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Henrietta Zalkind: Celebrate 25 years with us

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Henrietta Zalkind is executive director of the Down East Partnership for Children.

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BY HENRIETTA ZALKIND
Down East Partnership for Children

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Please join us on April 25 as we celebrate our 25th anniversary in the Twin Counties.

It will be a fun night to dress up and enjoy the new event space at the Rocky Mount Mills. Connect with old friends and make new ones. It is time for us to celebrate progress and commit to make the next 25 years even better.

The Twin Counties is a great place to live, work and raise children. New businesses and new jobs are bringing renewed energy that will help us build on the positive things taking place. The future is here now, bringing new opportunities to build the talent pipeline that will sustain this growing economy each day as new babies are born.

We know the first five years of life are the most important for child development and that reading on grade level by the end of third grade is a prediction of future success. To sustain such growth and development, we must make sure that today’s children are ready to be tomorrow’s leaders.

Our goal is for every child to have the opportunity to be happy, healthy and successful. If we align policies and practices in child development — including health and development on track beginning at birth, supported and supportive families and communities and high-quality birth-through-eight learning environments with regular attendance — we will ensure an even brighter future for all.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend an early childhood summit in Raleigh for the launch of the N.C. Early Childhood Action Plan. Current and former governors, state legislators, philanthropists, advocates and early childhood leaders from across the state came to unite behind a plan to improve the lives of young children by 2025.

The plan outlines a cohesive vision, sets benchmarks for impact by the year 2025 and establishes shared stakeholder accountability to achieve statewide goals for young children from birth through age 8. The plan centers on three themes: that North Carolina’s young children are healthy, grow up safe and nurtured and are well-supported to be learning and ready to succeed.

This plan offers a great focus as we celebrate one milestone and move toward the next 25 years. It is also an opportunity for us to expand what works — like Smart Start — and develop strategies to address any challenges. We cannot lose sight of the vision where all children are born healthy, all schools have the resources needed to serve all children and teachers are fully compensated for the work they do.

Imagine our community 25 years from now. Will the children who are born today be ready to lead us? This is a journey we must continue together. We are thankful to our many partners who have made early education a priority.

We look forward to celebrating our anniversary with you and invite you to invite others to join us.

Upcoming Events at the Down East Partnership for Children include:

■ Nominations for Unsung Heroes, James Bellamy Community Awards: Nominations are being accepted for Unsung Heroes, the James Bellamy Community Awards. Forms are due March 22 to recognize unsung heroes in our community, giving unrecognized heroes recognition for selfless acts of service. Forms are available at depc.org. Event is April 5 at Truth Tabernacle from 4-6 p.m. RSVP required.

■ April 7-12 — Week of the Young Child.

■ April 7 — Celebrating Faith Communities: Faith communities across the Twin Counties are invited to incorporate children’s messages and activities into their services. We'd love to know your plans.

■ April 8 — Children’s Parade at DEPC’s Discovery Park: Registration at 10. a.m. Children’s parade at 10:30 a.m. Kick off the week with a fun start at DEPC’s Discovery Park. Children, providers and families are invited to come together and celebrate. There will be mascots and activities with a focus on strong transitions. Stay after the parade to enjoy all the park has to offer.

■ April 9 — Party in the Park: 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Discovery Park. Lots of fun and activities for young children and parents centered on health, safety and literacy.

■ April 12 — Second annual Fore Every Child Golf Classic: Lunch and registration is at noon. Shotgun start at 1 p.m. The event is open to all golfers — handicaps are not required. It will be an afternoon of fun in a scramble four-person format at the Links at Cotton Valley in Tarboro. The cost for a four-person team is $300. This year, enjoy lunch from Jersey Mike's and tastings out on the course from Tarboro Brewing Co., Bin & Barrel and the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. Prizes will go to the top three teams, and winners of the closest to the pin and longest drive. For more information, visit depc.org.

■ April 25 — An Anniversary Affair: 7 to 10 p.m. at the Power House at the Rocky Mount Mills. Invite your friends and celebrate DEPC’s 25th anniversary. Enjoy heavy hors d'oeuvres from Rose Hill, music by Brad Perkins of Impultz Entertainment, a photo booth and more fun. Tickets are $50 per person or $80 per couple and go to support the work of the partnership. Sponsorships are still available. Contact Bethany Lambeth at 252-985-4300 or blambeth@depc.org for more information.

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