The local branch of Families First for Mississippi recently opened a senior citizens room at its Family Resource Center inside the historic Fulton Grammar School.
Buddy Collins, Regional Coordinator for Families First for Mississippi, told The Times the room is available for use right away.
“We are excited to have the room complete and are hoping folks will take advantage of it,” Collins said. “It’s available for them to come in and have coffee and fellowship, to play games or have meetings.”
The nonprofit organization uses a “family oriented” and “multi-generational” approach to helping meet needs in the area. The “senior room” is their newest addition to meeting community needs.
Collins said with the latest room renovation, the state-protected building is serving a new purpose. For the first time in a generation, more of the former schoolhouse’s rooms are being used than there are empty.
“The building is continuing in its original purpose, serving people. Now it’s serving our senior citizens,” Collins said. “We are open to recommendations. We really want the seniors to make it their own.”
Members of Dixie Red Hats of Itawamba County recently visited the newly-opened room. Marilyn Leary, longtime member of the group, told The Times they are pleased to have a place to gather.
“We look forward to bringing a sack lunch and playing games for our next meeting, Leary said. “A place to meet for seniors is so needful in our area.”
Collins said he hopes others will take advantage of the room as well. Individuals or groups are welcome to bring food or have potluck gatherings. He hopes to schedule speakers and have events from time to time.
“Senior citizens are our most valuable and often our most under-served group,” he said. “We are excited about having a place for them to meet.”
Families First for Mississippi relies on partnerships with municipalities, schools, churches and other agencies to keep its costs low. The nonprofit organization also provides youth development and parenting education through seminars, workshops, classes and presentations.
Families First for Mississippi opened the local Family Resource Center in February 2018 inside the former schoolhouse, which was mostly empty at the time. The organization leases the space from the City of Fulton, which owns the building.
The organization’s website lists resource centers in 24 cities throughout Mississippi. The nearest to Itawamba is Tupelo’s, which offers programs aimed at helping a mix of people, including classes on improving effective parenting, healthy relationships, conflict resolution, life skills communication, responsible fatherhood and preventing domestic violence.
The local Family Resource Center is open from 8 a.m to 4 p.m Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. For information about the organization, call 662-346-5454.