We Stand Together.
Dear Smart Start Community,

George Floyd’s memorial service on June 4th was a sad and emotional culminating event in the life of a murdered Black man. What it cannot be is a culminating event in our community’s response to combat racism and inequity. We all know the names of Arbery, Floyd, and many others who have been the ultimate victims of racism and hate. Sadly, very few of us know the names of the countless Black and Brown people who suffer inequity, injustice, emotional, and physical pain every day. Until we all stand up and take on their fight, we have not fulfilled our duty as citizens of this great county.

Our goals for the children of Mecklenburg County cannot be achieved without first recognizing and dismantling the systems of bias that provide privilege to some and are inequity to others. We must continue to work towards advancing equity with humility and awareness of our history and limitations, and a recognition that no individual, leader, or organization has all the answers.

On behalf of Smart Start of Mecklenburg County, we commit to standing with our community and relentlessly working together to create environments where each and every child, family, and early childhood professional can thrive. As the leaders of this organization, we will fight to ensure everyone has a voice, and oppression is stopped in its place the minute it dares to rear its ugly head. The youngest citizens of Mecklenburg County are counting on us to do better. We must deliver for them.
Statements and letters have concluding sentences. This one does not. The conversation continues and we are listening.

Yours In Service,

Jake House
Incoming CEO, Smart Start of Mecklenburg County

Mike Blackwelder
Interim Executive Support, Smart Start of Mecklenburg County

Cheryl Richards
Board Chair, Smart Start of Mecklenburg County

Welcome To The Team
Join us in welcoming new Smart Start team members, Jake House and Elizabeth Kabalka.
Jake House
Elizabeth Kabalka
Program Director
COVID-19 Response
As the coronavirus spreads across Mecklenburg County and beyond, the community we serve is at an unprecedented risk. Our programs and partners are adapting to protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19. Your support empowers them to keep delivering life saving resources on the frontlines of the pandemic.
Do you have a child who will be four years old on or before August 31? You may
be eligible for MECK Pre-K, a Mecklenburg County-funded program that offers
free, quality pre-kindergarten at locations across the county.
2020 Virtual Smart Start Conference
All of the virtual Smart Start Conference sessions, including the featured session "Supporting Early Childhood Education During Crisis" were recorded and can be viewed on YouTube or via links in the individual session descriptions on the conference site where you can also find the handouts if available.

Thanks again for making the 2020 Virtual Smart Start Conference a success!

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Census Bureau has adjusted its operations so that the self-response period will continue through October 31.

What does that mean?

You and your neighbors can complete it — online, over the phone or by mail — now through October. But why not complete it now? It's quick and easy.

The 2020 Census questionnaire will take about 10 minutes to complete.
Healthy Futures is coming back, beginning with a series called Color Me Healthy . They are following all the protocols to keep things as safe as possible and will also be live streaming the class through WebEx for those who can't join us in person.

Sign up today for either June 20 or June 27 classes.

Hope to see you soon.
Your Input Matters
If you love our community as much as we do, we invite you to share your ideas to help shape the future. Feedback helps us improve, and we'd love to hear from you. Keep an eye out for our survey we'll be emailing out June 17. Make sure you're subscribed to our newsletter to receive it!
Resources for Supporting Children’s Emotional Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Click below for guidance, recommendations, and resources which are provided by child trauma experts at Child Trends and the Child Trauma Training Center at the University of Massachusetts.

The Center is housed at the University of Massachusetts with Child Trends as the lead evaluating agency, with funding from SAMHSA and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and additional support from HRSA.
Racism and Violence: Using Your Power as a Parent to Support Children Aged Two to Five
This resource provides thoughts and guidelines for talking about the complex issues of racism and equality in age-appropriate ways with children aged two to five years of age.
Let’s Pass It On
If you would like to support the Imagination Library in Mecklenburg County by donating online, make sure to select the box that reads, "I would like to designate this donation to a specific Imagination Library affiliate." This will help us put books in the hands of more children in our community.