Letter from the Executive Director
With summer upon us, the Partnership would like to thank our Smart Start and More At Four program partners for making this past fiscal year a success. As recognition and evidence of all of our hard work, the Partnership received a Program Excellence Award during the National Smart Start Conference in May. We have met performance standards based on the results of the annual performance evaluation conducted on each local partnership in the state. The families of Orange County receive the best service we can provide them and working together we will continue to provide high quality services.
While we were happy to hear of our success, there is still much work to do as our General Assembly meets to decide on how the limited state dollars will be distributed this year. Several partners and family members visited our legislators on May 19th for the Smart Start “Tuesdays4Tots” day. Our legislators listened to the work being done here in our county for the most vulnerable, young children and their families. And listened to family members describe the success of their children due to More at Four and Smart Start Programs.
The Healthy Kids Campaign continues to increase outreach to local families and provide programs that are making a difference. We are delighted to announce the opening of our newest garden in conjunction with Duke Energy. The James Street Growing Healthy Kids-Carrboro garden is a collaboration of Duke Energy the Partnership, Health and Wellness Trust Fund, Cooperative Extension, Episcopal Church of the Advocate, Carrboro United Methodist Church and the local Carrboro Community.
The Partnership would like to wish everyone a safe and relaxing summer.
Healthy Kids Day & Family Fest
The 2009 Healthy Kids Day & Family Fest was a great day of fun and learning for local families. 300 young children and parents attended the event and were entertained with great performances by KC Ace of Magic, singer Paul Rosenberg, The DSI Comedy Theater, Blue Dog Group, Hats Off Theater, and DJ Steve Wray. While children jumped, ran, and played, parents were given the opportunity to learn about many of the great programs that are available here in Orange County. The day was a complete success and we would like to thank all of our sponsors, exhibitors, and entertainers for making the 2009 Healthy Kids Day & Family Fest such a wonderful experience.
On Saturday May 30th at 10am, the Orange County Partnership for Young Children in collaboration with Duke Energy, held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its James St. faith-based community garden located in Carrboro. This is the third community garden started through the Growing Healthy Kids Program, which is part of the Partnership’s Healthy Kids Campaign. The community gardens have been an integral part of the Healthy Kids initiative; teaching young children and their families the importance of increased activity and better nutrition. For More Information
The Growing Healthy Kids Project is supported by a grant from the NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund and program support from the Orange County Cooperative
Community Garden Workshop
Recently, the Partnership along with Kidzu Children’s Museum and the Carrboro Farmers’ Market put on a workshop for local children and families. The workshop helped children learn the importance of good nutrition through learning stations and activities showing the many development stages of growing fruits and vegetables. The event was held at Carrboro Elementary school which is also the location of one of the Growing Healthy Kids Community gardens. The children and their families also had the opportunity to sample locally grown fruits and vegetables provided by the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. This learning experience was well attended and is a continued collaboration with the participating agencies.
2009 National Smart Start Conference
The 2009 Smart Start Annual Conference was held May 5-8 in Greensboro at Koury Convention Center. The event highlights the importance of early childhood programs and issues and provides an opportunity for people from across the country to attend workshops and seminars on varying issues. During the conference, awards were handed out to local Partnerships who met or exceeded the Performance Based Incentive System (PBIS). Our Partnership received a Bronze Award which also included a monetary stipend of $500. "We our proud of our accomplishments, but are also aware that we would not have reached this achievement without the dedication of our program partners and this community." Said Margaret Samuels, Partnership executive director.
Preventing Obesity by Design Grant Update
OCPYC and CCSA are moving forward in selecting a child care site for year 1 of the Preventing Obesity by Design (POD) program. POD is offered through a partnership between the National Learning Initiative at NC State and the North Carolina Partnership for Children with funding provided by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of North Carolina. The long-term goal of the POD program is to reverse the trend toward childhood obesity through improving outdoor environments in childcare centers and conducting related teacher education to support children’s physical activity and healthy eating:
- Conducted a POD Information Session on 5/14 to provide information to interested Orange County childcare agencies
- Received 3 POD applications from Orange County childcare centers
- As part of the application process, took photos of the playgrounds at the 3 CC centers
- In collaboration with CCSA and NCPC, will choose a year 1 POD recipient on June 22nd, 2009
More at Four Nationally Recognized, But Still in Jeopardy
Press Release March 8, 2009 NC Public Schools
North Carolina's nationally-recognized More at Four program once again ranks among the top pre-kindergarten programs in the nation, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). NIEER today released its annual survey of state-funded preschool programs, State of Preschool 2008, and for the fourth year, More at Four was one of only two programs in the nation to meet all 10 of the survey's benchmarks on early learning standards, teacher degrees, teacher specialized training, assistant teacher degrees, continuing professional development requirements, maximum class size, staff-child ratios, screening, referral and support services, meals and monitoring procedures.
"We are proud that More at Four continues to be a national model for high quality pre-k education," said State Board of Education Chairman and CEO Bill Harrison. "Yet we are cautious in celebrating this achievement today when the program faces a $40 million cut under the Senate's budget plan. Such a drastic reduction could mean thousands of North Carolina's most vulnerable children would miss out on gaining skills they need to enter school better prepared and ready to succeed." For More Information
New Members to the Partnerhsip Board
Sr. Pastor Mike Cureton became part of the OCPYC board in May and will be a local faith representative. Pastor Cureton joined the ministry team at Celebration Assembly of God in 2002. He was ordained and licensed in 1993 by New Life Church in Hampton, Virginia. He arrived in Chapel Hill, NC in 1996 to and planted New Life Kids Church, a ministry to intercity youth. In 2002, he founded Operation New Life (ONL). ONL is a Christ centered non-profit that minister to the hold person. ONL provides summer camp opportunities for intercity children, Angel Tree Christmas gifts, Back To School supplies (Golden Rule) and emergency relief support to families in Orange County. He is married to his wife of 21 years Cheryl, and they have two children.
CPS Early Childhood Mental Health Initiative
O.C. Department of Social Services. Designed to increase identification and treatmentof the special mental health needs facing veryyoung children and their families who are involvedwith Child Protective Services.
When DSS assumes custody of a child and the child is placed in foster care, weekly parent visits are arranged for the biological parents. These visits can be stressful for both child and parent, especially when very young children are involved. Often the foster parents report emotional and behavioral disruption after visits.
In one such case with a toddler, the Consultant with the CPS Early Childhood Mental Health Project planned with the DSS Social Worker to use the parent visits therapeutically – both to reduce the stress on the child and to improve parenting skills. The Consultant meets with the parent before the child arrives and they plan together for the visit, including developmentally appropriate toys and activities. During the visit, she applies the principles of Child-Parent Psychotherapy in helping the parent to understand the child’s communication. She also supports the parent in attempts to provide affection, protection, and nurturing, as well as providing information about appropriate developmental expectations.
After the child leaves the visit, the Consultant meets briefly with the parent to process how the visit went and develop goals for next week’s visit. The Consultant also checks in with the foster parent to see how the child is doing and provide consultation about positive behavioral support. Even after the first “therapeutic” visit, this child’s foster mother reported that he was more relaxed and less fussy than he had been after previous visits.
This is the sort of responsive and creative mental health intervention that may make a major difference in the lives of children and parents, but could not happen without close involvement with CPS – a relationship made possible by our Smart Start grant. In addition, the social workers may learn new ways to apply some of these approaches to other parent visits – suggesting that true systems change could be sparked through interventions closely integrated within the CPS system.
Carillon Assisted Living (this months exhibitor of the Young Children's Art Tour) will be holding a fundraiser for the Hillsborough Parks and Recreation Department. The event will be held on Thursday June 25, 2009, 4-6pm, at the Carillon Assisted Living facility, 1911 Orange Grove Rd. Hillsborough.
The afternoon will include games, food, music, and horses. For more information contact Macy Wilson at 919-732-9040
Child Care Health/Safety Consultant of the Orange County Health Department. Patty Rohdes will be at Kidzu from 1:30-4 pm on Sunday June 28th to answer parents' questions about their out heat exposure, sun exposure, inset bites, water safety, safety during lightning, and more. She will also provide information about summer safety for young children. Kidzu's Outreach Coordinator, Carol Osorio-Flores Hodgman, will be available to meet families and translate for Spanish speakers.
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