Lakeshia Jackson took over the reins of program coordinator following the retirement of Donald Black last year, who held the position since OEI’s creation in 1999. Jackson and three of her friends started the Girlz Talk mentoring program Jan. 21.
OEI began with a grant from the Children and Youth Coordinating Council that funded it for the first three years to help at-risk students and their families. The program is now funded jointly by the Board of Education and the Jones County Board of Commissioners. Superior Court Clerk Bart Jackson is the program director.
Among the things the program does, OEI offers supervision of community service and juvenile traffic violators, tutoring twice weekly during the school year, individual and family assessment and counseling, weekly client school visitations, and structured summer programs. Juveniles are referred to the program through the school system as well as the Juvenile Justice Department.
The four leaders met with girls and their mothers in the Adult Education building Saturday to get the girls mentoring program started.
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