Conference on faith-based programs held next week

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Sadie Bacon of Natchez knows the needs of children in Southwest Mississippi. As a case manager supervisor for the Adams-Jefferson-Franklin-Claiborne Community Action Agency, she sees every day children without adequate clothing, housing and food. She sees parents without jobs and those who fear losing their jobs in the coming months.

&uot;What can be done to help these people,&uot; Bacon said, wondering about funds that do not appear to be flowing into some of the areas in most desperate circumstances.

&uot;There is money somewhere. Let some of it flow. Let it help to repair the houses that are falling in and the families that need food,&uot; she said.

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In a one-day conference chock-full of information and ideas, Felicia Whittington of Jackson hopes to inspire participants to work for a better future for children and, as Bacon suggests, to explore ways to find new money to provide at least basic needs to those doing without them.

Bacon, in fact, will be one of the speakers. She will provide an overview of what she sees day after day. &uot;Jobs are closing down and utilities are going up. People need food stamps and can’t get them. Where do we go from here?&uot; Bacon said.

Whittington, founder and CEO of Now

Today Tomorrow: Preparing Great Minds for the Future, is bringing experts and inspirational speakers to Natchez on May 31 for a faith-based and community initiative meeting at the Natchez Convention Center, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Already, the organizer has received registrations from participants coming from Oklahoma, Connecticut, Louisiana and many cities in Mississippi.

&uot;We certainly want a good representation of people from Natchez. We want people who are active in the community already and then we want to capture some who might be emerging in the community in leadership roles,&uot; Whittington said. &uot;Our whole mission is developing partnerships to help children.&uot;

Bacon, for instance, said her agency already has partnerships with churches and charities. &uot;You have to do that,&uot; she said.

Who should attend the conference? Whittington already has registrants representing churches, nonprofits and other groups that focus on needs of children.

&uot;People don’t know all the resources available to them and all the ways they can form partnerships to make them stronger,&uot; she said. &uot;We want participants to learn how to be stronger themselves and then to go back to their church or other organization and to empower others.&uot;

The conference will include these topis, for example:

4Federal funding opportunities for faith-based and nonprofit organizations.

4Economic support for rural America and home ownership opportunities.

4Insights on the White House faith-based and community initiatives.

4Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Mississippi mentoring initiatives.

4Learning grant-writing skills.

4Program models to implement in churches and organizations.

Registration is essential, Whittington said. In fact, to enter the conference, participants must bring registration confirmation and number.

&uot;We will do our best to accommodate all of those who want to attend,&uot; said Whittington, who expects at least 500 at the event.

Registration is $70 per person. More information about registering is available at (601) 982-2936 or (601) 442-1015. Or registration fees may be mailed to Now Today Tomorrow, P.O. Box 4896, Jackson, MS 39296.