06/10/04 — Smart Start representatives carry message to legislators

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Smart Start representatives carry message to legislators

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 10, 2004 1:58 PM

A group representing Wayne Partnership for Children met recently with state legislators to talk about the importance of continuing funding for Smart Start programs.

Julie Odom, community services coordinator for the partnership, said the contingent participated in an all-day event in Raleigh called "Tuesdays for Tots." She called it a means to educate lawmakers about the effect that budget cuts to Smart Start have had on young children and their families, and about what a restoration of those funds would mean.

The group of nine included Ms. Odom, Partnership Director Don Magoon, parents, a child attendant, and representatives from Parents as Teachers and the Reach Out and Read programs.

They were given 20 minutes to speak with each local legislator, and managed to schedule time with Sen. John Kerr, Rep. Larry Bell, and Rep. Louis Pate.

During the time with Pate, Angela O'Reilly, a parent, told him that Smart Start has been a valuable resource to her family.

"I was able to take the CPR course and that was a very valuable experience," she said. The Wayne Partnership for Children offers the course on a regular basis for $15 per class, she said.

Family child attendant Donna Raynor said if it weren't for Smart Start, she could not have gone to school. "I just graduated with an associate in early childhood degree," she said.

Pate said it might be a little-known fact but his wife is a kindergarten teacher "and I hear the same things, so you are verifying what she said."