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Durant hosts newest resource, referral center
DURANT, Miss. -- Early child care educators, families and other residents in the Durant area now have a new place to visit and borrow educational books, toys and games.
On Aug. 2, the North Central Mississippi Resource and Referral Center celebrated its grand opening, becoming the 18th center of its kind in the state.
Residents of Holmes County now have access to lending library materials, such as books, toys and puzzles; laminating services; die-cut machines; and other instructional resources. The center also provides access to early child care professionals and credential opportunities.
“We are excited to open our 18th resource and referral center in Durant,” said Louise E. Davis, Mississippi State University Extension professor and director of the Early Years Network. “The materials and resources in the centers give parents, providers and educators excellent tools for increasing quality care and creating a successful future for our children.”
The center is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Tuesdays, the center is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays.
Chad Allgood, associate director of the Early Years Network, said the collaborative project between the MSU Extension Service, the Early Years Network and Excel by 5 fulfilled each organization’s desire to help Mississippi’s children thrive.
“The Early Years Network is committed to growing Mississippi’s children, and by working together with Extension and Excel by 5, we were able to create a place for members of the community to have access to materials that will create happy, healthy children.”
Geraldine Sturgis, an Excel by 5 chairwoman, called the center’s opening “a dream come true.”
“We are here with energy and enthusiasm,” she said. “If we start with these children, they will grow, and our community can become what we want it to be.”
Durant Mayor Tasha Davis praised the resource and referral center as she visited with members of the community during the grand opening.
“I was so glad and very enthusiastic to see the community support,” the mayor said. “It’s a great resource for us to have in our community.”
In attendance were MSU School of Human Sciences Director Michael Newman, MSU Extension Coordinator for Holmes County Betsy Padgett, representatives from the Early Years Network and Excel by 5, local dignitaries and providers, and parents who are planning to use the resources in the center.
The Early Years Network is a program housed in the MSU Extension Service and funded by the Mississippi Department of Human Services Division of Early Childhood Care and Development to provide early care and education programs and materials for teachers, directors, children and families to improve the well-being of Mississippi’s children. For more information, visit the Early Years Network Facebook page or website at http://earlyyearsnetwork.msucares.com/.