Posted on Jun 25, 2019
Our thanks to Kid's Hub Executive Director, DiDi Ellis, for providing our program Tuesday!
L-R: DiDi Ellis, Jaclyn Adams, and Steven Utroska.
President Steven Utroska and presided over today’s meeting. Sean Priebe gave today’s invocation and Joe Meador led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Thanks to Mark Killingsworth who served as our greeter today.
There were no guests at today’s meeting, however we did have two visiting Rotarians. Keith and Carolyne Horne visited from the Ellisville club.
Steven asked for volunteers to sign up for the Meals on Wheels program. He welcomed back Maura McLaughlin and Ben Donald who have both been out recently for medical procedures. He also reminded members that the meal costs are going up $7.00 per quarter beginning with the July billing. The increase is due to a rise in the cost of meals provided by Southern Oaks.
Jaclyn Adams then introduced today’s guest speaker, Didi Ellis. Didi founded the Kids Hub Child Advocacy Center in Hattiesburg, using her educational experience from William Carey University and various work experiences. Kids Hub opened in July 2015 and will celebrate the beginning of its fifth year of operation next month. The Center serves children involved in child abuse investigations in Forrest, Lamar, Marion and Lawrence counties.
Since opening its doors, the Center has served 1,650 children. Eight five percent of those are involved in sex abuse cases. They also serve children who suffer from physical abuse or have witnessed a violent crime. Only about five percent of the cases they work with ever reach it to the District Attorney’s office and very few of those end up with convictions.
In addition to the work they do with the children, they also work with non-abusive care givers. Team members include medical care givers and trauma focused mental health professionals along with other specially trained professionals.
Kids Hub has a goal of educating five percent of the adults in the counties they serve. Didi says they believe a tipping point will be reached when that percent of adult residents are aware of what child abuse looks like and are knowledgeable about what to do when or if they encounter abuse. The two-hour training course is entitled Darkness to Light. They also have a Simulation House which they use to train William Carey and University of Southern Mississippi students.
Kids Hub strives to make sure that all the clients they encounter are heard, supported and protected. The Center operates on an $830,000 budget. About fifty percent of their funding comes from federal sources. They also get $60,000 each year from the four counties they work in. Additionally, they get a small state grant, funding from private foundations, individual donors and they conduct two fund raisers each year.
To help, to make a donation or to learn more about their training programs, call 601-909-6294 or visit
Steven thanked our speaker and then adjourned the meeting with our motto, “Service Above Self.”