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WEST POINT, Miss. -- The groundwork portion of therapeutic horseback riding offers emotional and mental benefits to veterans who take part in a program at Mississippi State University.

Lance McElhenney of Webster County served in the U.S. Marine Corps around the world. Injured by a mortar fragment in Iraq in 2004, this Purple Heart veteran now fights a different battle -- with multiple sclerosis. One of his weapons is an old horse he named Archie, for Archibald Henderson, the grand old man of the Marine Corps.

Man seated on a step stool in an arena looks at a horse while a large dog watches cautiously.

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Diet and exercise are popular New Year’s resolutions, but sleep is just as important when cultivating healthy lifestyles.

Sleep deprivation can cause a myriad of health concerns in both adults and children, including excess body fat, said Lori Elmore-Elmore-Staton, an assistant professor in the Mississippi State University School of Human Sciences.

“Sleep is related to obesity. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more hormones telling you that you’re hungry, and it releases less hormones telling you that you’re full. It thinks you need more energy because something is wrong,” Elmore-Staton explained.

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The leader of a Mississippi-based, national initiative to help families and communities prepare for disasters has earned an additional certification from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Ryan Akers, an associate Extension professor in the Mississippi State University School of Human Sciences, just graduated from an in-depth course provided by FEMA. The curriculum addressed advanced concepts in disaster management, agency organization, community response and emergency professions.

Two men on a stage holding a FEMA certificate and looking at the camera.

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- For those in early childhood education, achieving accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children is the mark of excellence in their field.

In Mississippi, few have earned this distinguished honor, but the School of Human Science’s Child Development and Family Studies Center at Mississippi State University is among the elite.

Director Melissa Tenhet learned on May 17 that the center’s efforts in recent years to achieve accreditation have been successful.

Melissa Tenhet, director of the Mississippi State University School of Human Sciences’ Child Development and Family Studies Center, left, and Andrelyn Smith, center manager, celebrate the center’s recent notice of accreditation. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/David Doleac)

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. -- For military families, finding child care that accommodates their hectic schedules can feel impossible, which is what makes child care providers like Heather Bond so special.

For nearly six years, Bond has opened her home to military families who do not have traditional schedules, giving parents a safe and inviting alternative to conventional child care options.  

Heather Bond (left) plays with Thaddeus Pyko, while his mother, Maj. Kyla Pyko, watches. Bond is a family-home care provider who has opened her home to military families needing child care.  (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Alexandra Woolbright)