Nollie Jenkins Family Center engages in a wide range of community organizing work. Among our key programs of work are:
Parent Education Training & Support (PETS): Provides education, training, and support to parents to help them better understand and access education services for children at both the local district and state level. Our Negotiating
Our Negotiating the Special Education Maze and Teacher Support Team Training and Parents Rights Under No Child Left Behind Training, enable parents to develop tools and skills needed to engage themselves in policy formation and implementation. Parents are enabled to work in support of each other to hold the local school board accountable to the formation and adoption of education policies that are family centered. Parents are also enabled to work in support of each other to hold school personnel accountable to implementing practices and policies that support the effective development of children and youth.
PETS, coupled with our Youth Leadership Development initiative, creates an environment through education, training, and support to enable adults and students to work together to build an effective high quality public education system through an African American lens [defining the elements of a quality public education and healthy school as the foundation for a quality public education, dismantling the achievement gap, school financing and funding].
Environmental Education & The Arts: Our Environmental Education & The Arts Program holds public officials accountable to building healthy communities by maintaining healthy water, land, and air in the Holmes County community. Young people are enabled to experience the Holmes County community as a classroom. The Environmental Education and the Arts program makes use of the visual arts — technology driven media, drawing, coloring — as medium to engage youth and accelerate place-based learning. The program provides an exciting opportunity for civic participation in local government.
Reading Program: Our Reading Program serves children and youth ranging from pre-school aged to 15-years-old. It is a cooperative learning environment in which children read and are read to by older students. Children read for comprehension and to develop a love for reading. Special consideration is given to ensure that participants develop skills in paying attention, focusing, following directions, taking turns, and social etiquette. The program also works to exposes children and youth to African American authors. Participants engage in interactive table games; word games such as Boggle, Scrabble, and Scrabble Junior; and board games like chess, checkers, and dominoes.
Youth Governance Initiative: Our Youth Governance Initiative fosters the development of skills/tools through the publication of Citizens Voices newsletter and our online blog. It provides an opportunity for participation in civic engagement, policy development, and for student leadership at both the school and community level. The Youth Governance Initiative provides an opportunity to engage students in place-based learning with the members of the larger community, builds the capacity of young people to understand their collective power to impact policy formation, and builds the capacity of young people to develop leadership skills and engage in social justice movement work. The program enables the development of power through community organizing to build high performing, high quality, healthy, safe schools and opportunity for student leadership.
Prevention of Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Project: The Prevention of Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Project minimizes youth and families interface with the Juvenile Justice system at both the local and state level. We provide support to familes as they navigate the juvenile justice process. As a part of our work, we hold local systems accountable to the development of a community-based system of care for youth and their families. We provide advocacy services on behalf of youth and their family at both school administrative and youth court hearings upon request. We continue to work to build a coordinated system of care for youth friendly policies/practices, which inlcudes advocating against the adoption and implementation of zero tolerance and similar policies that push children out of schools and into the juvenile justice system.
We are partners with the Mississippi Coalition for the Prevention of Schoolhouse to Jailhouse, a statewide group of educators, community, legal, and public policy groups. The Coalition has dedicated themselves to working for cost effective and humane methods to close the Mississippi Schoolhouse to Jailhouse pipeline and reform its wasteful, ineffective juvenile justice system.