet this need, we are limited with the space given. These projects will serve as a giant leap forward into the future, guided by our vision to be the leader in successful recovery, by introducing Jesus Christ as the catalyst for hope, healing, and quality of life.”

What can the community do to help? Who do they contact if they’d like to help?

“We need the community to recognize the very real, and growing, opioid crisis facing our nation, and to prayerfully consider supporting our cause financially.Donations offer hope for those lost in the shadows of addiction by providing life-saving scholarships, making crucial recovery affordable. Anyone interested in investing in our capital projects, or donating to the scholarship fund, can call 228-826-5283, or visit www.homeofgrace.org”

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Fuel Your School, Chevron Pump $210,000 Into Local Classrooms

Chevron-Pecan-Park-donation-222 Fuel Your School, Chevron Pump $210,000 Into Local Classrooms

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Chevron-Pecan-Park-donation-222 Fuel Your School, Chevron Pump $210,000 Into Local Classrooms

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Chevron contributed $210,000 to local public school projects in October and November through the annual Fuel Your School program and an additional company contribution.

Chevron’s 2017 Fuel Your School program generated $50,000 to help fund 70 classroom projects, including 33 focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), to help connect real world experiences to classroom learning for 8,803 students at 33 Jackson County public schools.

Through the Fuel Your School program, Chevron contributed $1 when consumers purchased eight or more gallons of fuel at participating Chevron and Texaco stations in Jackson County during the month of October, generating $50,000 to help fund eligible classroom projects at local public schools. Pascagoula Refinery employees were able to contribute an additional $160,000 through employee gift code redemptions on the DonorsChoose.org site.

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Mission Accomplished for “Operation: Candy Cane”

P1100238 Mission Accomplished for  “Operation: Candy Cane”

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P1100238 Mission Accomplished for  “Operation: Candy Cane”

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This year’s “Operation: Candy Cane,” sponsored by the XYZ Employee Network at the Pascagoula Refinery, provided gifts for many children in the Jackson County and Mobile areas to help make their Christmas special.

The donations benefitted children in the Salvation Army of Jackson County Angel Tree program and Jackson County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) program, as well as St. Mary’s Home in Mobile.

Pascagoula Refinery employees adopted 83 angels from the Salvation Army, 57 angels from St. Mary’s Home, and 34 angels from CASA. Another $2,200 was donated and used to complete angel wish lists, and to buy additional gifts for the children.

Many children had a happy Christmas morning because of the generosity of Pascagoula Refinery employees.

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