12/20/05 — Patty Huffman to be new Smart Start coordinator

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Patty Huffman to be new Smart Start coordinator

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 20, 2005 1:46 PM

The new community services coordinator for Wayne Partnership for Children, which governs Smart Start, already has a history with the organization.

Before Patty Huffman moved to Goldsboro when her husband, Joe, accepted the position of city manager, she had spent several years working with Smart Start agencies.

From 2000 to 2005, she was evaluation director for the Scotland County Partnership for Children and Families. Before that, she was executive director of Craven County Council on Women in New Bern, a non-profit group with committees that worked to establish Smart Start in that area.

The affiliation was something she wanted to continue.

"This was very fortunate that a position came open in Wayne County," she said. "I'm excited about being here."

Her responsibilities will include handling community outreach, public relations and marketing, as well as promoting new and continuing programs.

She takes over the reins from Julie Odom, who has been in the position for three years. Mrs. Odom and her husband, Lane, are due to deliver their first child, and soon after, will relocate to Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas, where he will be an instructor pilot.

"I'm going to really miss the people and interacting with the people of Goldsboro," Mrs. Odom said. "The job provided me with the opportunity to meet all kinds of different people and I have become kind of attached."

One of the first new programs that will be launched in the new year is prenatal classes.

"We found there was no prenatal class offered for the general population in Wayne County," Mrs. Odom said. The first effort will be geared toward teen mothers, she said, then expand to a wider group in the county.

Volunteers are being enlisted to work in the program, with most classes to be offered at the partnership office and at Wayne Memorial Hospital. The classes will primarily be free, except for a nominal charge for a CPR class.

Mrs. Odom said they will last between six and eight weeks and will be beneficial in letting parents-to-be know what to expect when they go into the hospital.

"I think that will be really valuable also for getting parents into the partnership so that after they have their children, they'll be more likely to use our services," she said.