CCS honors employees at Christmas event

More than 400 people crowded in to the large conference hall at The Mill on Thursday for the annual Christmas party hosted by Community Counseling Services (Photo by Ryan Phillips, SDN)

Nearly 450 people attended the annual Christmas event hosted by Community Counseling Services on Thursday at The Mill Conference Center in Starkville.

The yearly gala honors CCS employees from all seven counties served by the organization: Choctaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Webster, Winston counties.

The dinner event featured food, door prizes, items for sale and art exhibits made by CCS employees. The theme of the art contest was "Joie De CCS," with employees encouraged to make an art exhibit of what Community Counseling Services means to them.

The displays were hung on chicken-wire racks and stacked around the venue for attendees to see.

Martha Allen, of Community Counseling Services, said the event functions as a time to celebrate the company's employees and give them the night off to celebrate all of the work they do.

"Being a therapist is very difficult, with taking on all the anxieties and people's problems, and we love our clients and grow to love them, so it's nice to be here tonight and celebrate all the great work they do," Allen said. "It's such a great company and also far apart, we don't get to see each other but once a year."

The program for intellectuals with developmental disabilities painted flower pots for the event, and also made floral arrangements as part of their program.

Allen said each year the Christmas event features an activity for employees to voluntarily participate in, which came in the form of the art contest this year. In total, six finalists were selected.

"The goal of the art contest is just to constantly keep employees engaged and motivated and not to get tired and complacent and always be excited and mindful of what we do," Allen said. "Anybody that wanted to participate could participate."

Whitney Cox, drug and alcohol therapist at the Pines and Cady Hill Recovery Center in Columbus, titled her art exhibit "Pieces of my Heart."

"I did a heart and did all of the clients I've had at The Pines and Cady Hill and put their initials within the heart," Cox said. "I've had a few overdose, so their initials are done in blue and just represents even though I've lost a few, I've still helped so many."

Winners of the art contest, along with the names of their exhibit

Grand Prize: "All Walks of Life" – Heather Holdiness

Most Creative: "Providing Solutions" - Anita Chapman

Most CCS Spirit: "Cultivate" - Melissa Wells

Image Extraordinaire/Highlights Artistic Abilities - "The Sky's the Limit" - Stephanie Taylor

Green With Envy: "Simply Caring" - Kristin Andrews

People's Choice: "Light Bulb Moment" - Jessica Brewer

Honorable Mention: "The Hands We Serve" - Stacey Wilkinson

Honorable Mention: "The Mission is Possible" - Kiera Hill

Honorable Mention: "Soul of CCS" - Embri Allen