Partnerships for a healthy future focus of April Lunch and Learn at PRCC

Published 2:31 pm Monday, April 24, 2023

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Partnerships for a healthy future in Pearl River County were the focus at the April 18th Lunch and Learn hosted at Pearl River Community College. The event’s goal was to provide broader awareness of organizations working to support the youngest members of the community, children up to the age of 5.

PRCC President, Dr. Adam Breerwood, greeted attendees before an invocation was led by Dr. Jennifer Seal, Vice President for Planning and Institutional Research/ Dean of the Dr. Williams Lewis Honors Institute (Poplarville.)

Speakers included Dr. Marcus Houston of Bright Steps Therapy, LLC, Forrest Health Business Development Coordinator Steve Reid, Poplarville Lower Elementary School Director of Special Services, Title IX Coordinator Stachia Peterson, Excel by 5 Community Coach Cathy Wilson, and Carol Williams on behalf of Poplarville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Bright Steps Therapy provides physical and occupational therapy services to all ages. Occupational therapists work with patients on skills needed to perform activities of daily living. Physical therapy focuses on target movements, strength, and endurance to promote skills needed to function independently and participate in their environment.

“Our goal is to educate families and our community about the importance of early intervention and seeking services as soon as possible if you develop a concern about your child,” said Houston. “Bright Steps sees the ability, not the disability, in every child. We hope to be a light and resource to our community.”

Reid gave an overview of Forrest Health facilities in the county as well as the services each provides. The Forrest Health Clinic in Poplarville has family medical providers that see patients from birth for routine care needs. Attached to Highland Hospital in Picayune are a pediatric clinic and a birthing center.

Peterson talked about services provided to children ages 3 to 5 on-site at Poplarville Lower Elementary School. Children who have been in First Steps for early intervention then come to them with the goal of having them ready for a regular classroom experience once they enter kindergarten. They work alongside programs like Head Start with some students attending the school in the morning with their afternoons spent at Head Start.

“We are always in search of children because not all children get identified through their pediatricians and their caregivers that they are in need of possible special ed services,” said Peterson. “The quicker we can intervene, the quicker we are setting children up to succeed and hopefully release them from special education services.”

Wilson brought together the way different agencies and organizations work together to assist young children. Alongside those services, it is community members that can help spread the word to those who may benefit from them.

“We believe that every child in the state of Mississippi deserves to be happy, healthy and ready to succeed,” said Wilson. “There’s a whole room full of people who came to hear what’s available for our children because they matter.

“Making sure you share this information is really important and I think you all are here because you know our children are our present, our children are our future.”

Williams, who currently is managing social media for the Poplarville Area Chamber of Commerce, shared about recent and upcoming events. The Easter Egg Hunt on April 10 was extremely popular with the kids with over 1500 eggs distributed. The Poplarville Museum, open on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, offers a glimpse of the town’s history and can make a good field trip destination. Also, they are happy to share the resources available to the community on their page.

The next Lunch and Learn will be in the fall. A special workshop on digital marketing and cybersecurity is being offered on May 3 at PRCC. The workshop is geared towards farmers and those selling in marketplaces and is in partnership with Mississippi State University.

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats), Instagram (PRCCWILDCATS), and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG).