For those who hopped aboard today's "Where the Children Play" tour, hearing the children play on their newly rebuilt playgrounds was music to their ears.
"Listening to the squeals of joy from children is a more powerful testimony than anything I could possibly say," says Donald Taylor, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services.
Children at The Holy Guardian Angels Day Care in Biloxi and Edna's Child Development Center in Gulfport have a safe place to play thanks to the state's early childhood reconstruction project. The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) has used more than 21 million dollars to help rebuild and restore safe playgrounds. Those with MDHS say the rebuilding process could not have moved forward without childcare.
"Childcare is such an integral part of economic development. Usually, both parents are in the workforce, and people have to have a quality childcare facility," says Taylor.
For LaTanya Miller, an in-home childcare provider , the project provided a new playground along with supplies and equipment.
"We're really excited and have really been blessed by this project. It's really helped," says Miller.
The Director of the Office for Children and Youth, Julia Todd, said those involved in the partnership between the Mississippi Department of Human Services and Mississippi State University were completely committed to the project.
"It has been not 100 percent commitment but 1,001 percent commitment on every part of every one that has played such an important role of making this happen for our children," says Todd.
MDHS and Mississippi State University estimate more than 10,000 children will benefit from the safer playground within the first year.
"I just know the people that are receiving this equipment and these supplies will be forever grateful," says Todd.