As one of the oldest and largest nonprofits in the state, Mississippi Children’s Home Services’ has helped more than 600,000 children and families statewide improve their lives. Founded in 1912, the organization helps place foster children in adoptive homes, and provides services to help children overcome their behavioral and educational issues.
In order to do our part to help improve the lives of Mississippi’s children, we are co-sponsoring an event with the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 17 at Hal and Mal’s in Jackson to help raise money and toys for MCHS.
MCHS does a lot for children and families in this state. Children in need of a new home are taken care of through adoption and maternity services; children with autism can get the special attention they need at the Autism Clinic; children with educational issues are helped at the CARES School Program.
Meanwhile, families with children that have behavioral and emotional issues get the help they desperately need with in-home services, outpatient services, and in some cases, MCHS’s very own private-residential treatment center.
The following are just a few examples of how these services transform lives.
One Little Girl’s Story
One child who has benefited from some of the aforementioned services is Jessica. Jessica entered MCHSs residential care center on her sixth birthday in a little tiara, with just a few loving tokens from her foster family. Despite suffering physical, emotional, and verbal abuse from those who supposedly “loved” her, Jessica had just one question, “Will I have a birthday?”
Jessica had never celebrated her birthday before, and when the staff at the residential care center learned this, they set up a party just for her. Staff members purchased decorations, gifts, brightly colored cupcakes, balloons and snacks for the occasion—all the things they needed to make Jessica a “Princess for a Day.” Maintenance workers chipped in too, transforming the cafeteria into a palace fit for a princess.
When Jessica entered the cafeteria she was startled at first, but she quickly relaxed and smiled when she understood that this was all for her. Jessica received lots of gifts from staff members and their families, who also chipped in to make the party possible. Although the gifts were nice, the party was about making Jessica feel loved — something she hadn’t felt much before.
MCHS Also Helps Families
One of the many families that MCHS has helped is the Johnsons. Brandy Johnson’s two young children, Ryan and Becca, were the victims of horrible abuse, but were warned that if they told anyone, their family would be harmed. Without knowing this, Brandy watched as her two children became angry and withdrawn. She entered them into treatment, where they finally admitted what happened to them after months of therapy.
After three years of treatment at various outpatient facilities with very little progress made, the Johnsons heard about MCHS, and Ryan and Becca were admitted to the Mississippi Youth Around the Clock program. MYPAC is an intensive in-home and community-based therapy that addresses the behavioral and emotional needs of the youth and counsels the entire family to better support the children.
The Johnsons, now including the children’s father, Kyle, who decided to re-enter their lives for good to help them cope with their trauma, were given a MYPAC team consisting of a child psychiatrist, two child and family therapists, and two wraparound facilitators. Meeting individually and in group sessions, the Johnsons were able to open communication and help the whole family cope with what had happened.
The therapy the family went through with MYPAC for one year had a major impact on them. Today, Ryan and Becca are doing better than ever, and the family is happy making memories together.
How Can You Help MCHS Transform Lives?
Those are just some of the hundreds of thousands of stories that show how MCHS has made a difference in the life of children and families.
If you would like to contribute to what MCHS is doing, we are co-sponsoring a fundraiser and toy drive with the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department on Nov. 17 at Hal and Mal’s in Jackson. The 21-plus event is open to the public and local band Chasin’ Dixie will be performing. To enter the event, there is a cover charge of either $10 or an unwrapped toy, both of which will help benefit the work of MCHS.