23. April 2013 16:21
Yesterday, the Partnership collaborated with MomsRising, The First 2,000 Days campaign, and White Rock Child Development Center to host a successful Giant Chutes & Ladders event that welcomed elected officials, advocates, parents, and young children to learn about the investments necessary to help young children thrive.
The Durham Herald-Sun provided great coverage in today’s newspaper. Click here to read more.
MomsRising will continue to travel across the state with the Chutes & Ladders game to bring attention to policies and budget cuts that affect young children in North Carolina.
“When we invest in kids, it makes a difference,” said Beth Messersmith, campaign director for NC MomsRising. “If we want North Carolina to compete and children to compete, we need to be investing in them.”
18. April 2013 16:21
On Monday, April 22nd from 10 am to 12 pm, members of the Durham community are invited to join us at White Rock Child Development Center (3400 Fayetteville St, Durham, NC 27707) to play a GIANT Chutes & Ladders Game in an event organized by MomsRising, The First 2,000 Days Campaign, and the Partnership. Children and families are welcome and encouraged to attend!
Based on the classic children’s board game, the 40-foot-long Chutes & Ladders board highlights the public investments that are essential to ensuring all of NC’s children get the strong start they need to succeed. These include:
• quality, affordable early learning programs such as Smart Start and NC Pre-K;
• child care subsidies that allow parents to work and contribute to the economy;
• quality public K-12 education;
• infant mortality prevention programs; and
• access to health care for children provided through programs such as Medicaid and NC Health Choice.
Help us spread the word that giving NC’s young children a solid foundation is not a game. This free event will feature a press conference to remind our community and leaders that investing in kids means investing in NC’s future, as well as the life-size game, crafts, hula hoops, bubbles, and more.
"Our community has abundant resources, and we have deep needs,” said Laura Benson, Executive Director of the Partnership. “We make difficult choices every day of how to use our money and our time. I am convinced that the best decision is to make the early years our number one priority. When we invest in our youngest children, they will thrive - now, and for years to come."
Along with playing the game, families will be invited to write notes sharing their thoughts on why investing in NC’s children matters, create their own mini-game pieces, and decorate baby onesies with messages and drawings about why building strong kids builds a strong North Carolina.
» For more information, contact: Felicia@momsrising.org or (919) 812 -3937
» To learn more about MomsRising, visit MomsRising.org.
15. February 2013 10:05
“Every major national priority — strong defense, vibrant economy, clean environment, good health — requires a well-educated workforce and citizenry. We are most likely to achieve that goal when all children have a good start in life, especially in the crucial years from before birth to age five.” – ReadyNation, Thursday, February 14, 2013
Thursday morning, President Obama shared his plan to expand and improve early learning. It has three main components:
- Pre-k for all 4-year-olds at or below 200% of the federal poverty level,
- Greater access to high-quality child care for children birth to three through expanded Early Head Start, and
- Expansion of maternal, infant and early childhod home visiting programs.
» Click to read the Fact Sheet President Obama’s Plan for Early Education for all Americans
» Click to read The Washington Post’s outline of the plan
We are thrilled to have early childhood issues in the national spotlight. As the President noted, early childhood investments provide a significant return. Nobel Prize economist James Heckman found every dollar invested in early education produces a 7-10% return. The returns come from increased earnings for individuals and, to the public, savings in welfare, special education, and the costs of crime, as well as increased income tax revenues.
There are only 2,000 days from the time a child is born to when that child begins kindergarten. During that brief time period, 90 percent of critical brain development occurs. The actual wiring that forms the brain’s architecture happens in infancy and early childhood. And how that wiring is formed, either as a strong or weak foundation, depends on a child’s earliest experiences.
For a strong foundation, children need strong families, environments that support healthy outcomes and early care and education programs that provide safe and age-appropriate opportunities for learning. President Obama’s plan addresses each of these.
Research shows that early education is an effective way to increase parent productivity, improve children’s lives, create jobs and grow the economy. We know that if we want a strong, competitive economy, we have no time to waste. And we know that our state has a long history of being a leader in early childhood, and that’s a position that we hope to maintain!
Photo credit: Saul Loeb/AP
12. February 2013 11:44
Did you know that of the 170 legislators in Raleigh this year, 102 of them have been serving less than 3 years? We see this as an opportunity to educate a new group of decision makers on the issues facing young children and the importance of high-quality early care and education, family support, and early intervention programs that prepare children for school and life.
Our friends at North Carolina Early Childhood Association need your help. They developed a Valentine’s campaign in which community members and early childhood supporters can send personalized cards and messages to legislators in Raleigh this Valentine’s Day to help educate on the issues our children and families face. Throughout the month of February, please utilize the Valentine’s postcard to welcome your newly elected legislators and end with a Valentine’s greeting.
» Download the Valentine’s postcard here or click on the card below.
Sample messages might include:
- “The best dollar spent for education goes to early childhood education. A Federal Reserve Bank study found that for every dollar invested in early childhood programs since 1960, over $8 in benefits were returned to the students, parents, and the general public. Over 80% of that return was given directly to the public through more efficient K-12 education, decreases in crime, decreases in welfare payments, and increased earnings. Be my Valentine and support funding for NC’s early childhood initiatives.”
- “Did you know that a great early childhood teacher partners with families around their children’s development? Be my Valentine and support funding for NC’s early childhood initiatives.”
- “A great early childhood teacher helps young children learn to work and play well with others. Children with strong social skills engage in less destructive behavior, are healthier, more focused, and have greater academic achievement. Be my Valentine and support funding for NC’s early childhood initiatives.”
- “Families need you to be their Valentine. Many families need help paying for child care and pre-k so they can work and their children can learn. Support funding for NC’s early childhood initiatives.”
- “Did you know that North Carolina has developed the nation’s best early childhood system with its 5-star rated license, NC Pre-K, Smart Start, child care subsidy and early childhood workforce supports? Be my Valentine and support funding for NC’s early childhood initiatives.”
The more cards and letters received by our legislators, the better. It is important that your message is welcoming. Be sure to sign your name and address and use envelopes that are standard size to go through the mail.
Senator Mike Woodard; Senator Floyd B. McKissick, Jr.; Representative Larry D. Hall; Representative Paul Luebke; Representative Valerie P. Foushee; Representative Henry M. Michaux, Jr.
If outside of Durham County, click here for a full list of 2013 North Carolina State Senators and Representatives by County.
8. February 2013 10:24
In our last feature on the Partnership blog, we focused on the importance of evaluating our work. We talked about the steps we take in the evaluation process and who is involved. We also shared our FY11-12 Program Evaluation Report. This report provides an overview of community level and program level impacts from all of the Partnership’s programs: Smart Start, NC Pre-K, Early Head Start, Faith Initiative, and Transition to Kindergarten Initiative.
Below are some key findings – taken directly from the Evaluation Report – that showcase the great work accomplished by our Smart Start funded partners. (Note: These findings are just one piece of the work highlighted in the full report, which outlines all of our programming areas).
- 88% of school readiness outcomes were achieved or exceeded by Smart Start programs, up from 81% the previous year.
- While Partnership programs are showing successful outcomes for children and families in Durham, these programs are serving fewer children, families and child care facilities than in prior years as a result of reduced funding. Partnership programs reached 20 fewer child care facilities in FY11-12 than the prior year and this resulted in 443 fewer children benefitting from these services.
- While Partnership programs were able to reach 76% of children enrolled in licensed child care facilities in FY 11-12, children in child care represent about one-third of the total birth to 5 population in Durham. More than 15,000 children are not enrolled in licensed child care programs, and an additional 2,693 are not enrolled in high-quality (4- or 5-star) care, indicating that almost 75% of children in Durham may be in need of additional services to prepare them for kindergarten.
The report sheds light on two critical things: 1) Our Smart Start funded programs are achieving at a high level, and 2) Due to lack of funding, the impact on the community is not as great as it could be if we were able to reach more children and families.
Durham’s Partnership for Children’s funding has been declining in recent years, while the early childhood population in Durham is growing.
- Smart Start funding is at its lowest level in 12 years. In Durham, current funding is almost 50% lower than in 2000. ($5.84 Million, down from $10.92 Million)
- Meanwhile, there has been a 25% increase in the birth to 5 population between 2000 and 2012. (24,793 children, up from 18,613)
- As a result, Durham County currently receives $351 less funding per capita than in 2000.
With another year of strong evaluation work behind us our focus is sharpened. Evaluation results reinforce the continued need for additional public and private funding that will increase access to high-quality early education and support services for Durham’s youngest children and their families. What could we accomplish for young children and families if we had more to invest?
14. December 2012 09:36
The Partnership hosted its fifth workshop in our Tools You Can Use series on Thursday, December 13th. Focusing on “How to Advocate for Young Children,” the workshop helped participants tackle several areas of strategy for advocacy work during the legislative session, including understanding the legislative process, developing messages, and educating lawmakers on the issues that affect our most vulnerable populations. Rob Thompson and Beth Messersmith facilitated the workshop and invited attendees to share their advocacy experience and take part in messaging exercises.
Rob Thompson is the executive director at the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children, which is a coalition of service providers, civic associations, and advocacy organizations who work to advance public policy that benefits children and families in North Carolina. Rob has held various advocacy positions. From 2003 to 2005, Rob worked as an organizer at the Center for Campus Free Speech, where he organized campus communities and lawyers around the country to protect the First Amendment rights of students. From 2005 to 2008, Rob directed NC Public Interest Research Group (NCPIRG), a consumer and good government advocacy group. There he worked as the chief lobbyist and spokesperson for NCPIRG. Rob is one of the top organizers of TogetherNC, a statewide network of non-profit organizations, service providers, and professional associations that advocate for maintaining and building upon the public investments that support the fabric of our community.
Beth Messersmith has served as campaign director for NC MomsRising since 2007, where she has lead the movement to empower citizens to fight to protect children in the North Carolina state budget. MomsRising is an all-volunteer group that consists of 28,000 members across the state and advocates for early care and education, maternity and paternity leave, fair wages and access to health care, among other issues. Previously, Beth has worked as co-executive director of Democracy North Carolina and a field organizer for Democracy South.
The Tools You Can Use workshop provided an incredible opportunity for our partners to interface with leading advocacy strategists and learn of tactics that directly apply to their work. Thank you to all who participated in this event!
» To keep up to date on Partnership news from the legislative session and other advocacy events, please sign up to become a Partnership insider.
10. December 2012 15:24
Children were already busy and engaged in their classrooms when Governor Bev Perdue arrived at Primary Colors Early Learning Center early this morning. Primary Colors is one of 12 private child care sites in Durham County that serves 4-year-olds through the North Carolina Pre-kindergarten program.
NC Pre-K is funded by the State of North Carolina and is designed to provide 4-year-old children, who may not otherwise be served in high-quality settings, with a valuable educational experience. Each year families apply for the program in spring for August enrollment; last year, a total of 1,278 families applied for the program in Durham, and Durham County serves 420 children.
Governor Perdue acknowledges NC Pre-K to be one of the finest and most successful pre-kindergarten programs in America and has long been a supporter of early education.
Her visit to Primary Colors reflects her passion for investment in early childhood. In Executive Order 128 (issued in October), Governor Perdue elected to increase pre-k funding across the state, directing enrollment of up to 6,300 eligible at-risk four-year-olds in NC Pre-K beginning in October 2012. This increase in Durham County allows us to serve an additional 97 children.
Today, as we spoke to Governor Perdue about the number of families who apply to NC Pre-K, the number of children still on the waiting list, and the extensive education that is required of NC Pre-K teaching staff, she saw exactly what expansion means for school readiness in Durham County.
» For more photos from Governor Perdue's visit to Primary Colors, check out the Partnership on Facebook.
7. November 2012 09:25
The Partnership invites you to its free “How to Advocate for Young Children” workshop, the fifth training in our Tools You Can Use Series. Beth Messersmith, Campaign Director at NC MomsRising, and Rob Thompson, Executive Director at The Covenant with NC’s Children, will lead this workshop by engaging participants in ways to take action and make positive change happen. See our invitation below for more specific takeaways.
When: Thursday, December 13, 2012 from 9 am – noon
Where: Jim and Carolyn Hunt Child Care Resource Center (1201 S. Briggs Avenue, Durham, NC 27703)
Space is limited. RSVP to Kelly McCoy at email@example.com or 919-403-6960 ext. 230 by December 10, 2012.
1. June 2012 14:05
Yesterday MomsRising installed hundreds of paper dolls created by young children across North Carolina at the General Assembly. These dolls serve to remind our legislators of the importance of early childhood and the support early care and education programs receive from North Carolina's families.
We would like to thank MomsRising Executive Director/Chief Organizer Beth Messersmith for doing an amazing job coordinating this event, as well as MomsRising for their continued support of early learning. On top of the hundreds of paper dolls, MomsRising also assembled 16 pages of personal messages from NC parents in support of early learning which were distributed to all members of the General Assembly.
Many of the paper dolls on display were created by Durham's own young children earlier this month at the Pizza and Paper Dolls Party. This event, organized by MomsRising in collaboration with Durham's Partnership for Children, allowed local children and families to reach out to our Durham representatives and let them know how much early childhood programs are valued in our own community.
For legislative updates, and to learn how you can become an advocate for early childhood, click here.
14. May 2012 09:28
Last Thursday night, Durham's Partnership for Children collaborated with MomsRising of North Carolina to host a Pizza and Paper Dolls Party at White Rock Baptist Church. Local families with young children came out to enjoy dinner and create life-size paper dolls of the children. The dolls will be displayed for the legislators as a reminder of the critical role high quality early care and education programs play in the future of our state. The dolls will be installed on May 23rd in front of the General Assembly. We hope legislators will recognize our message, that while the dolls may be two-dimensional, our children are not. North Carolina families support the quality early learning programs it takes to raise well-rounded children in our state.
Families were able to convey this message to two of our local leaders directly. With Representative Michaux and Senator McKissick in attendance, MomsRising and the Partnership had the chance to present them each with a paper doll covered in messages from families about their hopes for the early childhood system.
If you're looking for a way to get involved with early childhood, consider attending the Children's Advocacy Day this Thursday, May 17th. The day, organized by Action for Children and the United Way, will include training on key issues, guest speakers, and an opportunity to visit the legislators. For more information on the Children's Advocacy Day, click here.
For updates and details on the May 23rd installation of the paper dolls, keep following the Blog and check out our Facebook page!