JCCAC strives to increase the educational opportunities for the youth of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Through the America's Promise Mississippi Gulf Coast Promise Zone, JCCAC offers valuable programs that empower the young people of our community to take control of their futures and strive to make their communities better places to live for everyone.
One such program is Youth Engaged in Service (YES!). YES!, developed by the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service, is a two-week summer camp that teaches local high school students the value leadership and citizenship. The service-learning based curriculum delves into the history of leadership in our country, as well as the nuts and bolts of our government.
In addition to a strong theoretical foundation in citizenship and leadership, the curriculum teaches participants to design authentic service projects for their home communities.
The YES! Program blends aspects of more common community service programs with formal leadership and citizenship training and a high degree of student autonomy; this combination makes YES! unique among other youth development programs in Mississippi.
YES!'s goal is simple: Youth in Mississippi will be civically engaged, socially aware citizens who strengthen their communities through service. Through service-learning, the YES! Program trains and supports youth leaders to implement their own community projects, practice good citizenship and engage in volunteerism.
JCCAC is working with the American Bar Association on the Championing Our Students program. This program has many facets including a summer law camp, a spring sports/law summit and an online mentoring program that brings students together with legal professionals in their communities.
The iMentor program is bring lawyers, elected officials, law enforcement and other members of the legal community across Jackson and Harrison counties together with students in those areas. Through this program, students learn critical writing skills and have the chance to develop a meaningful relationship with a reliable adult.
JCCAC is also taking the lead in educating the youth of our community on the economy. Through a partnership with Junior Achievement, JCCAC trains local business leaders to go in to classrooms and, using JA's curriculum, teach students about the economy.
For fifth graders, Our Nation examines how businesses operate. Students role-play business ownership, interview for jobs and learn different methods of production while exploring various economic issues that affect business.
For seventh graders, JA Economics for Success explores personal finance and students’ education and career options based on their skills, interest and values. It also demonstrates the economic benefits of staying in school.
For ninth graders, JA Success Skills students participate in challenging exercises to help them develop personal strategies to achieve lifelong learning pursuits and career opportunities. Team-building exercises test their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, as well as their ability to communicate, negotiate and lead. Through engaging activities, they appreciate the importance of personal appearance, professional demeanor, punctuality and written and verbal communication.
AT&T and Northrup Grumman have also partnered with JCCAC to give 25-50 ninth-grade students job shadowing opportunities. The students watch employees at AT&T's Ocean Springs call center and Northrop Grumman's Pascagoula shipyard go about their daily work routines.