Two recent ribbon cuttings affirm that now is a pretty good time to be a kid in the City Beautiful.
On Tuesday October 4, at 9 a.m. the Jones County Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting at the King Star Head Start center on West 6th Street to celebrate the grand opening of Nurture Our Future’s Mobile Children’s Museum. Nurture Our Future is a non-profit organization that provides support for children ages 0-10 and their parents. They provide educational experiences as well as resources such as books, clothing, and toys. They also serve as the Jones County community partner for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Since 2021, they have enrolled over 1,000 children in the program to receive free books. Their new mobile museum, also known as The Brain Bus, will continue their mission of education, enrichment, and support by providing a fun way to take learning experiences to children throughout the county. The project began last year when Nurture Our Future was able to purchase a school bus from the Laurel City School District. The bus was redesigned inside and out receiving interior play and learn stations and an exterior wrap designed by local artist Adam Trest. The fun machine made its debut after the official ribbon cutting when children from the King Star Head Start center were able to give its attractions a “test drive”. The Brain Bus also made a stop at the Central Avenue Block Party on October 22. More information about the Brain Bus and Nurture Our Future can be found at nurtureourfuture.org.
On Thursday, October 27th, only a few days after the Brain Bus made its appearance downtown, another organization serving children celebrated its own ribbon cutting. Magnolia Pediatric Extended Care held their ribbon cutting at 9 a.m. at their facility on N. 12th Ave. Magnolia Pediatric Extended Care is a prescribed pediatric extended care (PPEC) service that provides day services for children 0-20 with medically complex needs. Families with children who require special services are often left struggling to find resources for their children because they are unable to go to school or traditional daycare facilities. In the past, these families would hire private nurses for one-on-one in-home care. However, this solution did not allow the child the ability to get out and socialize with other children and it caused hardship on parents who needed to be at work. PPECs solve these problems by providing a skilled nursing environment alongside educational and enrichment opportunities for children who need them. Magnolia Pediatric Extended Care began when Barbie Clark, a nurse from Louisiana who had been working with children in their homes, learned about the PPEC model and decided to start her own. She started her first PPEC in Louisiana and now she and her children, Laine Brister and John Flemister, own and operate facilities in Monroe, Vicksburg, Shreveport, Jackson, Tyler, Texas, and Laurel. Their Laurel facility, which celebrated its first anniversary on October 20th, provides services to children in Jones, Wayne, Jasper, and Covington Counties. Children who receive services at Magnolia are cared for by RNs and LPNs and receive physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy throughout the week. The facility is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and currently serves 21 children. The program is fully funded by Medicaid and does not create an out-of-pocket expense for parents. Many children served by the facility are also eligible to be picked up at home and taken to the facility and back home again by staff members.
“Laurel has excellent healthcare,” Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee said during the ribbon cutting ceremony. “We’re glad that this is another addition to our healthcare.”
More information about this program can be found at magnoliapec.com or by calling 601.682.1250.
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