Three SSFC champions of our children recognized by leading local and statewide groups

… Diana Santos Johnson, Doug Punger, and Mike Lawless rack up much-deserved honors …

Doug Punger, JD, 2017 Karen Ponder Award

From the left: Karen Ponder; Leila Punger, Doug’s spouse; Elaine Dana, Doug’s sister; Dr. Nancy Brown, NC Partnership for Children, Inc., Board Chair, 2013 – 2017.

On May 3, in the midst of the National Smart Start Conference, Doug received the 2017 Karen Ponder Award. The award, named for Smart Start’s founding president, recognizes outstanding service to young children and families in North Carolina. A $1,000 cash award will be made to Smart Start of Forsyth County in his name. Doug has been a formidably fixture in Forsyth County educational policies and practices for almost two generations. Doug adopted North Carolina as his home after moving from his native Long Island origins to Winston-Salem, as a Demon Deacon frosh. After completing undergrad and law school at Wake, for almost 34 years he served as general counsel to the Forsyth County Board of Education, eighteen years of which he worked side-by-side with now-State Representative Donny Lambeth, who previously served on the school board. Doug is entering his 9th year of service on the board of directors of Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc., and his 4th year on the board of the NC Partnership for Children, Inc. in Raleigh.

Diana Santos Johnson, JD, 2017 Leaders in the Law, NC Lawyers Weekly

Diana Santos Johnson during semi-monthly corporate board conversations. To her left, board colleague, Bennett Bruff, CPA (who also just happens to be a member of the Twin City Kiwanis Club, along with Doug Punger, and SSFC staff members Amy Queen, Jackie Lofton & Larry Vellani).

In late July, in ceremonies at the Elon University School of Law in Greensboro, Diana Santos Johnson was among 30 statewide jurists recognized by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly for her service to the bar and to the citizens of North Carolina. The Leaders in the Law award honors legal professionals who go above and beyond in their profession and their community. The honorees represent the most influential individuals within NC’s legal community. A native of Mexico, Diana grew up in eastern North Carolina, completing her undergraduate at Wake Forest and her law degree at NC Central. After completing a three year term on the board of the Winston-Salem Hispanic League, she joined Smart Start’s board in September 2016. Diana has served as a member of the Bolton Law Group for the past three years, and before that on the staff of NC Legal Services.

Mike Lawless, MD, 7 Over 70 Award, SPARK Magazine, Winston-Salem Journal

On August 2, Texas native, Mike Lawless, a giant in our nation’s pediatric community, will be one of seven local leaders to receive the 2017 7 Over 70 Award. Living locally, but acting globally, in the many senses of the word, Mike has faithfully served his nation in the US Navy, his students and research colleagues at the Wake Forest Bowman Grey School of Medicine, and his patients in the Forsyth County community, since he began his medical practice in 1972.

Mike served for over eight years on the board of directors of Smart Start of Forsyth County. MIdway during his board tenure, in January 2012, Mike accepted the co-chairmanship of the Forsyth County Pre-K Committee. Under Mike and his WSFCS co-chair Dr. Janie Costello, the Forsyth County Pre-K Committee made steady progress toward improved, expanded service to families of four-year old children–a progress that has continued under his successors Doug Punger and, now, Matt Britt. Mike has the distinction of being the Committee’s longest-serving, community-volunteer co-chair, as well as the Committee’s longest-serving community member. He remains toeday an active member of the County’s Pre-K Committee, which operates under the fiduciary auspices of Smart Start of Forsyth County,

Mike, hard at work with the next generation of medical professionals, hand-over-hand with them along the Hippocratic ropes!.

As a local Smart Start board leader, Mike was instrumental in helping to bring two critical pediatric programs to Forsyth County: Assuring Better Child Health and Development (ABCD) and the Reach Out and Read programs. Because of Mike, and the volunteers and professionals whom he has inspired, over 33 pediatric practices in 10 counties (Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Wilkes, and Yadkin), reaching 48,929 children birth-to-five, were able to improve early developmental screenings and proper, effective referrals to treatment. Through Reach Out and Read Forsyth County pediatricians have prescribed more than 37,000 age-appropriate books to children birth-to-five.

Our families, educators, board members, and staff could not be more proud of our local heroes. Diana, Doug, and Mike–we salute you, and pledge to live up to the standards you have set for us and our community! Cheers!

For some scenes of the Winston-Salem Journal’s photo-shoot with Mike and a class of four-year olds at First Baptist Child Care Center in downtown Winston-Salem on Friday July 7, click here! You’ll be glad you did.

For some scenes of the 7 Over 70 award ceremonies at the Wake Forest Bridger Field House on August 2, 2017, click here.

Touchpoints training comes to Winston-Salem

… unique partnership among Imprints Cares, Smart Start, and the United Way Place Matters program brings effective, evidence-based practices to Forsyth County early childhood professionals …

Thirteen early education professionals, under the watchful training eyes of Smart Start and Imprints staff leaders, Jenny Whitley, Shonette Lewis, and Staci McMillian-Smith, formed Forsyth County’s first cohort of Touchpoints professionals.

The learning community of eighteen—including Jenny, Shonette, and Staci, along with Claudia Quigg, Brazelton Touchpoints Center Lead Faculty—devoted three days to intensive study and practice in order to begin their journey of mastery of the Touchpoints techniques.

From left: Claudia Quigg and Staci McMillian-Smith, along with Jenny Whitley and Shonette Lewis (not pictured), led there ECE colleagues in Forsyth County’s inaugural Touchpoints training!

Supported by years of research and refinement, Touchpoints provides a practical, preventive approach that supports professionals in forming a strength-based partnership with families. Touchpoints offers opportunities for providers to support parents’ strengths and their understanding of their child’s behavior, leading to a stronger parent-child emotional bond, which is critical to a child’s development.

Jenny, Shonette, and Staci led their colleagues in three days of intensive, interactive, learner-centered training. Shonette, with Imprints Cares, and Jenny and Staci, with Smart Start, will serve as Touchpoints coaches for their colleagues during six months of case-based, reflective practice to apply their learning to the everyday interactions with families.

The first Forsyth Touchpoints cohort involves professionals from eight private and public, family-serving organizations and businesses, including Cook Elementary School; the Family Engagement Coordinators Office, WSFCS; Family Services, Inc.; The Forsyth Promise; Imprints Cares, Inc.; North Point Academy, Inc.; Special Children’s School, Inc.; and Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc.

Shonette in action!

Key content of the Touchpoints Approach:

  • The impact of parent-child-provider relationships on a child’s development in the early years of life
  • Understanding the process of a child’s development and looking at how and why change in behavior occurs
  • Strategies for forming a strength based relationship with parents including using the child’s behavior as your language
  • Touchpoints times of development – newborn, 9 month and toddler

Outcomes supported by research on Touchpoints:

  • Increased parental confidence and competence in supporting their child’s development
  • Increased provider job satisfaction
  • Improved provider-family relationships
  • Increased provider knowledge and skill about supporting a child’s developmental process
  • Improved accuracy in referrals of children for additional services

Forsyth COunty’s first foray into the Touchpoints Approach was made possible, in part, through the support of the United Way’s Place Matters Program.

For more information about Touchpoints and the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, visit the Brazelton Touchpoints Center.

For more scenes from the inaugural Touchpoints training, visit SSFC’s FaceBook album.

20th Annual Smart Start Professional Development Conference Closes Out Week of the Young Child Saturday April 29

 

… Aplicaciones de NC Pre–K para el año escolar 2017-2018 ya están disponibles …

Aplicación 2017-18 final versión española

Pre K Application 2017 18 Color Page English Final

Where can I pick up applications in the community? Dónde puedo recoger aplicaciones en la comunidad? Where Dónde

NC Pre-K applications for the 2017-2018 school year now available …

It’s time! If you would like your child to participate in the NC Pre-K program, please download Pre K Application 2017 18 Color Page English Final for more information.

Es tiempo! Si desea que su hijo participe en el programa NC Pre-K, por favor descargan Aplicación 2017-18 final versión española para más información.

Where can I pick up applications in the community? Dónde puedo recoger aplicaciones en la comunidad? Where Dónde

DSC_0899

I want to be … Yo quiero ser …

 

 

http://smartstart-fc.org/attention-parents-atencion-padres-time-to-apply-for-the-2017-2018-nc-pre-k-program/

Early voting has begun and your vote counts!

… one area in which we truly have a consensus as a polity is investing in early education …

When considering candidates and referenda this fall, keep in mind that we are the only voice our children have.

In this mercurial campaign season, one thing remains constant: voters want Congress and the next president to work together to make quality early childhood education more accessible and affordable.img_6030

The annual national poll by the First Five Years Fund shows that early childhood education is one of the best ways for candidates to connect with voters, because it is one of our top priorities — regardless of political persuasion. These numbers include 78 percent of Trump supporters and 97 percent of Clinton supporters.

Quality early childhood education is a political winner. In fact, there is overwhelming polling support — with little opposition — for a federal plan to help states and local communities provide better access to quality early care — particularly for low and moderate-income working families.

Make no mistake: Child care and early education are critical public investments in the success of families and local private enterprise. High quality, affordable child care is a necessary ingredient for working parents to be successful on the job. It is also a primary building block for the fitness of our next generation of employers and employees.

Nearly three-quarters of the electorate support this conclusion: 73 percent favor and only 24 percent oppose such investment — 54 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of independents, 91 percent of Democrats. Large majorities of key swing-voter groups — including 85 percent of Latinos, 79 percent of suburban women, 65 percent of moderate/liberal Republicans, and 58 percent of Republican women — all favor investing more in early childhood education from birth to age 5.dsc_0742

How do these findings line up with the work of our state and local elected officials?

The most recent legislative session sent home a multi-million dollar, pre-school backpack, worth just south of $8.5 million ($8,390,345) — across the NC Pre-K program, children’s developmental service agencies and the Nurse Family Partnership program — along with important, follow-up study committees to bring recommendations forward in 2017 and 2018.

The investments are quite modest, but real, and garnered support across the political spectrum.

Only teacher raises and an additional $34 million toward private vouchers received more. (Is there a voice among the salons for the voucher-subsidy system to support families’ pre-k choices?)

To keep things in perspective, North Carolina’s early education system is yet to recover from the devastating bipartisan cuts in early learning that took place between 2010 and 2012, reducing overall birth-to-5 funding by more than 25 percent, from $381 million to $279 million.

As in so many other endeavors, however, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County may be growing as an innovation hub for early learning.

We know what high quality early learning looks like and how to measure it. We have a limited, but high quality, mixed public-private child-care delivery system, managed by private independent and corporate providers, as well as Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools, made possible through pooling the available federal and state Child Care Development Funds (Social Services), Head Start (Family Services, Inc.), NC Pre-K (Smart Start, Inc.) and Title I (Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools) funds with parental resources.

However, for example among our 4-year-old children, these funds reach only about a quarter of our children. And there is much evidence that perhaps as many as 90 percent of households would place their children in 4-year-old classrooms, if they could afford the $8,000 in tuition costs.

Champions of children and economic development can take some encouragement from the most recent, very cautious restoration in birth-to-five state investment. However, it is not nearly what we need, and critical, local private initiative is stepping up.

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust has set aside approximately $2.5 million in annual spending for the next decade in its Great Expectations early education program, which begins at birth. The Reynolds American Foundation is leading a coalition of visionary corporate donors in the ambitious Project Impact to the tune of approximately $6 million annual support in Forsyth County, 4-year-old through third-grade classrooms. That about matches in Forsyth County what the legislature has managed to find for the entire state!

Is this level of private investment in early education sustainable? We doubt it. But advocates plan to work with donors to make the case for greater public commitment — local, state and federal — to early learning and pre-k funding.

The whole state is watching our local experiment. We cannot continue to short-change our families and young children. We must ensure that innovative local, private-public partnerships help more of our children succeed, our families thrive and our community prosper.

That’s the clear message from most of us to all the candidates: from City Hall to Jones Street to Pennsylvania Avenue.

Much of this post originally appeared in the July 22, 2016 edition of the Winston-Salem Journal, under the title, “On the road to recovery and innovation in early education.”

 

SSFC Board elects officers and new members

… bids necessary farewells to a remarkable cohort of retiring officers and members … largest in-coming governing class in this century …

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Retiring board secretary, Sandra Fishel-Booth addresses her colleagues upon accepting special recognition for her six years of loyal leadership-in-service.

SSFC’s board of directors elected officers and added new members, while recognizing the remarkable service of several veterans.

At its first meeting of the 2016 – 17 Board Year on September 21, the board elected the following slate of officers:

  • Elizabeth Dampier ’19, Chair
  • Matt Britt ’19, Vice Chair
  • Sabrina Hinton ’18, Secretary
  • Alvin Atkinson ’18, Treasurer
  • Doug Punger ’19, Immediate Past Chair

The board welcomed new members:

  • Bennett Bruff, CPA, Turlington & Company, LLC – fulfilling Gary Ortiz term, ’17,
  • Heather Egan, Novant Forsyth Medical Center – fulfilling Glenda Welch term, ‘17
  • Shana Heilbron, Centers for Exceptional Children – fulfilling Karla Periera term, ‘18
  • Brice O’Brien, Reynolds American Incorporated – ‘19
  • Daniela Arriola, WSFCS Cafeteria Services – ‘19
  • Diana Santos Johnson, JD, Bolton Law Group – ‘19
  • Elizabeth Perkins Lees, Forsyth Futures – ‘19
  • Katrina Tucker, parent & member NC Pre-K Committee – ‘19
  • Mona Lovett, Crosby Scholars – ‘19
  • Trey Howe, Allegacy Federal Credit Union – ‘19

Departing Board Members

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From the left: Lori Fuller, retiring board member, accepts token of appreciation from SSFC Board Chair Elizabeth Dampier.

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From the left: Sandra Fishel-Booth, retiring board member and secretary to the board, accepting special recognition from SSFC Board Chair Elizabeth Dampier.

The board recognized the outstanding service by the following departing members:

 

Gary Ortiz, Hayward Pool Products, Inc.

Glenda Welch, formerly, Early Childhood Division, Family Services, Inc.

Karla Pereira, Novant Health

Lori Fuller, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust

Mari Jo Turner, Hispanic League

Sandra Fishel-Booth, Winston-Salem Community Foundation, serving since 2010, fulfilling two full board terms, and four years as secretary to the board!

 

 

About Our New Board Members

Bennett Bruff, Partner, Turlington & Company, Lexington, NC

Born in Lexington, North Carolina, I am a partner in the Winston-Salem office of Turlington & Company, LLP. I have been with Turlington & Company for 18 years.  I have worked in our Winston-Salem office for the past 8 years. My wife Milenda and I live in Lexington and have two children, 5 year old twins Amelia and Eli. I graduated from Western Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1997 and High Point University with a Masters in Business Administration in 2004. I have in the past served as Treasurer for the Davidson County Education Foundation, been involved with the Davidson County United Way as well as currently a member of the Finance Committee of Shiloh United Methodist Church in Lexington, and a member of the Twin City Kiwanis Club in Winston-Salem. (Submitted)

Brice O’Brien, Executive Vice President – Public Affairs and Chief Communications Officer

Brice O’Brien is executive vice president of public affairs and chief communications officer R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Prior to this promotion on March 1, 2016, he was executive vice president of consumer marketing for R.J. Reynolds from Jan. 1, 2010.

O’Brien joined R.J. Reynolds as a marketing assistant in 1995 and held positions of increasing responsibility before being promoted to marketing manager on the Eclipse brand in 1998. O’Brien left the company in 2000 to work as marketing director at Suntory Water Group, returning to R.J. Reynolds as senior marketing manager on the Doral brand in mid-2001. He was promoted to marketing director in 2003 and a year later he was promoted to vice president of marketing, overseeing the company’s flagship Camel brand. In January 2006, O’Brien was promoted to senior vice president of consumer marketing, responsible for Reynolds Tobacco’s total brand portfolio. He was then appointed president of Reynolds Innovations, Inc., a subsidiary of RAI, in January 2009. Reynolds Innovations focuses on innovation, consumer and market insights, competitive assessment and maximizing trademark equity across RAI’s operating companies. He serves on the board of the Triad Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

O’Brien is a native of Isle of Palms, S.C. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from The Citadel and a Masters of Business Administration from Wake Forest University. (From http://www.rjrt.com/transforming-tobacco/leadership/)

Daniela Arriola, WSFCS Cafeteria Services, Winston-Salem, NC

My name is Daniela Arriola. I like to be called “Daniela.” I’m from Mexico City, Mexico. I completed my high school studies at Centro de Estudios Tecnológicos Industrial y de Servicios (CETIS) 4 in Mexico City. I have been in the USA about 15 years. I worked for several years in a restaurant in Missouri, when I first arrived from Mexico. My daughters and I moved to Winston-Salem over a year ago to be closer to my family here in Forsyth County. Currently, I’m working for the school system in cafeterias at different schools, and I also work from home doing piecework for my aunt’s company.

My two wonderful daughters are Valentina, age 4, and Valeria, age 3. They both just started attending the Special Children’s School this fall.

Valeria has special needs (autism spectrum disorder or ASD), so attending the Special Children’s School is a wonderful and great opportunity for her. And my Valentina, a typically-developing child, is also able to attend the same school thanks to Smart Star and its partnership with Work Family Resource Center.

I have never been a member of any kind of board, but I’m so excited to be part of this one and to be able to learn new things, but, most importantly, I’m thankful for the opportunity to be the voice of my daughters, and of other children and families with special needs who can’t speak for themselves. If I can do or make even a little bit of change for the better in somebody’s life that would be so great.

I hope to do a good job and be helpful, and I’m happy to meet you all. Thank you for the opportunity, and see you soon! (Submitted)

Diana Santos Johnson, JD, Bolton Law Group, PA, Winston-Salem, NC

I am Diana Santos Johnson, preferring to be addressed as “Diana.” I was born in Mexico, and came to the US with my family when I was six-months old. I have been with the Bolton Law Group as an associate attorney for the past year. I last attended North Carolina Central University School of Law, where I received my Juris Doctor.

My husband and I are the proud parents of Mary Ines (“Nessy”), 2 years old. I first came to Winston-Salem in 2001 as a freshman at Wake Forest University. When I graduated in 2005, I stayed in Winston-Salem and worked with the YMCA of NWNC as a program coordinator for the Hispanic Achievers Program.  I left in 2006 to attend law school in Durham, NC and returned in 2012 to work as a staff attorney for Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Winston-Salem Office.

From 2012 – 2014, I served on the Hispanic League’s Board of Directors, and the best experience was awarding scholarships to deserving students. (Information submitted)

Elizabeth Perkins Lees, Director of Data and Research, Forsyth Futures, Inc., Winston-Salem, NC

Elizabeth Lees (prefers to be called “Elizabeth”) was born in Asheville, North Carolina, but spent most of her childhood in the suburbs of Atlanta. She currently serves as the Director of Data and Research at Forsyth Futures where she has worked since 2012.  She is not currently the mother of any children, but she hopes to be at some point in the future.

She earned her Master of Public Health Degree in Behavioral Science and Health Education at Emory University, where most of her research focused on social determinants of health, especially maternal and child health. Her undergraduate degree is in Sociology from Wake Forest University.  She lived on Wake Forest’s campus for four years while in college, moved to Atlanta for Graduate school, and then moved back to Winston-Salem in the fall of 2011.

This will be her first experience serving on a board. The well-being of children is very important to her, and she is especially looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to an organization that does so much to support the thriving of children in her community. (Submitted)

Heather Egan, Development Manager, Novant Health Foundation Forsyth Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC

Heather Egan is a Development Manager at Novant Health Foundation Forsyth Medical Center, where she manages fundraising activities to support the mission of Novant Health. Heather has experience with grant writing, event management, annual fund, marketing, and communications at organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters and the American Heart Association.

Heather moved to Winston-Salem in 2014 with her husband Peter and daughter Lilly, 15. She serves on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and is active at First Presbyterian Church.

A native of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, a small town 45 miles east of Pittsburgh, Heather holds an undergraduate degree from Kenyon College and received an MBA in Marketing from the Joseph Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh.

An avid reader, Heather has a love of learning and likes to cook, but is also happy when someone else makes dinner. (Submitted)

Katrina Tucker, Member, Forsyth County NC Pre-K Committee, Winston-Salem, NC

I am a parent of a former Head Start and NC Pre-K Program participating child; former member, vice-chair, and chair of the Forsyth County Head Start Policy Council; former member of the board of directors of Family Services, Inc.; and current member of the Forsyth County NC Pre-K Committee.

My name is Katrina Tucker, but, please, call me Trina. I am a stay-at-home mom, born and raised in Winston-Salem. I have a BA in psychology from UVC-G, and am the proud mother of my daughters Abigail and Madelyne, both at the Arts Based School in the 7th and 2nd grades respectively.

Some of my proudest work outside of the home is my role as the assistant Sunday school teacher for our church’s pre-school-aged children.

I have always admired the passion and dreams of my fellow board members as well as guest       speakers. Often, society has a “no one cares” attitude, but I think they would be surprised to see behind the scenes. (Information submitted)

Mona Lovett, Executive Director, Crosby Scholars, Inc., Winston-Salem, NC

My name is Mona W. Lovett, and please call me Mona. I was born in Virginia, and I have served as the President & CEO of the Crosby Scholars Program for the past twenty years.

I am the proud parent of Ashanti, a 10th grader at Paisely High School.

The last school I attended was Old Dominion University in Richmond, Virginia, where I earned a BS in Counseling and MSEd.

I’ve been a resident in Winston-Salem for twenty-four years.

I have enjoyed working with the board of a small, new non-profit and sharing information on board development. I’m excited to learn more about how to best support our children and their parents. (Information submitted)

Shana Heilbron, Director of Philanthropy, The Centers for Exceptional Children

Shana is the Director of Philanthropy at The Centers for Exceptional Children. In this role she serves as the CFEC’s external representative to philanthropic entities, corporate organizations and charitable foundations. She is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to raise the critical funding required to advance the CFEC mission.

Shana has been working in nonprofit development for 14 years, and has successfully executed fundraising luncheons and galas, and managed million-dollar development plans. Shana began her career in Washington as a communications and press staffer for D.C. City Councilmember Harold Brazil and the Committee on Economic Development, and then served at the head of the Development Departments for The Excel Institute and the YWCA National Capital Area.

On a voluntary basis, Shana is a member of the Women’s Fund and Women’s Fund Grants Committee at The Winston-Salem Foundation, Board Member at SmartStart of Forsyth County, on the steering committee for The United Way of Forsyth County’s Young Leaders United, and participates in membership activities with the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Shana received her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Politics & Government and Women’s Studies form Ohio Wesleyan University. Originally from Shaker Heights, Ohio, Shana recently relocated from Washington, DC to Winston-Salem, NC and is a proud resident of downtown Winston-Salem. She has two amazing nieces – Aubrey and Addison – that inspired her to make the move to North Carolina. (Submitted)

Trey Howe, Relationship Manager, Private Banking Group, Allegacy Federal Credit Union, Clemmons, NC

My name is Edward O’Neal Howe, III, but, please, call me Trey. Born in Gastonia, NC, I have served in my current role with Allegacy for five years.

My wife and I have two children, Addison, age 9, and Aubrey, age 6, students at Clemmons Elementary.

I earned by BS in Marketing at East Carolina University (Go, Pirates!), and I am also proud to say that I’ve taken several classes at Forsyth Technical Community College.

I have been working in the Clemmons/Forsyth County area for thirteen years.

I’m most excited about working for families with young children. I feel like this is an opportunity for me to “pay it forward” for all the wonderful opportunities I had as a child. A way to say thank you to a stay-at-home mom, dad, two grandmothers, early teachers, and a support system that helped pave a way to a very happy and fulfilled life!

Furthermore, I’m a Soccer Coach at YMCA for both of my daughters, and married to an amazing lady, Becky! She is an Occupational Therapist for WSFCS system.

I serve as chair of Wellness Committee here at Allegacy. The Wellness Committee has been named and awarded

  • 2014 Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America,
  • 2014 Triad’s Healthiest Employers,
  • 2015 AHA ‘Fit Friendly’ Workplace,
  • 2015 Allegacy’s Successful Wellness Program
  • Featured in WSJ as a National Study,
  • 2016 Allegacy Honored As Top Triad Healthiest Employer.

I am an avid runner and cyclist. I have completed many 5ks, 10ks, Half Marathon, and obstacle races. My most proud moment to date is completing the Beach2BattleShip half IronMan. I am currently training for my first marathon.

I serve on the DW Golf committee at Allegacy. The DW (Don’t Wait) Golf tournament raises money for Cancer Services, Inc. The DW tournament has raised over $800K since it began.

I am also very proud of my time spent serving the Center for Smart Financial Choices during its inception. The CFSFC mission is to empower all individuals to achieve financial wellness through all stages of life. (Submitted)

Smart Start “Raising Forsyth” Breakfast Celebrates a Generation of Progress

… on behalf of local children, and their families and educators …

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   30 March 2016

Smart Start “Raising Forsyth” Breakfast Celebrates a Generation of Progress for Local Children and Families

Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc. (SSFC) will host its 20th Anniversary Breakfast, “Raising Forsyth,” on Tuesday April 12 at Bridger Field House at the BB&T Field on Deacon Drive in Winston-Salem.

Michelle Kennedy, WXII 12 News, will host the program that will include testimonials from professionals and community members, and the release of SSFC’s 20th anniversary report, “Raising Forsyth.”

“Raising Forsyth–our children, our quality, our eyes to a better future,” according to board chair Elizabeth Dampier, “has been the story of our first 20 years. And it remains our compass for the future!”

Larry Vellani, SSFC’s chief executive officer, shared, “We’ve been busy reaching out to all of our past board chairs and executive directors, hoping they can join us for the morning ceremonies.” He continued, “our list of past CEO’s and CVO’s is a who’s who of local community and early education leaders, including April Broadway, Chuck Kraft, Dean Clifford, Doug Punger, Jo Ellen Carson, Joel Leander, Karatha Scott, Mark Tucker, Michael Lischke, Nigel Alston, Paula McCoy, Rebecca Shore, Robert Donnan, Rodessa Mitchell, Ronald Montaquila, and Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin.”

In addition to Dampier, Kennedy, and Vellani, program presenters include Anna Miller-Fitzwater, MD, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center; Phygenia Young, EdS, Chair of Human Services Technology and Teacher Education at Forsyth Technical Community College; Sabrina Hinton, EdS, owner, North Point Academy, Inc., and TLC Learning Academy, Inc.; and Sharon Pinkney, owner, Kidz Zone Learning Center, Inc.

Originally incorporated in 1995 as the Forsyth Early Education Partnership, SSFC provides tools, training, resources, and leadership to help families help children thrive, while rallying the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County community to build and sustain an affordable, equitable, high quality system of early childhood development and learning for all children.

As a partnering organization with the North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. (NCPC) in Raleigh, NC, SSFC is the only private organization in Forsyth County, charged by state statute, to care about the quality and progress of the community’s early-learning system.

For further information, as well as information on tickets and sponsorships, visit www.SmartStart-FC.org, or contact Jackie Lofton, 336. 714.4349.

And our fantastic corporate and individual sponsors!KaplanLogo1

LakeshoreLogoRed  WFBMC_logo_master_rgb Goslen Printing Logo HatchLogo_Tagline ACWLC LOGO NO SCREEN BBT_Block_Burgundy rgb CommunityEmpBenefitsLogo final HBI logos-color spec2 jpg - 2013 Print Church Childcare logoBasic RGB Hege Financial Group logo (2) PNC_4C

and the Dampier, Punger & Vellani Families, and the SSFC Staff!

Vellani addresses joint study committee on early education …

… Health and Human Services Joint Oversight Committee takes deep dive into early ed programs …

Smart Start CEO Larry Vellani addressed the legislature’s joint oversight committee on early education and family support programs on Thursday February 25 in Raleigh.

Larry presented the legislators with an overview of what’s working in our local pre-k program; what’s not working; and a set of short and long term solutions, from the perspective of our local, Forsyth County practice.

Forsyth County Representative Donny Lambeth is a member of the study committee.DSC_0363

2016_0125 HHS Oversight Study Committee

Joining Larry as local content experts were

  • Doug Punger, JD, retired general counsel for the W-S/Forsyth County School Board, SSFC’s immediate past board chair, one of Governor McCrory’s appointees to the NC Partnership for Children’s board of directors, and Co-Chair of Forsyth County’s NC Pre-K Committee; and
  • Jenny Whitley, MEd, MBA, SSFC’s director of teaching and learning services, a professional educator with more than thirty years’ experience in early learning, and whose responsibilities include the management of the Pre-Kindergarten program in Forsyth County.

Citing the growing bi-partisan support for increased investments in early learning, Larry emphasized that in the early ed arena, “… opinions and facts merge into the common, shared reality that we can, must, and will do more to create a more robust, equitable system of early care and learning—not just in Forsyth County, but for the entire State.”

Larry’s complete written presentation can be read at Study Committee Presentation 2016_0224 .

Larry’s oral remarks can be read at Study Committee Presentation 2016_0225 – 10 minz .

Here’s the one-page summary that Larry presented, as requested by committee staff, in advance of the hearing, Summary Remarks 2016_0223.

The February 25 committee session included a North Carolina who’s-who of private and public, state and local  leaders in early education. A copy of the subcommittee’s full February 25 agenda and roster of speakers can be read here.

Samuel Odom (Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, UNC-Chapel Hill) and Kenneth Dodge (Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University) released to the subcommittee a summary of recent research findings on the Smart Start approach, the NC Pre-K program, and child care subsidies through the federal Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) block grant, respectively. Their presentation also included a comparison of encouraging research findings on North Carolina early learning programs and less encouraging findings of a Tennessee early learning program.

One-page presentation summary, Odom – Synopsis on SS NC PreK .

Complete slide set of the Odom-Dodge presentation, Odom Dodge – SS NCPre-K CCS .

… and some shots of the day’s passing scene …

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Doug Punger & Jenny Whitley prepare their notes for the session …

 

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Larry Vellani takes his assigned place … in the background, Cindy Watkins (l) and Pam Shue (r).

 

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Cindy Watkins (r) enjoying the warm up conversations with Zac Everhart (l), NCPC Board Member and Owner of Excel Creative Early Learning in New Bern.

 

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… and follow this link for a fuller sense of the morning’s work … pictures from the Feb 25 hearing.

 

Ready to CELEBRATE? … Time to PURCHASE your tickets! …

… 20 years to celebrate and a future to believe in … Purchase tickets on-line here … Your purchase helps support the critical operational needs of our partnership …

During North Carolina’s Week of the Young Child, join the Board, Staff, and Friends of Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc. for Invite Info Panel

Raising Forsyth
Tuesday, April 12
Bridger Field House
7:30 a.m.

Purchase your tickets on-line here!

For more information about sponsorships, visit Raising Forsyth Anniversary Breakfast Sponsorships and Raising Forsyth Sponsorship Letter Page_2Raising Forsyth Anniversary Breakfast Sponsorships

Watch this space for more information about our upcoming festivities!

A celebration of 20 years of making a difference in the lives of our community’s children, and their children!

  • Special  Guests:
  • Michelle Kennedy, WXII 12 News
  • Cindy Watkins, President, N.C. Partnership for Children, Inc.
  • Recognition of our First Generation of Volunteer & Professional Leaders
  • The view forward into our next generation of commitment to
    • our children succeeding, and
    • our families having the resources they need … to help …
    • our children thrive!

Seating is limited!

Your purchase helps support the critical operational needs of our partnership!

Attention, Parents! Atención, Padres! Time to apply for the 2016 – 2017 NC Pre-K program

… Aplicaciones de NC Pre–K para el año escolar 2016-2017 ya están disponibles … NC Pre-K applications for the 2016-2017 school year now available …Prek Flyer Spanish Version 2016 (Color)

It’s time! If you would like your child to participate in the NC Pre-K program, please visit “Apply Online” for more information.

Es tiempo! Si desea que su hijo participe en el programa NC Pre-K, por favor visite “Solicitud en Linea“ para obtener más información. Prek Flyer Spanish Version 2016 (Color)