SSFC expedites RFA process for rollout of Dolly Parton Imagination Library

… legislative leaders press for aggressive, statewide rollout of book delivery program …

SSFC, Inc., in cooperation with the NC General Assembly, NCPC, Inc., and the Dollywood Foundation, Inc., is receiving applications from non-profit or public organizations in Forsyth County to expedite the implementation of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) in all zip codes of Forsyth County on or before December 4, 2017.

Interested organizations must submit a letter of intent, co-signed by the chief executive and chief volunteer officer of the organization, by close of business (COB) Tuesday November 7, and the completed application by Tuesday November 14. Applications must include all necessary attachments and documentation.

The RFA (Request for Applications) review committee will provide notice to the awardee by November 22, 2017.

The implementing organization will receive access to a one-time award of $10,000, payable over the course of two years (December 2017 through June 2019) to support implementation work. The implementing organization will receive $1.80 for each correctly-registered child. The availability of the per-child stipend to the implementing organization after June 2019 is subject to the availability of General Fund support in the next biennium.

The expedited implementation plan must include provisions for the following:

  • Implementation of DPIL in all 24 Forsyth County zip codes by December 4, 2017.
  • Reasonable plan for program sustainability after June 2019.
  • Organizational metrics on current or previous administration of other, evidence-based or evidence-informed, pre-literacy programs and early literacy book-distribution programs for children birth to five in Forsyth County.
  • Implementation consistent with the DPIL 3.0-2017 US Operations Training Manual 6 24 17.doc, including:
    a) Targets for the number of children for enrollment in DPIL each year for FY 2017-18 and for FY 2018-19.
    b) Outreach, communication, and management of book inventory in promoting aggressive recruitment of families and highly effective techniques for loss prevention of undelivered books, particularly through existing community partnerships or other business relationships.
    c) Data entry about participating children and families in the Dollywood Foundation Book Ordering System (BOS) database.
    d) Management of undelivered books from post offices and re-delivery of returned books to other locations for public use on a weekly basis.
    e) Participate in NCPC’s state evaluation, in particular, NCPC’s March 2018 Implementation report to the NC General Assembly.

Please complete the on-line application survey here.

This DPIL RFA process is subject to the provisions of the “Smart Start Competitive Bidding Policy, June 13, 2017-Revised,” available upon request.

As the activating contractor for DPIL in Forsyth County, SSFC is statutorily eligible and will be submitting a competitive application for the expedited implementation of DPIL pursuant to the RFA.

For further information, submit written questions to Charlette Lindell, Director, Compliance and Quality Assurance at CharletteL@SmartStart-FC.org.

Vellani addresses International Forum on Children’s Rights

… delivers remarks remotely to international gathering in the City of Ufa, in the Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia …

When international service called, Larry answered.

In a first for Larry and a Smart Start executive–at the local or state level–Larry prepared and videotaped brief professional greetings to participants of the International Symposium of Specialists for the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Children.

The international conference takes place Thursday and Friday September 28 and 29, 2017.

Larry responded to the request of a former Elon University student, Elena Vladimirova, now a doctoral candidate in educational psychology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. Elena Vladimirova was assisting her former employer in Ufa, Elena’s home town, and a long time Vladimirova family friend, Tatyana Kvasnikova, Department Head, Trustee & Guardianships, City of Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia.

Larry composed the text from some brief suggestions sent by Ms. Kvasnikova, and Elena handled the video and audio challenges.

For more background information about the conference, read the brief conference overview.

Ufa is a city of more than a million residents, located about one thousand miles east of Moscow, in the western foothills of the Ural Mountains. Ufa is the capitol of Bashkortostan, the most populous of all the federated republics of Russia.

This collaboration is the second time that Larry has assisted a jurisdiction along the Eurasian frontier. In October 2008, Larry consulted with a delegation of Kazak public officials and civil servants, traveling and studying in the United States as participants of the Administrative Reform Program at the Center for International Development, a program of Duke University’s Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy. Larry partnered in the consultative meetings with current NCPC President, Cindy Watkins. At that time, Larry was the board chair of the Alamance Partnership for Children, Inc., in Graham, NC, where Cindy Watkins was serving as the executive director. (Vellani presents to Kazak delegation.)

Larry’s complete remarks, as well as a link to YouTube, follow here:

Greetings
Lawrence D. P. “Larry” Vellani, MPA
International Specialists’ Forum for the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Children
“Metropolis: Territory of Childhood”
Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia
28 September 2017

“Esteemed Colleagues–

“My name is Larry Vellani; I am the director of a private, NGO, serving families with children birth through the age of 8 in the city of Winston-Salem in North Carolina.

“It is my privilege to welcome the participants of the International Specialists’ Forum for the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Children, organized under the theme:”METROPOLIS: THE TERRITORY OF CHILDHOOD”.

“In each country of the world, children are the most precious, valuable aspect of the human experience. And the work to protect the human rights and the legal interests of children is a duty of all, but a profound calling for people like you and me.

“Protecting the rights of children, and securing the quality of their future, remain perhaps the most important global challenges of our time. Our children are our future. And their cognitive, social, and physical development define and control the development of human society.

“At this time, it is without debate that no individual country can claim the role of supreme leader or shining exemplar in the work of upholding children’s rights.

“In every country, even where citizens may enjoy a level of economic security, too many families suffer under the toxic stress of poverty, contributing to infant mortality, abuse and neglect, and juvenile delinquency.

“Our ever-more, interconnected world makes it impossible to meaningfully address those problems at a national level. Our only hope, our only path forward is to ignite and unite the efforts of the world community.

“Truly effective efforts to promote the protection of the rights of all children require a system of mutually-agreed upon actions by state and non-governmental organizations with the goal of integrating internationally-recognized concepts of the rights of children within national laws and regulations.

“During the 20th century, the world community made great strides in international law promoting and enforcing children’s rights. Beginning after World War I, and later, with the United Nations, the world community established important international statutes and protocols, AND the organizations to train and monitor the advancement of children’s rights. Such actions and supporting organizations include: the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1924; the United Nations’ Social Commission, the United Nations Children’s Fund; and, in 1990, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to name but a few. Today this international system of law, covenant, and protocol helps to coordinate the work of professionals and volunteers in many countries working to protect children and their rights.

“Dear Forum Participants!

“With sincerest collegial respect, I wish you inspiration, insight, and a deepening sense of professional trust and solidarity! I wish for you the opportunity for intellectual struggle leading to professional growth AND the strength to delve deeply, transparently into our common challenges and opportunities to advance the rights of children in your country, in my country, in every country. May your hard work increase the opportunities for parents and guardians to help children succeed, families thrive, and communities prosper in each and every corner of every nation!

“Thank you for your passion and commitment. Together we can help change the world for the better, for our children, and the children of our children!

“Good luck!”

 

… a brief clip from the conference’s opening session …

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.

Diana was honored again on September 15 by the Pro Humanitate Institute at Wake Forest University for this same award. In addition to her recent election as secretary of Smart Start’s corporate board, Diana serves on the N.C. Bar Association’s Minorities in the Profession Committee and on the Winston-Salem Zoning Board of Adjustment. She has also taught bankruptcy courses for paralegals at Forsyth Technical Community College. The Pro Humanitate Institute connects the mission of Wake Forest University to the broader community.

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.

EdNC.org Interviews Smart Start CEO

… read EdNC correspondent Katy Clune’s full story Closing the Gaps: Smart Start of Forsyth County as part of EdNC’s on going series Focus on Forsyth

On February 1, EdNC’s Katy Clune sat down with SSFC’s CEO Larry Vellani. Follow the full conversation below. For further information about EdNC’s feature series, Focus on Forsyth, visit EdNC’s Focus on Forsyth.

EdNC: On the subject of relationships. What advice would you offer to a community who is attempting to foster a network among its early childhood education services? (This is clearly one of Winston-Salem’s greatest assets)

LV
.. overlook no one, recognize and embrace the value of the participation of a diversity of opinion; then, once you have folks gathered around the table, support active listening skills and terrific meeting management its as much about creating the space in which people can participate, and creating a culture of inclusiveness & transparency, so that folks feel respected, feel they know whats going on, feel that their concerns & perspectives are taken into account, and that the group is rallied around the same, strong, parent-&-child-centered agenda

– EdNC: What kind of programs/services does Smart Start support that touch multiple generations? (Reach out and Read is one of them, for example)

LV
with our own staff, of course, our ROR & ABCD programs, our classroom field work, our educator scholarship program through our offices and our itinerant instructor partnership with Forsyth Tech, as well as our own parent engagement & training through our family scholarship program and our subcontractors at Imprints Cares & Work Family Resource Center and Help Me Grow is an exciting, transgenerational program in its early stages of initiation

– EdNC: Are there lessons learned at Smart Start of Forsyth County you think can be applied in other counties?

… Larry engaging at the Reggio Emilia exhibit “The Wonder of Learning” at Northgate Mall in Durham, NC, January through May … for more info, visit https://www.northgatemall.com/event/wonder-of-learning-exhibit/

LV
listen to the parents, the teachers and the providers about what they need and want have a big table and dont be afraid, dont back away from asking tough questions to get at deeper understanding and deeper consensus, based upon the valuable experience and insight of each of the players and in 21st century North America, regardless of the region, state or province, that means lifting up equity, examining privilege, understanding the continuum of opportunities and access that feed the gaps we bemoan it is no accident that some parts of our educational system are doing great and others are languishing its a system: value in value out, garbage in, garbage outand Im not talking about people when I say garbage

– EdNC: Why is inter-generation support important?

LV
if by inter-generational you mean programs that provide opportunity for children and adults at the same time, as part of a family system, then doing so keeps us aligned with Mother Nature and in sync with ourselves as social animals simply put: working with the entire family is natures way, its the guarantee of the most successful outcomes for the kids and adults long term

– EdNC: Why is early childhood education so vital to brain development?

LV

… Larry engaging at the Reggio Emilia exhibit “The Wonder of Learning” at Northgate Mall in Durham, NC, January through May … for more info, visit https://www.northgatemall.com/event/wonder-of-learning-exhibit/

as walking and running and tumbling, with sufficient rest, is fundamental to physical development, so providing enriching, serve-and-return environments is key to how the human brain develops nurture launches nature early ed is about nurturing the entire child within a safe, healthy, stimulating human and natural environment when a child is fortunate to be positioned in that way, his or her brain takes off I believe as a society we owe every child the opportunity for that kind of start in failing one child, we fail all of us

– EdNC: What is one of the challenges in your work, and how do you get around it?

LV
summoning your best thoughts in the moment for a camera 😉 … more seriously, the greatest challenge is the oppressive, suffocating power of poverty, and our inability as a social and economic community to maximize market return on human capital with the same spare-no-expense commitment that we seem to approach maximizing return on financial capital and how do I deal with it? … I have limited control, in the short run, on gross economic inequalities that result in the grinding poverty in our midst I do frequently have to deal with channeling my own sense of urgency for change with an awareness of the privilege that I enjoy to be able to help create & lead change everyone is not at the same level of understanding or same level of passion for the opportunities for progress that I and others see around us how do I seek to meet & be in tune with folks where they are at in the moment, and, at the same time, know that Im in the business to help people move toward the goals we truly do share that’s often my greatest challenge each day … and, believe me, I’m a work in progress and working on it … with the support and patience of my staff, my board, and other allies and mentors in the community … but, in the end, real, lasting change can only move at the speed of trust …

– EdNC: What motivates you to keep striving when the work gets tough?”

LV
my sense that people have struggled long & hard on my behalf to help fearlessly clear the way for me in my early childhood & youth &

What’s buzzin’ with Don Quixote & Sancho Panza on Larry’s desk?

into young adulthood and that people did the same for my parents & their parents before them and they did so, because they believed I had something to contribute to the world Im here to make a difference, not to be indifferent and as long as I think Ive got the energy & passion to do that professionally in the early childhood arena then Ill be at this post and when the time for change comes, I hope Ive made this post & this organization & this community a bit better place to be for the folks who come after me

Extra:

Two brief video excerpts from a later EdNC video-taping at SSFC’s offices …

 

Brief excerpt on the importance of Birth – 3, and Serve-and-Return Relationships

 

… Larry doing his level best to work on serve-and-return with a very patient, youth-volunteer at the SSFC Children’s Area at “Christmas For the City 2016” at the Benton Convention Center in downtown Winston-Salem, Dec 21, 2106 … la msica y las historias contina

 

… 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 …

dsc_0839

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.

dsc_0833

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.