Diversity and Community Engagement
The University of Mississippi

Community Chats – Denise Strub North Mississippi Family Center

“If you can nurture a healthy family, then you can prevent child abuse and neglect.” -Denise Strub

For this episode of Community Chats, we are joined by Denise Strub, director of the North MS Exchange Family Center (NMEFC). The NMEFC is committed to ending the cycle of child abuse and neglect by offering prevention, intervention, and educational services. Tune in to hear to Denise discuss some of the greatest challenges and rewards of working with families in our community to fulfill this mission and ensure safety for the children of Oxford and Lafayette County.

Originally from Ohio, Denise moved to Mississippi in the ‘70’s with her family and has lived here since. She graduated from Mississippi State University and worked in journalism and communications in towns across the state. She now divides her time between Oxford and Cleveland, balancing her work for a newspaper and the NMEFC. Diane started as a local member of the Exchange Club when she was asked to join the board and soon moved to the position of director where she has been for the past year. The outpouring of support from the community has been one of the most encouraging things to come out of this position for Diane. She mentions campus partners and local donors who are always willing to lend a helping hand. She keeps going on the fact that the work they are doing is proven to stop the cycle of abuse. “It excites me to know we’re making strides,” Diane says. Those strides come by educating and preventing abuse at the beginning and by everyone doing their part to recognize the signs of abuse when they see them.

The NMEFC has experienced what Diane calls a “reawakening” this year as they refurbish their site and adjust to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. They have reinstated their STAN (Stop the Abuse Now) program where their mascot Stan educated school-aged children on how to recognize abuse and help in their own way. On top of that, they are continuing their Raising Mothers to Rise program which helps teenage moms handle the stress and adjustments that come with new motherhood. “There are skill sand ways to prevent abuse,” Diane says. They present the new mothers with these skills so some stress can be alleviated and prevent the abuse and neglect before it even starts. These programs and others are all a part of NMEFC’s mission to stop the cycle of abuse and neglect.

If you want to get involved with NMEFC, you can contact them at nmsfamilycenter@gmail.com or you can visit their website at nmsfamilycenter.org.

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