Poplarville reads: feeding the mind, feeding the soul

Published 7:00 am Saturday, October 8, 2016

Daphne Stevens, program director at Early Years Network, shows off some of her favorite books in the resource center. Photo by Julia Arenstam

Daphne Stevens, program director at Early Years Network, shows off some of her favorite books in the resource center.
Photo by Julia Arenstam

Joan Anderson, the district manager for Brooks Restaurants, which owns the Poplarville Burger King, is partnering with the Poplarville Reads project to provide an area for children with reading material while they dine.

An idea that began in Hattiesburg has since trickled down to Pearl River County, adding children’s reading nooks to local restaurants.

“Reading feeds the mind, and Burger King feeds the soul,” Anderson said.

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Children that come into participating locations are encouraged to grab a book from the new area, which opens Tuesday, which they can even take home with them, Anderson said.

She hopes to install reading nooks in all 27 of Brooks Restaurants.

Dr. Carolyn Tedford, certification manager for Poplarville Excel By 5, has been campaigned hard in Poplarville to gather book donations, and garner interest from other businesses to participate in the program.

So far Dimple’s Fried Chicekn, Deb’s Pizza, Potlickers, Pearl River Drug Co. and Dr. Estep have expressed interest in setting up similar programs, Tedford said.

“The goal is to keep the books coming,” she said.

She has been speaking to the Poplarville Chamber of Commence, Women’s Club, Rotary Club and the city of Poplarville to generate donations, Tedford said.

Last year, she helped open the Resource and Referral Center at Pearl River Community College.

The center was opened as part of the Excel By 5 program. Tedford became involved Excel By 5 in along with Dr. William Lewis, president of PRCC, Brenda Wells and the Early Years Network.

The Excel By 5 program was created as a way for the city to support families with young children, Tedford said.

The program’s main goal was to survey the community and find out which resources were most needed in terms of health care, early care and education, community involvement and family and parent support.

Through that survey, they created a resource directory that outlines resources available in the county that fall under those five categories, Tedford said.

Through the PRCC Foundation, they have been able to take over an unused classroom and transform it into a free resource center for anyone in the area who has a need for it.

They provide countless resources for families, childcare workers and education providers.

The facility allows anyone access to toys, games, books, paper materials, laminators, copy machines, or anything else one might need to help their child with a project or learn new things, Daphne Stevens and Emily Davis, program directors of Early Years Network, said.

The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. It is located at 101 Highway 11 North in Poplarville.

Book donations are being accepted at that location or in the administration office at PRCC.

For more information about the center, visit childcaremississippi.com or call 601-403-1492.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at the Poplarville Burger King, located at 105 Highway 26, at 11 a.m. where they will be raffling off a bike donated by Coca-Cola.


About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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