Special to The Mississippi Link,
Recently, more than 200 guests attended the 3rd Annual HIPPY Fund Fest and Motorcycle Show held on the recreation grounds of the Community Students Learning Center (CSLC) in Lexington, Miss. The fund fest had been on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) is an international research-based early learning program that helps parents prepare their preschoolers for school success.
As June 2022 dawned as the month of the first official Federal Holiday of Juneteenth, this year’s HIPPY Fund Fest/Motorcycle Show also held a meaningful significant first. It saluted the legacy of Lula Mae Friar, former CSLC HIPPY coordinator and a pillar of the community with a memorial fund named in her honor for her HIPPY Kids.
Thirteen years ago, Friar searched, found and helped establish the HIPPY early childhood literacy model in Holmes County. She dedicated herself to its success. Like the various Juneteenth concepts, Friar also strongly advocated for education, unity and freedom.
Sadly, she was a victim of the COVID-19 devastations in July 2020. Retired, she had served 35 years as a Mississippi educator and 14-plus years as CSLC education coordinator.
Forty to 50 bikers participated in the motorcycle show, which amazed children and adults. Biker Kerwin Brandon known as “K-9” of The King Riders Motorcycle Club of Jackson, Miss. took the show as the winner
The fund fest included fun activities for all ages: space jumps, basketball, concessions and a raffle for a barbecue grill. A little girl from Greenwood won the grill.
Program guide Gail M. Brown, Ph.D., CSLC project director, gave opening remarks followed by a scripture recitation of Psalm 1 by 2020 HIPPY graduate, Aaliyah Greer. Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Christian, pastor of Durant Missionary Baptist Church gave the invocation.
Current CSLC HIPPY coordinator Lubertha Banks, assisted by first-grader Royal Anderson, did the welcome. Banks also gave an overview of the program.
Mayor Robin McCrory brought greetings from the City of Lexington, and Supervisors President Leonard Hampton from the county. HIPPY Home Educator Lucretia Holmes directed the children’s recitation of the CSLC motto and creed.
Co-workers, family members, friends and bikers spoke in remembrance of Friar as they donated in her honor. The 2022 HIPPY Fund Fest/Motorcycle Show helped raised several thousand dollars for the educational needs of the approximately 30 HIPPY families to be served. The memorial donations were kicked off by Friar’s daughter, LaTannica Friar, and her Louisiana family with a check for $1,000.
“We are extremely grateful to Ms. Dell Walls and her biker comrades for starting this event for our HIPPY babies and their parents,” said CSLC Executive Director Beulah Greer. “Their efforts and generosity are truly making a positive educational difference in our children.” Expressions of gratitude were also given by HIPPY Booster Club President Maggie Stingley.
Participating motorcycle clubs were the King Riders, Black Hawk Riders, Capital City Riders, D.C. Riders, Old School Riders, 662 Riders, Motor Mouse and others.
CSLC Founder and President Leslie Greer later said plans are in the works for a bigger and better fund fest next year.
Donations are still welcome. To donate, call (662) 834-0905 or mail your contribution payable to Community Students Learning Center, earmarked, “The Lula Mae Friar HIPPY Memorial Fund,” 333 Yazoo Street, Lexington, MS 39095. Thank you.
Applications for HIPPY enrollment are also available.