Incorporated in 1994, Nollie Jenkins Family Center’s (NJFC) initial design intentionally sought to create an inclusive setting that would provide safe, affordable and quality childcare for children from birth until five, and afterschool and summer programming for middle and high school students. The Center operated solely as a childcare facility in the city of Lexington for three years.
In the fall of 1997, NJFC relocated to Treadwell Grove, a rural community outside the city of Lexington. At this time, the Center’s mission shifted to providing a broader range of services for youth. The following spring the Center, recognizing the power of individual transformation and collective movement-building, expanded it's community organizing and child advocacy.
Nollie Jenkins Family Center, Inc., received its 501c(3) status on July 31, 2007. It remains a grassroots leadership development, education, and training organization, and is now located in Durant (Holmes County), MS.
More so now than ever, NJFC is actively engaged in the life and death struggle for the moral center of our nation and local communities. Poverty remains an intended consequence of conscious policies, education is still a gatekeeper, and racism is woven into the entire fabric of our culture and compounds every problem. Low-wealth rural communities of color are struggling to become architects rather than objects of policy in order to cast off these contrived burdens and open the gates to all children regardless of race, class, national origin, language, status, culture or sexual orientation. To achieve these goals it is not enough to be righteous; we must be organized with the capacity to impact the formation and implementation of policy in the public and private sectors.
In the Delta and central regions of Mississippi where Nollie Jenkins Family Center, Inc. toils, the politics of race and class sustains a bitter divide that frames most political, economic and social issues. In the past 3 years we have witnessed knock-down, drag-out state legislative wars over racially-motivated redistricting policies, anti-immigrant policies, massive cuts in public education funding, the advent of charter schools, and efforts to divert public funds to privatize public education. These struggles continue!
Rural Roots, February 2004
"50 Years After Brown, Parents and Students Fight for Equality in Mississippi’s Delta Schools"
By Elisabeth Higgins Null, Rural School and Community Trust
Janice Harper, NJFC Community Organizer and Advocate for Parents & Students for 12 years was recently selected by the Board as the new EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR.
Janice M. Harper served as Community Organizer and Advocate of Nollie Jenkins Family Center (NJFC) since September 2010, where she worked to develop and achieve positive changes that lead the community towards effective outcomes that positively change lives. She is an advocate for students’ educational rights, including the rights of families of children with special education needs. She works with young people in an intergenerational model of community and youth organizing that builds trust and confidence, and is an active participant in youth leadership development, parent training, policy advocacy, women and girls’ empowerment, and educating community members around positive alternatives to suspensions such as NJFC’s Scholars of Peace Peer Mediation Program.
Through NJFC's PETS (Parent Education Training & Support) program, Ms. Harper states that parents come first. This includes meeting them where they are and employing user-friendly training techniques that parents can understand. She also advocates on behalf of students and parents by attending meetings that lead to Individualized Education Program/Plans (IEP) and Due Process Hearings.
Ms. Harper serves on several local, state-wide & national educational committees and recently completed a 5-year term as Dignity in Schools Campaign’s Federal Strategies/Liaison Co-Chair. She currently represents NJFC on the DSC Coordinating Committee, a decision-making role for the National Coalition, along with serving as Co-Chair of the Supervision & Governance sub-committeeand as well as former member of the Fundraising & Finance sub-committee.
Working as an organizer, Ms. Harper has addressed concerns related to the state-wide Prevention of Schoolhouse-2-Jailhouse (School-to-Prison Pipeline) initiative and other related educational reform issues that are designed to keep students in school. The local organizing led to the success of NJFC’s local Campaign work and with the then appointed superintendent that culminated in the abolishment of corporal punishment in the Holmes County Consolidated School District in July 2018.
Janice holds an undergraduate AA degree in Business from Ashford University and resides in Holmes County, MS by way of her hometown in Illinois.
From: The Praxis Project
This Communities Building for Health video features Nollie Jenkins Family Center, a grassroots organization based in Durant, MS that is working towards improving the lives of young women and girls as well as the health and wellness of their community. Please visit their Facebook page to learn more and find ways to donate or support at: https://www.facebook.com/NJFCenter/
Latoyia began her journey with Nollie’s in 2019 as a volunteer. In 2021 she officially joined our staff as a part-time Administrative Assistant. Ms. Gordon holds a bachelor's degree in general studies with her concentration on Social Work and Sociology. She also obtained a Certificate in Gerontology all from Mississippi State University. She furthered her education by obtaining a master's in public health from Mississippi University for Women. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES).
She has worked as both a City Clerk and Court Clerk simultaneously for a municipality for over 8 years. Through her time as a Clerk, she gained both knowledge and experience in bookkeeping, billing, payroll and accounts receivable, as well as Municipal Court proceedings. Also, during her tenure as a clerk, she served as Coordinator for the Mayoral Health Council. It is through this role Ms. Gordon was able to portray her advocacy for mental health, public health, wellness, community service, led several annual health and wellness events, spear headed several initiatives, and became an advocate for many of the senior citizens within the community.
Aside from working as a part time Administrative Assistant for Nollie’s Ms. Gordon is a member of the MS Coalition to End Corporal Punishment focusing on No Hit-Zones which will create safe spaces inside of communities free from hitting.
She is in partnership with Excel by 5 and the local library in leading a series of parent workshops to help support parents of early childhood students. In addition to all of her many experiences, Ms. Gordon currently works a fulltime job in WIC Services at Mallory Community Health Center where she helps women, infants, and children combat food insecurity, make nutritional and healthy meal choices, and improve the overall health of families.
She is a believer in community service, educating on public health issues, and uplifting mental health and wellness services.
Each of NJFC Board of Directors' current members was selected based on their continuing involvement in grassroots community work and their commitment to support the ongoing need to build the capacity of Nollie Jenkins Family Center to implement its program of work.
Nollie Jenkins Family Center Board Members
Nollie Jenkins Family Center, Durant, MS
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25 Glendale St, Durant, Mississippi 39063, United States
Phone/Email 662-653-0122 firstname.lastname@example.org
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