2017 has been a fun year so far!
We are continuing our youth programming, and we also started a homework center, where middle school and high school students can come after school to complete homework, do projects, or just hang out with their friends. Our technology equipment expanded, thanks to a donation from First Baptist Church, Waco, and United Way of Cleveland-Bolivar County. We now have 9 desktop computers, and 5 laptops that the youth can use for homework, applying for college, studying for the ACT, and connecting with friends.
We are also partnering with the City of Shaw to build a community park in the location of the Old Headstart in Shaw. So far, we have a basketball court, benches, a gazebo, and a playground. We are fundraising for a fence, and a swingset, and the children in the community are very excited to see our park grow.
We have had a lot of wonderful volunteer teams, and our youth leaders have been working hard as well. We are renovating our building, to include a new bathroom, a new front entrance, and a designated office space. We will soon start fundraising for a new kitchen.
We started a youth leadership class with 12 high school students in January. During these weekly meetings, we learned leadership and personal development. We went on two college visits. University Baptist Church in Hattiesburg sponsored us to see University of Southern Mississippi, and University Baptist Church in Starkville sponsored us to see Mississippi State University. These youth leaders were trained to be group leaders for summer camp. For volunteering during the summer, they were each reward a small stipend, and were able to attend DHH's first mission trip to Dallas, TX! This fall, we are doing a photography and oral history program, and continuing the leadership class.
Our middle school girls are learning about the Bible and soft skills. They were also able to do a summer arts and drama program this summer, where they painted an emoji mural and participated in a storytelling/civil rights program.
Summer camp was a blast! We had 5 weeks of camp for kids in grades kindergarden-5th grade. Every day, we did reading, education, recreation, Bible study, music, and enrichment activities with the kids. We had 5 church groups during the summer (First Baptist Church (Macon, GA), First Baptist Church (Greenwood, SC), Wilshire Baptist Church (Dallas, TX), Calvary Baptist Church (Cleveland, MS) and First Baptist Church (Waco, TX) and even had MS Fisheries, Wildlife, and Parks come for a week! We had so much fun!
We helped with school garden at McEvans Elementary. This summer, First Baptist Church from Waco, TX came and built us a greenhouse that we can use year-round. Our youth leaders also partnered with the greenhouse to keep the food growing during the summer.
Great things happened at DHH this year!
During MLK Jr. Weekend, local students from Shaw, University Baptist (Hattiesburg), and Northminster Baptist (Jackson) got together for a weekend in Shaw full of fun, missions, and fellowship.
During spring break, a family group from Wilshire Baptist (Dallas, TX), and a college group from First Baptist (Waco, TX) came to Shaw. The groups hosted a children's camp for the local kids, and over 100 kids participated! They also did many construction and "face-lift" projects at our building, including painting the inside of our building, building a tool bench. We also partnered with McEvans Elementary to clean classrooms, and paint the teacher's lounges.
DHH partnered with Together for Hope Louisiana (TFHLA) to do two cultural immersion trips. The directors of TFHLA (Jenny Hodge) and DHH (Lane Riley) took 5 girls to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and to the beach in May! We had wonderful host families from members of partnering churches.
This summer, we fed 6,787 meals to over 200 children! We had a wonderful volunteers from many different churches including Wilshire (Dallas, TX), First Baptist (Athens, GA), Calvary Baptist (Cleveland, MS), First Baptist (Waco, TX), University Baptist (Hattiesburg, MS), United Rock of Ages Missionary Baptist Church (Shaw, MS), and Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church (Shaw, MS). We did many activities including reading, science projects, arts and crafts, and recreation. Special thanks to everyone who volunteered or donated supplies!
We continued the Middle Girls Bible study in the fall. We had our first retreat, where we stayed in the mission house, toured Delta State, had a bonfire, and built stronger relationships.
2014 has been a very busy year for DHH. We applied for 501(c)(3) non-profit status, hired our first program director (Lane Riley), and began the process of buying a building. I am happy to announce that we will be closing on the building soon!
We have done several programs over the summer, including running a USDA Summer Food Service program, sponsored by Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Mississippi, where we were able to feed children 18 and younger twice a week all summer long. We incorporated educational and recreational activities in this program.
We also hosted many other events:
- Teen Pizza and Game Night
- Baking Day with the children and the adults of Forever Youthful Adult Center
- Feed and Read (Literacy program on the days of the SFSP)
- Community Clean-up(co-sponsored with the City of Shaw)
- Shaw Community Leadership meeting
- Beautification projects
- Cultural Exchange program with Japanese students at Ole Miss
- Incorporated in the state of Mississippi
- Met with local leaders to focus on our vision and our mission. The community decided to concentrate on children and youth in the areas of health, education, recreation, and spiritual development.
- Initial meeting with the Presentation Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- A beautification project
- Assets mapping program. Identified strengths and assets in Shaw.
- Wilton Baptist Church did its second beautification projects (painted several downtown buildings, cleaned debris from vacant lots,
- Wilton Baptist Church (Wilton, CT) did its first beautification project in Shaw in partnership with Stranger's Home Missionary Baptist Church (Shaw, MS)