Monthly Archives: March 2011

Smart Start Appreciates Educators: Letter from a Brunswick County Child Care Teacher

“As a tax paying citizen, a graduate of Brunswick Community College’s Early Childhood Education Department, and a current early childhood educator, collaboration with Smart Start has been instrumental in my career. From working with the Professional Development Program Coordinator as I began my education, through implementing resources now as an educator, I have found Smart Start to be invaluable.

To begin, the Professional Development Program of Brunswick Community College works to further the experience and education of aspiring educationalists. During my involvement with the Program at BCC, the Professional Development Coordinator supported my career and education in multiple ways. From class scheduling at BCC, to my graduation progress and transition to UNCW to continue my education, the Professional Development Coordinator has provided reliable knowledge and support.

Through the Program, I was able to begin gaining experience while completing my education at BCC. While employed at a child care center, I had the opportunity to work with the Smart Start Child Care Resource & Referral program. In an effort to improve the quality of the center, the director worked through Smart Start and saw immediate positive results. Another benefit of Smart Start that I am able to exercise is the Lending Library. The materials available at the Library truly make a difference in the classroom.

Furthermore, I have participated in R&R training sessions. Each session is hands on, and applicable to our needs. From this, we have constructed a strong base of knowledge as educators, and improved the overall center quality through these learning opportunities.

Another facet of Smart Start that I have benefited from is the Bonus Program. Not only did this off-set the cost of my tuition, but it displayed Smart Start’s outreach to its educators. Smart Start fosters a harmonious relationship with local educators, and understands the efforts we put forth to improve ourselves. Smart Start cares.

Set to complete my Bachelors Degree from UNCW in 2012, and a current More at Four teacher at the Brunswick Community College Early Childhood Education Center, I continue to see the benefits of Smart Start daily. Not only am I able to serve as a role model for upcoming graduates, I am able to combine my education and experience to ensure the children are prepared for life. As an educator, my goal is to instill a love of learning and help children with socialization. Smart Start provides additional resources for me to tailor learning to each child. It is truly the children and community who benefit.

Smart Start continues to appreciate educators, and I will continue to support the program.”
-Jamie Griffith, Brunswick County


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Business Leaders from Across the State Advocate for Smart Start at the General Assembly

Former Governor Jim Hunt and business leaders from across the state descended on the General Assembly today calling on legislators to preserve funding for Smart Start. Bankers, real estate agents, small business owners and farmers were among those who joined the Governor to tell lawmakers that early childhood investments are vital to North Carolina’s economy. The event  included a press conference  featuring Gov. Hunt; Robert A. Ingram, General Partner of Hatteras Venture Partners; Todd Hildebran, owner of Hildebran Management Consulting; and Dr. Olson Huff, Board Chair of The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc., the organization that leads Smart Start.

“These programs clearly provide a return on investment,” said Todd Hildebran, owner of Hildebran Management Consulting, who drove in from Rowan County to participate in the event. “When children perform at grade level, everybody wins. The children thrive in school and the state saves millions a year on special education and remediation. The evidence is clear. These programs pay for themselves and create less of a burden for our K-12 system. I know the children in Rowan have seen the benefits of caring providers and Smart Start improvements. That is why I’m here today.”

WRAL ran Gov. Hunt’s entire address to the audience and media.

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Hundreds Advocate for Early Education and Other Critical Services for Young Children

Parents, grandparents, children, youth, advocates, service providers, teachers and others came out to the General Assembly in force today to advocate for critical children’s programs and services, including Health Choice health insurance for children, infant mortality prevention funding, early education, and community-based services for at-risk youth. They also called on the General Assembly to extend child labor protections for agricultural workers and to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 16 to 18 for youth accused of minor crimes.

“North Carolina has historically made smart, critical investments in programs that protect children’s basic health, safety, and education,” said Barb Bradley, President & CEO of Action for Children North Carolina, one of the groups that organized the day. “Times are tough this year, and difficult choices must be made, but it is counter-productive to balance the state’s budget on the backs of our children.”

Other partners included the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children, the North Carolina Pediatric Society, the North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. (Smart Start), the NC Child Care Coalition, North Carolina MomsRising, Toxic Free NC, and local groups Children’s First/Communities in Schools of Buncombe County and the Council for Children’s Rights in Charlotte.

Attendees visited their legislators and key legislative leaders throughout the morning, advocating on behalf of children’s programs and services. A press event in the middle of the day highlighted parents and children who benefit from some of the programs the groups were advocating for.

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We’re Building Brains. What are You Building?

 On Tuesday, March 9, child advocates from Brunswick County traveled to the North Carolina General Assembly as part of Smart Start’s statewide Tuesdays for Tots initiative. The advocates, which included Grey Memory, owner of Kids Connection, and Anita Taylor, owner of Kids World Academy, delivered parent pledges to Senator Bill Rabon.The pledges were delivered in a child’s tool box decorated in a “We’re Building Brains” theme.



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Gov. Perdue Calls for Fight to Preserve Smart Start

This morning, Gov. Bev Perdue said she would fight to protect funding for Smart Start as GOP leaders threaten to eliminate this award-winning early childhood initiative. In an interview with WRAL, the Governor said, “I believe that Smart Start is core to early childhood and the educational success of every child who is in our school system.”

The Governor said she will educate members of the General Assembly about how Smart Start works and how it makes a difference in children’s lives.  She also encouraged early childhood advocates to lobby lawmakers against the proposed elimination of Smart Start.

To speak up in support of Smart Start sign the Pledge to Protect NC Children and tell your personal story.

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