President Elect
Immediate Past President
Executive Secretary
Robert Johnson is a local community leader in the great city of Hattiesburg, MS. The
number of people who haven’t been largely or slightly impacted by his life are few and
far between. He plays an active role in various forms of community outreach; he's a local
pastor, relationship mentor, a devoted husband, involved and present father, and a
breath of fresh air to any stranger. Robert is a man of principle and a believer in
extending love to those who deserve it and those who may not. He is intentional about
investing in the relationships he has in his life and often encourages those around him
to do the same. He delivers encouragement with power and conviction, so don't be
surprised if your life is a tad different after hearing him speak or just a simple
Ryan Kelly presided over the meeting. Joe Bost provided the opening prayer. Matt Rumph led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Ryan led the club in the Four Way Test. The meeting was held at the Holiday Inn in Hattiesburg.
Ryan announced that our club will meet on August 30, which is the 5th Tuesday of the month. Senator Roger Wicker will be the guest speaker. 
Mark Killingsworth then introduced today’s guest speaker, Dr. Kathy Young. Kathy has been a veteran of early education with a great diversity of experiences for over 30 years. She has served as administrator and classroom teacher of programs serving infants through preschoolers. She currently serves as the Chairperson of the Coalition for Hattiesburg Excel by 5.
Excel By 5 is a community-based certification designed to improve a child’s overall well-being by age five. The first-of-its-kind in the United States, this program emphasizes the important roles communities play in educating their children during their most formative years–birth to five.
Initially funded with a grant from Chevron, Excel By 5 is currently working with thirty-eight communities throughout the state of Mississippi.
The Excel By 5 certification requirements are divided into four groups: Community Involvement; Family and Parent Support; Early Care and Education; and Health and vary according to community size and capacity. The certification process takes about two years to complete, and the certification is awarded for three years.
Excel By 5 sets forth a variety of standards involving parent training, community participation, childcare, and health to help communities focus on supporting young children and their families. Early Childhood Communities reach the goal that all of their children will be ready to learn when they start school at age five.
There is no cost to the state.  However, the community may incur some cost locally during the certification process.  These funds can be raised through community contributions or in-kind services.  The actual cost will vary from location to location.  This topic along with restrictions will be discussed at the initial informational meeting(s) and the first formal coalition meeting.
Locations throughout the State of Mississippi are mobilizing to ensure their children are better prepared for kindergarten and first grade.
Excel By 5 certification identifies gaps in community resources, promotes community collaboration, volunteerism and economic development. On the whole, children in Excel By 5 communities will be healthier and better prepared for kindergarten and first grade.
Communities begin the Excel By 5 certification process by forming a local leadership team made up of representatives from key community groups, including schools, churches, businesses, parents, hospitals, early care and education centers and government organizations.
If you would like more information about Excel By 5, please visit or contact the state office at 601-707-7726
There being no further business to come before the club, Ryan thanked Dr.Young for her presentation and then adjourned the meeting with our motto: “Service Above Self.”  
Eric Davis, a Starkville native, graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Mississippi College before pursuing his theological education at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY.  After graduating with a Masters of Divinity from ATS, Eric became the associate minister at Louisville United Methodist Church in 2015 and launched a contemporary worship service within a few months of arriving. In 2016, Eric began serving as the senior pastor at Memorial United Methodist Church in Bolton, MS.  He also began teaching Bible at Hinds Community College, and launched the Wesley Campus Ministry on the Raymond Campus of Hinds CC. In 2018, he arrived at the University of Southern Mississippi Wesley Foundation as Executive Director. Eric is married to Christine Davis, the instructional design coordinator at Pearl River Community College eLearning, and together they have a four-year-old son and two-year-old girl.

Kathy Chase Young has been a veteran of early education with a great diversity of experiences for over 30 years. She has served as administrator and classroom teacher of programs serving infants through preschoolers. She has been an adjunct professor, a CDA trainer, author, consultant, and speaker.

She currently serves as the Children’s Ministry Director at the First Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg, where she and her husband have been members for nearly 30 years. Kathy holds a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from William Carey University and her master’s degree from University of Southern Mississippi is in Child Development. Kathy has represented early childhood education as an officer and President of the Mississippi Early Childhood Association, and as a board member of the Southern Early Childhood Association.

Her most recent community service is as the Chairperson of the Coalition for Hattiesburg Excel by 5. Hattiesburg has been her home since 1988, and Louis has been her husband since 1989. They have loved raising their two children in this community, and even delight in seeing one adult child return to be part of Hattiesburg and part of the early education community. The other one encourages these efforts from Oxford!

Paralyzed from the waist down following a 2005 car accident, Dwight Owens has shared his story of triumph over personal tragedy with thousands across the country.
Owens considers his survival of the accident a miracle. Rear-ended by a 71 year-old drunk driver, his injuries included punctured lungs, six broken ribs, severe internal injuries, a broken back, a dislodged liver and a severed spine. Doctors doubted his ability to survive the ordeal.

After nearly a year of hospitalization that included life support and rehab, Owens spent the next two years enduring more surgeries, medical setbacks and continued rehabilitation. Keeping a promise he made to God, Owens began sharing his story to inspire others and advance the cause of the disabled. He has spoken to more than 40,000 people in approximately 120 presentations to various groups and organizations across the country.  

A native of Taylorsville, Miss., Owens serves on the board of directors for the South MS Public Accessibility Association, which advocates for the disabled and their legal right to access facilities through the Americans with Disabilities Act. He also organized a support group for men with disabilities and their families. Among his many honors and awards, Owens is the 2010 recipient of the Spirit of Service Award from the National Corporation for Community Service.

Mr Owen’s website is :

Hattiesburg Rotary

We meet In Person
Tuesdays at 12:00 PM
Holiday Inn Hattiesburg–North
6553 US HWY 49
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
United States of America
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Upcoming Speakers
Rev. Eric Davis
Aug 16, 2022
USM Wesley Foundation