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Hope Village seeks money

By Staff
HOPE VILLAGE FOR CHILDREN Frederick Wilson, a youth care worker at Hope Village for Children tosses a ball Friday to two boys who live at the home. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star.
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
August 10, 2002
Hope Village for Children has flourished since it opened in December, but the executive director said she needs more staff before the home can reach its full potential.
The home for abused and neglected children has five cottages on campus, but only three have children living in them. One is an emergency shelter, one houses boys and the other houses girls.
Renovation is complete on the other two cottages and they are mostly furnished. But Hope Village Executive Director Carrie Ponder said she doesn't have the money for additional staff.
Ponder said Hope Village is seeking grants to help add new staff, but some money is needed to start that process.
Hope Village's largest funding source is a grant from the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. The state Department of Human Services also reimburses the home for the care of the children.
Hope Village also is supported financially by the United Way of East Mississippi, the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, the Entertainment Industry Foundation and the state Division of Public Safety.
The home also receives other grants, and contributions, as well as proceeds from various fund-raisers.
The program
Ponder said some people "have the idea that house parents are the best way to run a program like ours."
As a group home, Ponder said, Hope Village must have one staff person for every five children.
Each cottage is licensed for 10 children. Therefore, each cottage needs two staff members on duty at all times one of which must have a degree to comply with state licensing requirements.
She said case workers staff the home in shifts, giving the children an opportunity to connect and interact with several people in a parental role.
The goal
Hope Village for children has broad parameters for the children it serves.
Tina Dyess, director of residential services at Hope Village, said one of the most detrimental things that can happen to a child is moving them frequently from place to place.
She said Hope Village is committed to being a place the children can return to if they have to leave a foster home.

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