OKOLONA, Miss. (WTVA)-- Baby Steps is a non-profit, parent empowerment organizaton that was started 10 years ago by Okolona native William Raspberry.
"The big thing is we are trying to transform a community," said Leah Ward, president of Baby Steps, Inc.
Wards says the organization is the vision of Raspberry.
"He went to several community people, talked about his idea, talked to the early child care providers and found a group of like minded people who helped him put his vision into practice," said Ward.
The Pultizer Prize winner graduated from Fannie Carter High, now know as Okolona High. Ward says her uncle passed away last year, but Baby Steps continues to move his vision and mission forward.
"Our goal is to help parents develop the skills and the strategies to develop that wonderful learning environment in their home. So that they can set their children up for success as they move into Kindergarten and throughout their primary school years," said Ward.
Ward says Baby Steps works to achieve this goal in a number of ways including, bi-monthly parent education sessions and one-on-one home visits.
"So far, they've done a great job with the children. My little girl has learned a lot. I think she's prepared or getting there for Kindergarten," said Baby Steps parent Annetta Huggins.
Ward says currently, the organization serves 50 families in the community and they are continuing to grow.
"What we also do is, after they go into the elementary school, we don't just let them go. We continue to support them with enrichment class," she said.
Ward says Baby Steps has grown tremendously over the years, but they are continuing to add new programs including the B-E-S-T program. B-E-S-T stands for Boys, Early, Success, Team.
They are looking for young male professionals who are willing to donate a minimum of three hours a month to mentor 3 and 4 year old boys.
If you are interested you can contact Baby Steps in Okolona.