Children's Center for Communication and Development prepares for third annual run, classic

(The following is a press release from the University of Southern Mississippi. Visit or call 601-266-4742.)

The Children's Center for Communication and Development at The University of Southern Mississippi will host its 3rd Annual Children's Center Classic on Feb. 25.

The 10K, 5K, and Fun Run serve as the Center's signature fundraising event and supports their life-changing work with children, birth to five, who have complex communication needs and developmental disabilities.

"Over time, this has grown to be a big race for our community and has generously been supported by so many friends and partners," said Sarah Case-Price, director. "Last year's race brought in more than 300 runners and 150 volunteers; and we hope this year we'll see a similar turnout - if not more!"

Those who register by Friday, Feb. 3 will be guaranteed a race shirt. Race start is set for 9 a.m., beginning with the fun run; and the event will begin and end at Pride Field on the Hattiesburg campus.

"We love what we get to do at the Center, and it's our hope that others in the community will participate in our race to see how capable our children truly are!" said Case-Price.

New this year, is an additional two days of race festivities. Beginning on Thursday, Feb. 23, The Mahogany Bar will host a give-back benefit. Profits from special menu items will be donated back to the Center.

On Friday, Feb. 24, the Center will host its inaugural "Burgers and Bibs" dinner and race bib pick-up event at their location on the Southern Miss campus. This event is hosted in partnership with Rotary Club of Hattiesburg and Topher's Rock-n-Roll Grill on Hardy Street.

Tickets for Burgers and Bibs are $10 and can be added onto race registration cost, purchased through a Rotary Club of Hattiesburg member, or through the Center.

"The outpour of support we receive from community partners strengthens anything we do, and the same is said for New South Restaurant Group, Topher's, and the Rotary Club of Hattiesburg," said communications coordinator and race director, Samantha McCain. "With them, we're able to provide a great weekend of entertainment, food and fun for our runners and the community all while telling a bigger story about what we do."

Each year, more than 100 children in South Mississippi with complex communication needs and developmental disabilities receive direct early intervention services through the Center. Services include speech language therapy, behavioral therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, special instruction and early oral intervention (also known as deaf education). Additionally, the Center serves as a training and modeling resource for university students and professionals.