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CAY, Junior League offer parenting power sessions for Jackson-area families

Published on Tuesday, August 29, 2017

By: Annie Oeth

NOTE: This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of CONSULT, UMMC's monthly electronic newsletter. To have CONSULT, and more stories like this, delivered directly to your inbox, click here to subscribe.

Advice from experts served up with a free dinner and child care, offered after school and work hours?

A new series of programs, offering just that, is open to the public by the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Center for the Advancement of Youth and the Junior League of Jackson.

The series of programs will tackle topics of specific interest to parents, including Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, anxiety, depression, learning strategies and parenting skills.

Each will be a one-hour “power session,” said Dr. David Elkin, professor of psychiatry and CAY’s executive director, “with time for questions from the audience.”

“Improving the health of children and youth in our community is a goal of the Junior League of Jackson,” said Jean Bertas, who chairs the Junior League of Jackson project. “By providing information to families, teachers and youth workers in a convenient format, we can help our children live up to their full potential.”


The project began as a way to reach out to the surrounding community, said Sara Hart Fellows, CAY’s community relations coordinator.

“The first time a family comes into CAY with their child, we tell them, ‘Welcome to the family.’” She said. “Families need to know that we are in this together.”

With that in mind, she said, “We began to ask: ‘What can we do for families outside the walls of CAY?’”

The idea was born.

CAY submitted the project proposal to the Junior League of Jackson, a longtime ally of pediatrics at UMMC.

While patient families may have been an inspiration for the talks, anyone is welcome to attend, Fellows said.

“It would be great if this series of talks in the community could also reach teachers, youth and children’s ministers and foster-care families – people who are hungry to know more.”

The program will give parents and other community members a time to interact with experts in a relaxed atmosphere, Elkin said.

“It’s not a cold, sterile medical environment. This will let families and others ask questions, learn and get to know care providers from UMMC.”

Just in time for the new school year, the first program in the series, scheduled Sept. 21, will be devoted to how children learn. Later programs will include:

 • Mood Disorders on Oct. 19;
 • Parenting Young Children on Nov. 16;
 • ADHD on Jan. 4, 2018;
 • Healthy Habits on Feb. 22, 2018;
 • Parenting Teens on March 22, 2018;
 • Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder on April 12, 2018.

All of the programs will take place from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Norman C. Nelson Student Union on UMMC’s main campus.

Junior League members will be on hand to serve dinner to attendees and entertain children while their parents are learning. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m. for registration and dinner on a first-come basis.

For more information, call Fellows at (601) 209-5504 or email her at