In 1995, a group of 20 volunteers created an organization committed to improving the self-esteem of poverty-stricken youth ages 6 to 18 living in Newton, Mississippi. Today the organization is serving more than 200 youth in Newton County.
Rescue Our Children works to provide a safe environment for the youth of Newton County, lift morals, establish values and self-esteem, encourage productivity and responsibility, instill a sense of importance and need to succeed. Each year the organization provides many programs for the youth of Newton including an After-School Tutorial Program, a Drug Awareness Program, Youth Choir, Saturday Field Trips and a Summer Youth Program.
In Newton County, 20.3% of all families with related children less than 18 years of age live below the poverty level. When comparing all of Newton County's female-headed households, 57.7 % are living below poverty level. Statistics show that youth living in one-parent families, where the parent has a low educational background, are at high risk of leading a life of poverty and welfare. In Newton County, 39.9% of the population did not finish high school. In 1992, there were 42 cases of violent or drug related crimes in the Newton County Youth Courts. In 1995, 68 teenagers in Newton County gave birth.
Rescue Our Children encourages parents and community leaders to volunteer and become involved in their children’s’ activities. The center provides programs such as the Father and Son Fishing Rodeo, Mother and Daughter Retreats, Family Day and Make a Difference Day to encourage parent involvement with their children.
This summer Rescue Our Children took the children to visit Six Flags in Georgia and roller-skating. In addition, the children had the opportunity to visit the Mr. Chester Thigpen tree Farm, the Governor's mansion, the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, and the Lazy-Boy Corporation. The children have also had the opportunity to work with Isaac Milton, a local volunteer and a local computer expert who taught computer workshops at the center. The center’s after-school program has helped children improve their grade from a failing average to a B- average. Many former students who have gone off to college, often come back to speak at the center, sharing their experiences and giving the children hope that they too can succeed.