southwest mississippi multiplex
For Early Innovative Intervention Studies
Her legacy lives on...
Jacqueline Diane Nobles Dillon, a virtuous woman, began her life journey on January 5, 1948 in McComb, MS. Beautiful, compassionate, and spiritual is who she was. Fearless was how she lived. Unconditional was how she loved.
She was the daughter of the late Ernest “Leroy” Nobles and the late Dorothy Quinn Nobles of McComb, MS, who instilled the family and Christian values that she embodied and demonstrated in her daily walk as a wife, mother, educator and servant leader.
Jacqueline was a graduate of the Higgins High School class of 1966 and attained a Bachelor’s (1970) and Master’s (1977) Degree in Special Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. She was a dedicated teacher in the McComb School District who retired twice, once in 1996 and again in 2003.
She remained busy throughout her retirement, becoming Director of D & D Learning Center where she tutored (assessed, remediated, and diagnosed) children between 5 and 15 years of age. In 2003, she started her own non-profit organization called the O.N.A. Foundation (Operation Noah’s Ark). More than 15 years after its founding, O.N.A. developed a new identity and became Southwest Mississippi Multiplex for Early Innovative Intervention Studies (SMMEIIS). In 1990, Mrs. Jackie formed the PIZZAZZ Dance Troupe, a non-competitive, performance-based dance education and mentoring program for girls of all ages.
Jacqueline was a two-time recipient of The Outstanding Elementary Teacher of America Award. She was also Teacher of the Year for the McComb School District eight times and was once Substance Abuse Teacher of the Year. Jacqueline was honored by the Mississippi Association for Children with Learning Disabilities for her invaluable service and cooperation. She also received the Outstanding Woman in the Community Award by the McComb Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club. Most recently, she served as a director on the board of the St. Luke Foundation in McComb, MS.
As an active member of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, she was a devoted chairperson of the Deaconess Ministry and faithfully served in the Hospitality Ministry. Deaconess Dillon was also an alumna of the Harper Baptist Seminary in Magnolia, MS.
Affectionately known as “Nana”, it was her heart’s desire to serve the Lord by showing compassion and loving people wholeheartedly. “No fighting, just loving” was the rule in her home, her classroom, and her dance studio, and she made sure that everyone remembered it and recited it.
In January 2020, Jacqueline was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. She fought her battle fearlessly and in January 2021 she was declared cancer free. She was and will always be a breast cancer survivor. On March 25, 2021, Jacqueline peacefully transitioned to her heavenly home.
She leaves to cherish her memories, a loving husband Clintes R. Dillon of McComb, MS. Three daughters: Desiree J. Dillon of Dallas, TX; Elizabeth D. Thompson (Jason) of Byram, MS; and Clinnesha D. Sibley (Keith) of McComb, MS; Two brothers: Michael C. Nobles (Joyce) of McComb, MS, and Rickie L. Nobles (Penny) of Katy, TX; four sisters: Joyce N. McGee of Summit, MS, Stephanie N. Robinson (late Edward Sr.) of McComb, MS, Gwendolyn N. Williams (Kelvin) of McComb, MS, and Dionne V. Nobles of Houston, TX; a brother-in-law: Quincy R. Dillon (Rebia) of Jackson, MS; and one sister-in-law: Dian D. Antoine of Virginia Beach, VA; seven grandchildren: Madison and Morgan Dillon of Dallas, TX; Kyndall and Jason Cameron Thompson of Byram, MS; and Kaylee, Karlee, and Keith Sibley, Jr. of McComb, MS.; two special brothers: Dennis Nobles and Wilbert Weathersby both of McComb, MS; six aunts: Bertha Ashely of Summit, MS, Mary Nell Nobles of McComb, MS , Violine Craft of Magnolia, MS, Mary Owens of McComb, MS, Dorothy Vernon of Chicago, IL and Flora Parker of Sacramento, CA; two uncles: Johnny Nobles, of Summit, MS and R.T. Dillon of Sacramento, CA; her church family whom she dearly loved, and numerous nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. She was also a spiritual mother to Kiesha A. Johnson (Damon) of Wylie, TX and Robert Moman (Ashley) of Mobile, AL.
Welcome to the creative place.
Our mission is to grow the creative capacity of Southwest Mississippi residents, children, families, and citizen-artists by encouraging innovation and cultural appreciation in early phases of life.
SMMEIIS is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization based in McComb, Mississippi. We offer programs and integrated services that are designed to inspire, inform, uplift, and nurture vulnerable communities. Through the promotion of responsible citizenship and authentic representation, our mission is to grow the creative capacity of Southwest Mississippi residents, children, families, and citizen-artists by encouraging innovation and cultural appreciation in early phases of life.
As a community center, we provide access to incubation and meeting/rehearsal space. We host workshops, professional/gift development, and training for visionaries, educators, youth developers, social entrepreneurs, and future leaders.
As an art commons, we provide opportunities and access to incubation space for youth and adults who are historically underrepresented in the fields of literary, visual, media and performing arts.
As a research agency, we measure our impact, reporting ways in which cross-pollinating arts, social innovation, and child/family focus can boost self-esteem, reduce educational barriers, encourage leadership, create workplace and home happiness, promote unity, and transform communities.
We envision a safe community where marginalized people embrace their social responsibilities and are compelled to use their voices and talents to empower themselves and others. We envision an aware community where people understand root causes and can speak truthfully about the past to improve multigenerational relationships and combat systemic racism.
Jacqueline Nobles Dillon has a B.S. (1970) and Master’s (1977) Degree in Special Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. She was a dedicated teacher in the McComb School District who retired twice, once in 1996 and again in 2003.
Jacqueline remained busy throughout her retirement, becoming Director of D & D Learning Center where she tutored (assessed, remediated, and diagnosed) children between 5 and 15 years of age. In 2003, she started her own non-profit organization called the O.N.A. Foundation (Operation Noah’s Ark). More than 15 years after its founding, O.N.A. developed a new identity and became Southwest Mississippi Multiplex for Early Innovative Intervention Studies (SMMEIIS).
Jacqueline is a two-time recipient of The Outstanding Elementary Teacher of America Award. She has also been Teacher of the Year for the McComb School District eight times and was once Substance Abuse Teacher of the Year. Jacqueline was honored by the Mississippi Association for Children with Learning Disabilities for her invaluable service and cooperation. She was also received the Outstanding Woman in the Community Award by the McComb Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club.
Jacqueline N. Dillon
Meet Britney Walker-Merritte, Our Summer 2021 Artist-In-Residence
Britney Walker-Merritte (Actor/Writer) is currently an Actor/Writer at Buffalo Soldier National Museum. She was last seen as Theresa in The Champion, Esther in Intimate Apparel, the Cook/Ensemble in Amadeus. Houston credits include Meg in Wrinkle in Time, Manyara in Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, Beneatha in Eighth Day of the Week (Ensemble Theatre); Mom/Ensemble in Oskar Versus ThingieMobob (Alley Theatre); HorseHead Theatre Co.’s Church and Sensitive Guys. At the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, she appeared as Phebe in What Holds the Future, Sarah in Perfect Adornment, Clarinda in Secrets of the Midwives, and Phillis in Faith Hope and Love. She wrote/performed/produced The Seed, A Night of Poetry, Poetry for Mothers, and The Voice that Speaks. She holds an MFA in Acting from University of Arkansas. To see more of Britney's artistic work, visit britneywalkermerritte.com.
Britney will be in performance with Cheyenne Alyssa Evans, a native of St. Louis, Missouri. She attends the St. Louis Language Immersion School, where she’ll be a 4th grader in the fall within the Chinese Program. In addition to acting in school and church plays, Cheyenne has been a valuable player on her youth basketball team and is a candidate to test for black belt in martial arts. Cheyenne’s picture was selected to advertise her school on the St. Louis city bus for several months in 2020. She is also gearing up for a new role in an upcoming national film.
The Seed, A Virtual Play
Britney Walker Merritte, SMMEIIS' 2nd Artist-In-Residence, and co-star Cheyenne Evans, perform a one-act play where a teacher helps a young student maneuver racial tensions and discover a beauty deep inside.
Click the following link to download a comprehensive study guide for this show:
https://uploads.strikinglycdn.com/files/585498de-3e72-4275-8d0a-8b8842e0de3c/THE SEED Study Guide 2021.pdf?id=3699405
A place with resources is a place for growth.
Building and strengthening the skills of our community is a pressing priority. We offer training in the areas of artistic practice, racial equity, justice and human rights, innovative entrepreneurship, technology-based learning, and organization-building or "writing the vision".
2021 Health Equity Series: Grief and Trauma-Related Coping Responses among Black Families and Communities with Aspen Hardges, LCSW
Grief and loss are universal human experiences, but how unique are Black people's grief-producing experiences? Do the often negative or traumatic ways in which Black people experience loss create unique mental health and wellness issues? In this health equity program, SMMEIIS explores grief from the lens of coping with the loss of people to the loss of safety in instances of racial injustice.
The Creative Camp
Coming Up: June 2022
Young visionaries who participate in our summer program grasp concepts in STEAM, idea/gift development, creative/critical thinking, innovative leadership, and social entrepreneurship by way of creative play, team-building, and project-based learning.
Episode 1 Now Available!
Through interviews/conversations/panel discussions, our elders share their experiences about growing up in the south and how past race relations have shaped our present socio-political/educational views. Dialogues are recorded and made available to the public via podcast.
Arts & culture
The Arts are an expression of culture and culture reflects people.
Our theatre program exposes underserved audiences to transformative, educational, and inspirational theatre. We stage stories and live performances that raise awareness and provide opportunities for youth and adults to learn techniques in playwriting, acting, directing, and theatrical design.
The PIZZAZZ Dance Troupe
Our non-competitive, performance-based dance education program is for girls ages 4-18. We teach self-esteem, character development, and basic dance concepts centered around the following genres: modern, contemporary, theatrical, experimental, lyrical, jazz, and liturgical/praise. Parents and the community can follow PIZZAZZ on Facebook. Family Accounts can be managed through the PIZZAZZ Member's Only portal on this website.
Our celebration of literary arts and oral lore promotes local writers/ authors and historians/ storytellers through a community book fair and publication Q & A. In addition, young writers from the Southwest Mississippi region are invited to submit creative pieces (prose, fiction, plays, essays, or poetry) that promote racial justice and healing. Their work gets developed through a mentoring process, shared with the public, and published in an anthology.
Artist Residencies & Enrichment
We collaborate with cultural workers, creative professionals, actors, directors, designers, choreographers, and hybrid artists who are passionate about doing meaningful work in Mississippi. Artists may be invited or may apply when applications are available. SMMEIIS also sends teaching artists out into the community to provide arts enrichment to school districts, organizations, civic and church groups, and educational entities.
Clinnesha Dillon Sibley, a native of McComb, Mississippi, is a published author, community leader, and educator. She promotes creative-mindedness—believing that visual, performing, and literary arts can change the way we think about some of life’s most important questions.
A writer of plays, poetry, essays, and prose/fiction, Clinnesha has received numerous awards including the Holland New Voices Award, the Arkansas Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, and the Mississippi Theatre Association Adult Playwriting Award. Her writing has also appeared in national literary journals, anthologies, and various publications and anthologies. She is also on the Mississippi Humanities Council Speaker's Bureau.
Clinnesha received her B.A. at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi, where she was a 2003 initiate into the Gamma Psi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and was the 2005-2006 Miss Tougaloo College. She received her M.F.A. (Master of Fine Arts Degree) from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. As both a student and an Assistant Professor at the U of A, Clinnesha was a diversity champion and a key woman educator in the arts. She proudly served the College of Charleston in South Carolina as an Assistant Professor of Playwriting where her mission was to empower students to cultivate their unique voice and write fearlessly, without limits. After teaching at the college/university level for seven years, she moved into secondary residential education. She has taught at The Historic Piney Woods School and is currently the Literary Arts Instructor at Mississippi School of the Arts.
Clinnesha was selected as one of twenty-four "change-makers" across the United States for the 2017-2018 National Arts Strategies Creative Communities Fellow Program. This program was her springboard into the non-profit sector and social entrepreneurship. A 2019 recipient of a “Rise Grant” from Women on the Rise Network and a 2020 recipient of the Arts Institute of Mississippi (AIM) Award, Clinnesha is a literary artist who believes .in order to reach total fulfillment, one must "replace [their] pursuit of success with the pursuit of contribution".
She is married to her high school sweetheart, Keith Sibley, and they have three children: Kaylee, Karlee, and Keith Jr.
Hear from Clinnesha!
"Sign up and I will send you monthly greetings! Follow my blog here."
the quarantine cookbook
Proceeds from our cookbook sales will go directly to gun violence prevention and education programs in Southwest Mississippi. The deadline for recipes is August 31st!
Our work would not be possible without these amazing collaborators.
Your generous donation will go a long way in helping us realize our dream of making southwest Mississippi a great place for developing innovative ideas and practices.
get your name added to the list!
(monetary and/or in-kind value)
purple Sowers: $1000.00 and above
Clintes and Jacqueline dillon
orange Sowers: $500.00 - 999.00
keith and clinnesha sibley
Green Sowers: $250.00 - 499.00
Black Sowers: $100.00 - 249.00
STEPHANIE NOBLES ROBINSON
red sowerS: $99 and under
JUSTIN & KAYATTA BROWN
Ashley drakes lowe
JOYCE N. MCGEE
GWENDOLYN NOBLES WILLIAMS
MARIBETH PORTER WILLIAMS
CRYSTAL LOWERY WOODS
make a $50 contribution to our "send a child to camp fund" and become a red sower!
you may Sow into our organization as a whole, a specific program/ community initiative, our literary festival, summer camp, or one of our sub-brands (the creative place, pizzazz, emerge). contact us for giving options or click the donate button to access Givly and sign up to be a smmeiis donor. all contributions are tax-deductible.
connect with us
Have a seat at our table. Ask about our vision. Ask about our goals. Ask about our core values. Ask about collaboration. Or just say hello.
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