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Family Matters Conference begins Tuesday

By Staff
FAMILIES MATTER Sherri Gross, sitting, looks at a brochure from the upcoming Family Matters Conference. Her daughters, Laurie, left, and Natalie, stand next to Gross. Admission is free for both the parent conference and the youth rally next week. Photo by Penny Randall / The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall/staff writer
Feb. 15, 2002
The event begins with a parent conference Tuesday and ends with a youth rally Wednesday. The highlight will be guest speakers Jim Cook and Judge Eric Andell.
Organizers are expecting a large crowd to attend the event, including the 6 p.m. Tuesday parent conference at Mississippi State University-Meridian Campus.
The youth rally begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Neshoba County Coliseum. Entertainment will be provided by "Sly Levi."
Choctaw Indian Princess Shawntye Vaughn also will be on hand to meet participants. The rally will include door prizes and other activities.
Keynote speakers
Cook has provided training across the country to youths, parents, community leaders, the military, executives and professionals.
He is considered by many as one of the best management consultant and trainers today. A retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, Cook has advanced degrees in theology, organizational and human behavior and management.
Andell, the second speaker, is actively working on the development of new and expanded programs focusing on the need for early education in public schools.
Andell serves as senior adviser to U. S. Education Secretary Rod Paige.
Andell has served as chairman of the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission; chairman of the program for "At Risk Students," sponsored by the Harris County Education Foundation; and chairman of the Advisory Council, Aspiring Youth of Houston.
A community effort
Family Matters is a community effort of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Hardy Manufacturing Co. Inc., Wal-Mart, WTOK-TV, Citizens Bank, W.G. Yates and Son Construction Co. and many others.
The Family Matters Conference gave youths a chance to design a logo for this year's T-shirt. Children were given the theme of "You Have the Power."
The winner was 11-year-old Lydia Burns.
Lydia is the daughter of Henry and Pamela Burns of Collinsville. Lydia will be honored on stage at the youth rally Wednesday.
Youths attending will receive a free T-shirt when they bring two canned goods. The food which will be donated to Hope Village for Children.