Design with Data Workshop

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Allison Washington | Director of Communications & Community Engagement | allison@volunteermississippi.org | (601) 432-6228

Volunteer Mississippi and the Center for Population Studies Roll Out Design with Data Workshop Series to Support Laurel Area Organizations Serving Rural Mississippi.

Design with Date Workshop Series will help organizations submit high quality applications for grants funding evidence-based or evidence-informed interventions.

LAUREL, Miss. — Volunteer Mississippi, in partnership with the Center for Population Studies at the University of Mississippi, will host a 2-day Design with Data workshop on August 17th-18th from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Thursday and 9:00 am – 1:00 pm Friday at the YWCO, located at 480 W. Oak Street, in Laurel.

This NO COST workshop is targeted toward organizations that are interested in applying for AmeriCorps State grants.  During the workshop, Volunteer Mississippi and the Center for Population Studies staff members will provide organizations with guidance, tools, and instruction on creating logic, models, and share information on accessing and assessing research and data to support program design.  Organizations that serve rural areas are encouraged to register.

“Organizations that serve rural areas in our state provide critical services for many Mississippians, which is why we want to ensure those organizations are equipped with the tools necessary to successfully apply for competitive grants,” said Caitlin Brooking, director of program development for Volunteer Mississippi.  “The goal of this workshop is to produce stronger applicants in the grant process, so organizations can secure funding for key projects and continue doing great work in rural communities.”

Design with Data workshop attendees will learn how to design program interventions, identify and select meaurable program outcomes, create a logic model, use academic research and data to support program proposals, interpret research results, and incorporate research as evidence to support program proposals.

In addition to this workshop, Volunteer Mississippi and the Center for Population Studies will be hosting Design with Data workshops in Natchez on September 7th-8th, and Philadelphia on September 21st-22nd.  To register for our Design with Data workshops, click here or contact Caitlin Brooking at 769.257.4827 or cbrooking@ihl.state.ms.us.  To learn more about Volunteer Mississippi, visit www.volunteermississippi.org or call (888) 353-1793.

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Start Small — Do Big: The Power of Baby Steps

The Power of Baby Steps

The Laurel Mercantile has a fantastic print and now a mug with the uplifting saying, “We have the POWER to do this.”  This phrase was coined by the director of the HGTV series, Home Town, during their first summer of filming in sweltering South Mississippi.  However, this phrase can be applied to anything.  We like to apply this winning saying to our efforts as a Main Street America Accredited organization.  

What started as a small, grass-roots movement to bring back Laurel’s downtown to its former glory has become a booming trend!  It didn’t happen overnight or even over a year, but with a series of small, incremental improvements, these efforts provided momentum for long-term economic transformation and improved quality of life in our community.  In the world of small towns and Main Street organizations this is referred to as “incrementalism.” Incrementalism is not flashy.  It’s several small changes that take place over a period of time… like a domino chain reaction in slow motion. 

Incremental Work

For decades, the community and economic development field was hooked on what Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center calls the “silver-bullet solution.” Shrinking budgets sent city leaders on a search for the “one big thing” that would transform their local economy, whether it was a big new commercial development, a pedestrian mall, or a convention center on the outskirts of town.  Those of you who lived in Laurel through Urban Renewal will definitely remember the development of all these things.  However, through years of research, we have learned that what our town has is much more important than what it’s missing.  By focusing on what sets our community apart from others, Laurel Main Street, together with the City of Laurel and our partners, has been able to restore a thriving city center in downtown.

One of the special things about being part of Main Street America is that we aren’t doing this incremental work alone. We rely on a national network of partners and supporters.  We are incredibly thankful for our city leaders for creating the environment for success by adding wayfinding signage,  improving our streets, adding lighting, bike paths, ad valorem tax credits and continuing to work toward improving city services that businesses rely on.

Some would say that a town’s exports are the measure of its success, but at Laurel Main Street we believe it’s the people, not the products that are the heart of our town’s success story. These small steps and small victories have provided Laurel residents with an optimism about the future, a true sense of community pride, and a productive spirit of unity.  We consider that a true success story.

Laurel Celebrates Mississippi Bicentennial with Community Photo Stories

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Laurel, Mississippi – July 27, 2017 – Blue Magnolia Films in partnership with The City of Laurel, Laurel Main Street, The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Chisholm Foundation and local organizers, will host a FREE public screening, Saturday, July 29, 7- 9 p.m. at Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, to premiere a series of photo stories, produced by local community leaders, to commemorate the Mississippi Bicentennial.

The photo stories, each three minutes in length, will celebrate the theme, “Home Is Our Heritage” highlighting the importance of Laurel’s unique heritage from diverse perspectives.

Resulting photos stories will be posted online using social media and will be integrated into downtown revitalization projects, including a “walkable” gallery, community events and a book project highlighting Bicentennial stories around the state.

Participants include: Akeem Davis (free agent, NFL), Katrina Cox (Choral Director, Maddox Elementary School), Samantha Nowicki (Lauren Rogers Museum of Art), Richard and Portland Brown (Hair World), Larry and Pamela Thomas (Thomas Pharmacy), Chris Wilson (Realtor), Joseph Cooley (Artist), Katelyn Bryant (Teacher, Maddox Elementary School) and Brooke Davis (Black Horn Productions).

Additional support provided by Laurel Mayor, Johnny Magee, Laurel Chamber of Commerce, and local caterers, Marilyn Fuquay and Rod Hollins/Hi5Eats.

 Laurel is one of ten cities elected to participate in “Celebrating Storytelling”, a Mississippi Bicentennial project that will culminate with 100 community voices by the end of the year.

Alison Fast, Founder of Blue Magnolia Films says, “Storytelling is a powerful way to pay homage to the themes that have carried Laurel from its beginnings, and will continue to guide the success stories of people who live here and make Laurel ‘home’.” 

WHAT:  Celebrating Storytellers: Home Is Our Heritage (Mississippi Bicentennial Event)

WHEN: Saturday, July 29, 7-9 PM

WHERE: The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art

WHO: 9 community storytellers 

CONTACTS: Alison Fast c. 310-497-7109/ Email: alison@bluemagnoliafilms.com 

Judi Holifield  judi@laurelmainstreet.com Tel: 601-433-3255 

LINKS: www.bluemagnoliafilms.com / FB: @BlueMagnoliaFilms

COST: Free and open to the public. 

Laurel, MS is Home to State’s Only Maker Camp©

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Rhye or Jenny McLeod

(601) 580-8773

info@centralcreativity.com

Laurel, MS is Home to State’s Only Maker Camp©

Laurel, MS — July 5, 2017 — Central Creativity has been designated as an official Maker Camp©, making it the only Maker Camp in the state of Mississippi.  Maker Camp is part of Maker Media, which includes Make: magazine and Maker Faire®.  Each organization is rigorously evaluated throughout a six-month process before being awarded affiliate status.

Maker Camps can be found around the world. Many libraries, makerspaces, and community centers are hosting Maker Camps.  Maker Camp provides simple, fun ways for kids to get involved in MAKING.  Over 1 million kids have participated in Maker Camp since it launched in 2012.

The Maker Movement is a growing movement in education.  It offers students the chance to work with new technological materials, while providing expanded opportunities and learning through firsthand experience. It’s bringing electronics, programming, and computational mathematics together in meaningful ways. It’s more than just high-tech gadgetry, though. It’s about “hands-on” crafting, and the discovery process that occurs when we create and evaluate.  The Maker Movement overlaps with the natural curious inclinations of children and the power of learning by doing.  In short, The Maker Movement incorporates the arts, engineering, and science in a cooperative learning environment.

“What you see in the Maker Movement is a wide range of people, young and old, who are developing their talents and discovering new ways to solve interesting, everyday problems by working together on projects. Making is a meaningful form of personal expression that fosters creativity, builds community and encourages the collaborative practice of innovation.”

Dale Dougherty, Founder & CEO, Make:

Central Creativity is a dynamic, innovative learning facility that provides immersive instruction in art, music, drama, craft, science, culinary arts, math, engineering, technology, reading, and writing for students in grades PreK-12.  All members of our faculty are dedicated education professionals who employ a student-focused, energetic approach to teaching that sparks critical, creative, and imaginative thinking.  The goal of Central Creativity is to empower the minds of Mississippi’s bright young learners so they can become champions of critical and creative thought in our community and beyond. 

Central Creativity’s Summer Camp series launches July 10th. Visit www.centralcreativity.com to enroll.

Mississippi Main Street Annual Awards

Rescue, Renovation, and Rewards

In 2013, the old Laurel WAML radio station photos were displayed at a Mississippi Main Street Association meeting on design. A re-use project idea for the building stumped the panel and demolition seemed to be the best option.

Thankfully, Kenny and Carrie Mann came forward with a creative vision that no one else could have imaged — a microbrewery in downtown Laurel.  Kenny is a former maritime chief engineer with 13 years of sea time.  His wife, Carrie, is a long time employee of the Laurel School District.  They were experienced home brewers with the dream of someday opening their own brewery.  In April 2015, the couple purchased the unsightly building and started on the repairs.  After months of renovations, painting, and product tests, Slowboat Brewing Company held its first tour that December.  The conversion of this property has allowed a new business to become a thriving success and a welcome addition for places to go and things to do in downtown Laurel.

On Thursday, June 15, 2017, The Manns were recognized by the Mississippi Main Street Association for their Outstanding Adaptive Reuse Project.  This award is granted to the best reuse of a building that has outlived its former use.

Pictured L-R: Carrie and Kenny Mann, Judi Holifield (Laurel Main Street Executive Director), Truitt Taylor (Laurel Main Street Board Member), and Larkin Simpson (VP at Economic Development Authority of Jones County)

 

Something to Celebrate

The Manns are active craft beer advocates and are involved in the Mississippi craft beer community.  Their passion for their craft draws people into their brewery.  The live music, games, friendly atmosphere, and great beer keep the crowds coming.  On July 1st, Slowboat will celebrate another milestone — the ability to actually sell their beer on premises!  House Bill 1322 allows Mississippi breweries that produce no more than 60,000 barrels of light beer or wine per year to sell up to two cases of their product per day per customer.  Patrons of Slowboat Brewing Company will not only enjoy on-site beer sales, but also growler fills, multiple new beers, specialty casks, food trucks, and plenty of live music.

Slowboat’s main focus is small batch artisan styles, including Farmhouse, Sour, Spontaneously fermented wild ales, Belgian style, Barrel-aged, experimental ales, and an ever evolving collection of popular American craft beer styles.