Another south Mississippi community is making strides in helping children grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn. Stone County is the newest Excel by 5 Certified community. Judy Bechtel, one of the volunteers working on the coalition says it's been a wonderful journey. Bechtel said their mission was to bring more child-friendly activities to Stone County, and they've done just that.
In the three years they've been working toward certification, the Excel by 5 Stone County coalition has hosted numerous health and safety fairs, and created some amazing partnerships. The coalition is now working with the Stone County Library, Headstart, the public school system, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Gulf Coast Children's Clinic and Stone County Hospital. Together, they're bringing new opportunities to children birth to age five in Stone County.
United Way is now offering Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to newborns in the county, too! A free book every month for babies until they're five.