Success Stories

County-Wide Literacy Campaign

Irwin County Hospital donated books to the Literacy Campaign. Irwin County Family Connection Executive Director Laverne McConico (center) accepted the books from hospital staff members Mary Lynn Bracewell (left) and Sandy Sumner (right).


Family Connection works to meet and convene with community leaders and community members to help identify the challenges the children and families in our county are facing, to innovate new solutions to our local challenges, and to connect resources to community members and organizations.

Right now, the data shows that lowering the high unemployment (6.5% in August 2017) and poverty rates (24.7%) in Irwin County. These are critical issues keeping our citizens from being self-sufficient and community from thriving. Our Collaborative with our partners are working to help address these challenges by working with community organizations and community members to improve school success and to improve families self-sufficiency.

We are working with Irwin County School System, the High School FCCLA and FCA students and sponsors, and many other community organizations in staring a County-Wide Literacy Campaign. One project that we are working on is placing free mini libraries though out the county. We want to encourage our children and family members to read more. Reading comprehension leads to students being more successful in school and in life.

Our goal is to keep students in school; for students to graduate; and continue their education, or get the skills they need obtain jobs. We also want to get community members involved in encouraging those without high school diplomas or GED’s to go back to school or enroll in the free GED Classes offer by Wiregrass Georgia Technical College at the Education Center in Ocilla. Many GED students will quality for stipends while attending classes. The students graduating from high school and other obtaining their GED’s will prepare them to continue their education and they can get the necessary skills to seek employment.

3rd Grade Students Receive Free Dictionaries

  The Ocilla Rotary Club along with Irwin County Family Connection presented dictionaries to the third grade students and teachers at Irwin County Elementary School September 15, 2017.  Irwin County    Family Connection and  the Ocilla Rotary Club gladly give dictionaries to the 3rd grade students annually to assist them in achieving their educational goals.

Picture include: Irwin County 3rd grade students and teacher, Ocilla Rotary Club president L. H. Dill, Sergeant in Arms Bill Causey, Betty Metts, and Irwin County Family Connectionexecutive director, Laverne McConico.                 


Family Connection at the State Capitol

On February 23, 2017, Georgia Family Connection Partnership staff and Family Connection regional chairs and co-chairs (State Peer to Peer Advisory Council members) meet with many state legislators at the state capitol. It was a busy and exciting day at the capital talking to the senators, representatives, and First Lady Deal. The Family Connection group thanked the legislators for their support and gave the legislators data on their regions.


             3rd Grade Students Dictionary Celebration—Words of Wisdom

On Wednesday, September 9th, the morning was full of excitement at Irwin County Elementary School as all the 3rd grade students received their very own dictionaries. Irwin County Family Connection and the Ocilla Rotary Club collaborate each year to provide the dictionaries.

Irwin County Family Connection members want to thank the Ocilla Rotary Club for providing the funds for the dictionaries to assist the students in reaching their educational goals.

Pictured: Irwin County 3rd grade students and teachers, Ocilla Rotary Club members: Betty Metts, Pam Barry, Bill Causey, Howell Taylor and Wesley Paulk,  and Irwin County Family Connection executive director, Laverne McConico.

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                                            The Annual Career Expo Job Fair

The Career Expo Job Fair brought many area people seeking jobs from area businesses and finding out about different careers from several college representatives. Some of the attendees even applied for jobs at the Fair. Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, Colony Business Association, Irwin County Family Connection, Fitzgerald Ben Hill County Chamber of Commerce, and the Ocilla Chamber of Commerce joined together to sponsor the Eleventh Annual Career Expo Job Fair. The Career Expo was held on Thursday, March 24, 2016, at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, in Fitzgerald, Georgia.

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Irwin County Middle and High Schools 2014 Teen Maze

April 1st and 2nd, 2014, life lessons were learned as students had some tough days at Irwin County Middle and High School. One 9th grade student got arrested and put in jail. He got his girl friend pregnant and had to drop out of school. He also took two jobs to support his new family.

None of this happened, but the student along with his classmate learned some of the things they will encounter everyday as adolescents. By the teenagers facing the dangers of life in the maze, hopefully they will be prepared to resist  bad behaviors and the consequences that go with it.

Irwin county Middle and High Schools, Irwin County Family Connection, and Irwin County FCCLA and a host of professional volunteers performed the Teen Maze event  for the second year in the high school gym. The students started out the day watching a realistic video of a teenager texting while driving with the horrifying aftermath of it. Afterward, the groups of youth went through the maze with the stops having possible difficulties in life. In the maze, some students got STD and learned about safe sex and abstinence. Some students got AIDS or died during child birth and attended their own funerals with real pastors reading their eulogies. Other students managed to go through the maze with little harm and were able to graduate from the maze with cap and gowns on and their pictures taken. .

Thank you to everyone who sponsored and donated to the Teen Maze with includes Irwin County Family Connection, Irwin County Middle and High Schools, Irwin County Board of Education, Irwin County FCCLA, Irwin County After School Tutoring Program, Irwin EMC Foundation, South Health District, Chicken Delight, Chick-fil-A, Children’s World, Harveys, Operation Save Our Youth, Polar Beverages, and Premium Waters.

Laverne McConico, executive director of Irwin Irwin County Family, thank everyone who help make the Teen Maze a success. “You have truly demonstrated the true meaning of collaboration.” “With everyone working together, the 2014 Teen Maze made a great impact on he students at Irwin County Middle and High Schools. The students of Irwin County Middle and High Schools will be forever grateful for your caring attitudes, patience, and diligence in the Teen Maze endeavor.”

IMG_0664  Irwin Co. Teen Maze Picture 4