Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Cabarrus Partnership for Children Awarded Head Start Grant

Cabarrus Partnership for Children is excited to announce that we were awarded the Cabarrus County Head Start Grant by the Office of Head Start effective July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2020.  We are contracting with Cabarrus County Schools and other community partners to implement the Head Start program for children and families in Cabarrus County.  This program serves 170 children in 10 classrooms at the Long Preschool and the Lockhart Early Learning Center.

Our Head Start program: 
  • Provides a nurturing environment that supports the healthy growth and development of each child in the context of the child's family, culture, and community. 
  • Supports parents as partners in the shared decision-making process and as active participants in policy groups.
  • Recognizes the importance of strengthening linkages within communities. 

Cabarrus Partnership for Children's Head Start program currently has a waiting list, but applications for Cabarrus Head Start and NC Pre-Kindergarten programs can still be turned in at our new office at 1307 S. Cannon Blvd., Kannapolis, NC 28083.  Your child must be 3 or 4 years old by August 31, 2015 to be enrolled in these programs.  Please call 704-933-8278 ext. 101 for an appointment to enroll your child or for more information. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Cabarrus County Manager, Mike Downs, Receives the Cabarrus Community Champion Award for 2015

Cabarrus Partnership for Children has chosen to do something we have never done before – honor an individual with a special award… The Cabarrus Community Champion Award.

We want to honor an individual whose support and due diligence on our behalf have strengthened the Partnership and have had a huge impact within the community we serve.

(Left) Cabarrus County Manager, Mike Downs; (Middle) Board Chair, Robbie Furr; (Right) Cabarrus County Commissioner, Steve Morris.

This award is being given to Michael K. Downs – the Cabarrus County Manager. Mike has been employed by Cabarrus County for over 29 years and has held many titles during his tenure. He was appointed County Manager in November of 2011.  At that time, the County’s relationships in the community and with other jurisdictions were very strained. The County Commissioners entrusted Mike to rebuild these relationships and he has done so very successfully.

Mike is a true friend and supporter of the Cabarrus County Partnership for Children and that is the reason for this honor today. Mike’s most recent support involved the relocation of the Cabarrus Partnership in the same facility with Department of Human Services, which has lead to a closer working relationship with all of the Human Services departments.

Mike was also instrumental in the provision of IT services to link the Partnership with county IT services - which is not only cost saving to the Partnership but will be beneficial to the One Portal access for all child care services in 2016.

The County Board of Commissioners approved providing the space at no cost to the Partnership upon his recommendation, which has lead to many new family programs in Cabarrus County. We have been able to expand our Circle of Parents Program with teen mothers. We are also starting a new Circle of Parents with women in the county jail, as well as a new program for families suffering with the addiction of drugs and alcohol. We were able to begin our Reach Out and Read Program earlier than projected.

We continue to explore new opportunities with the savings the Partnership has realized from Mike’s help, which has resulted in several program expansions and new family programs, so it is with great honor that the Cabarrus Partnership for Children awards Michael K. Downs with the 2015 Cabarrus Community Champion Award.

As presented by Cabarrus County Commissioner and Board Member, Steve Morris, at the 2015 Annual Luncheon.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Jacqueline Whitfield Receives Award for Her Dedication to Cabarrus County Children

As you were growing up, did you ever have a teacher reach out and tell you that you had the potential to do great things? Or have an adult provide guidance that was much needed in your life? If we could find all the people that were touched by the love and support of Jackie Whitfield during her years in the Cabarrus County Schools, we could easily fill this room. Retirement seemed to ignite this passion, and she was asked to lead a task force to determine how best to use the education wing here at All Saints.

After a series of conversations with different people in the community, Jackie learned that about four hundred children in Cabarrus County were identified as needing a boost up to get them kindergarten ready, but due to financial reasons, the children could not get that experience. At that point, Jackie made it her personal mission to do something about it because the smallest voices were not being heard.

http://www.cabarrus.k12.nc.us/lockhartJackie led a team that developed collaboration between All Saints Episcopal Church, Cabarrus Partnership for Children, and Cabarrus County School Systems. She spent many hours in the education wing of the church meeting with inspectors, builders, and volunteers trying to get a school open in a short period of time. She spent many hours researching what was needed to get a school open, and even more hours making sure all the steps were taken. Within ten months, she succeeded with the opening of the Lockhart Early Learning Center.

That was not the end of the plan for Jackie however; she knew that many more children were waiting for the same opportunity. She pulled together a team to help create the All Saints’ Early Childhood Foundation. The focus of this non-profit organization is to raise public awareness of the poverty in the area and the impact it has on children’s education and the community as a whole. She hopes that the system created by this collaboration for the Lockhart Center can be duplicated at other churches and facilities throughout the community to enable all of the children who need pre-kindergarten educational experience, to get it. She has spoken to groups on a national level, knowing that this situation is not limited to just our community, but could be duplicated on a much larger scale.

http://www.cabarruspartnership.org/Jackie Whitfield's long and dedicated career and retirement has shown her commitment to young children in Cabarrus County.  She has worked tirelessly to pull together private and public groups of the community for the betterment of children as opposed to viewing each ones' resources as separate entities.  Additionally, Jackie has never taken "no" for an answer and has always found a way to ensure that the impossible becomes possible.  

It is, therefore, her unselfish, long term dedication to developing partnerships, advocating for, and supporting programs for young children that has earned her the Anne Laukaitis Champion for Children Award for 2015.  

Congratulations Jackie and thank you for your impact on the Cabarrus County community.