Celebrate Read Where You Are Day tomorrow

by Administrator 28. July 2015 14:29

Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 29th is national Read Where You Are Day! Join the US Department of Education for this day of action and learn how you can help stop summer learning loss and close the achievement gap. 

Reading during the summer makes a huge difference during the school year. It can help kids get ahead, catch up or not lose ground when they return to school. When children aren’t in school, they forget crucial skills they learned during the year – at least a month of reading achievement, on average. This phenomenon, known as summer learning loss, is particularly detrimental for children from low-income families. With limited access to books and other academic opportunities in the summer, summer learning loss accounts for 80% of the income-based achievement gap.

These last few weeks of summer are the perfect time to help all young people to strive to read more - wherever you are! Take a photo of you, your family, your students or your friends reading and post it on social media tomorrow using #ReadWhereYouAre. Share your reading photos and invite others to take action and encourage early literacy – today, tomorrow and every day!

Dine out during Fridays for Families

by Administrator 23. July 2015 13:04

The Exchange Family Center has partnered with the Hilton Garden Inn – University Medical Center to support children and families in Durham! Every Friday, the Hilton Garden Inn will donate 10% of all food and beverage sales to Exchange Family Center to aid in their efforts to prevent child abuse and strengthen families. 

By visiting the Hilton Garden Inn for breakfast, dinner or drinks, you can support a great cause and enjoy a nice treat on Fridays! Please post pictures on Facebook and Twitter of your Fridays for Families experience when you go, and be sure to use the hashtag #FridaysForFamilies.

The Hilton Garden Inn is located at 2102 W. Main Street and is open daily to the public.

Breakfast: 6am - 10am
Dinner: 5pm - 10pm
Lounge: 5pm - 11pm

The Exhange Family Center's EChO (Early Childhood Outreach) program offers consultation services and support to child care providers and families when a young child's behavior presents a challenge in the classroom. EChO is funded by the Partnership through Smart Start. 

Annual Kids Count Report Ranks NC 35th in Nation on Child Well-Being

by Administrator 22. July 2015 16:18

The number of children in North Carolina living in poverty has increased by 25 percent since 2008, according to a new report released yesterday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Casey Foundation's Kids Count® Data Book uses data from the U.S. Census, Department of Education and other federal agencies to measure a series of indicators linked to children's long-term success. Our state ranks 35th in the country for children's overall well-being, a measure that includes rankings for education, economic well-being, health and family/community.

While the report is rather grim, North Carolina did make moderate gains in nine of the report's 16 indicators, including higher reading and math proficiency rates, lower teen drug abuse rates and significantly lower rates of uninsured children. However, the report paints a big picture of a state where many children and families have been left behind in the economic recovery of the past several years.

But this is not a reason to throw up our hands and cry defeat, because we know that high-quality early childhood programs have a profound impact on children and their communities. Investing in early childhood programs that promote good health, strong families and high quality early learning environments is the most effective way to allow all children to realize their potential and grow up to be productive adults who can give back and strengthen our communities. Everybody wins when children have the early experiences that they need in order to thrive. 

The opportunity to make the most powerful changes lies in early childhood, and this report shows that we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Please continue to be a voice for young children in Durham and across the state. Click here to sign up for our advocacy e-alerts, get more involved in our legislative efforts, and find out how you can be a champion for young children in Durham!

Click here to download North Carolina's full 2015 Kids Count profile.

Bring a Book Night with the Durham Bulls

by Administrator 16. July 2015 14:28

Mark your calendars! Wednesday, August 5th is Bring a Book Night with the Durham Bulls. Bring a new or gently used children’s book to donate to Book Harvest and get free admission to the game that night! This special evening is sponsored by Amundi Smith Breeden.

Don’t miss this fun opportunity to promote early literacy while cheering on the hometown favorites!  

Free seminar offers classroom management strategies for child care providers

by Administrator 14. July 2015 16:08


The Exchange Family Center’s Early Childhood Outreach program (EChO) facilitates a free yearly seminar for Durham County childcare providers of children ages 2-5. The seminar is based upon the Teaching Pyramid, an evidence-based model that systematically addresses the components of a classroom and focuses on decreasing challenging behaviors. Teachers leave each session with new strategies to improve the functioning of their classroom while preparing their students for school and beyond. 

The seminar meets 8 times throughout the year– once per month from August to April (skipping December). Additionally, all participants are matched with an EChO Coach who meets with the participant and observes in their classroom twice per month. This strategic coaching is provided to assist participants in the implementation of seminar strategies in their classroom. The seminar is free and all participants receive DCDEE credits with the potential of receiving CEU credits. Teacher/co-teacher/assistant/director pairs are especially encouraged to apply!

To learn more and to receive an application, please contact Aviva Starr: avivas@exchangefamilycenter.org. Placement in the seminar is determined by application, and space is limited. Applications are due on July 24th. For more information, please click here

The Exhange Family Center's EChO program offers consultation services and support to child care providers and families when a young child's behavior presents a challenge in the classroom. EChO is funded by the Partnership through Smart Start.

2014 Durham Early Head Start Annual Report now available

by Administrator 9. July 2015 13:54

Our 2014 Durham Early Head Start Annual Report is now available! This report showcases the achievements of Durham Early Head Start (DEHS) during the past year. DEHS provides high-quality, comprehensive child development services to expectant parents and families with infants and toddlers ages birth to three. This program is successful because of the shared vision and dedication of many partners, staff, parents and community members, and we are pleased to share some highlights with you in this new report.

To view the Annual Report online, click here. Please contact Yalitza Ramos, Program Coordinator, with any questions or for more information.

Seize the Summer with Read Aloud

by Administrator 6. July 2015 15:52

Read Aloud 15 Minutes launched their “Seize the Summer” campaign today, reminding parents that children don’t stop growing during the summer, so they shouldn’t stop learning either! The campaign encourages parents to include books on their list of summer essentials and to use reading as a source of exploration and adventures this summer.

Read Aloud 15 Minutes is a national non-profit organization that is working to make reading aloud every day for at least 15 minutes the new standard in child care. When every child is read aloud to for 15 minutes every day from birth, more children will be ready to learn when they enter kindergarten, more children will have the literacy skills needed to succeed in school, and more children will be prepared for a productive and meaningful life after school.

The summer campaign specifically seeks to combat what’s commonly known as the summer slide. “The National Summer Learning Association estimates that two months of learning may be lost over the summer months, and low-income children are especially vulnerable,” says Read Aloud 15 Minutes Executive Director, Bob Robbins. “We believe that reading aloud every day can not only stop learning loss, but actually build knowledge and skills.”

Visit www.readaloud.org for a variety of resources and tips for reading aloud. If you’re interested in reading to children in Durham as part of our Readers as Leaders program, please contact Davida Major, Operations & Volunteer Coordinator at the Partnership.

Keep children safe at the pool this summer

by Administrator 1. July 2015 14:47

With the summer heat and this weekend’s upcoming 4th of July festivities, many people will be flocking to neighborhood and community pools for some family time. Pools are a great source of family fun, but they can also be dangerous if not everyone is aware and mindful of important pool safety standards. 

Statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) show that fatal and non-fatal child drownings in pools and spas continue to pose a public health and safety challenge across the country. CPSC estimates that each year nearly 300 children younger than five drown in swimming pools and spas and more than 3,200 children that age go to hospital emergency rooms due to submersion injuries in pools and spas.

These incidents are largely preventable by following some basic pool safety tips to keep children safer in and around the water:

  • PoolNever leave a child unattended in a pool or spa and always watch your children closely around all bodies of water. 
  • Designate a Water Watcher to supervise children in the pool or spa. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smart phone or be otherwise distracted. 
  • Learn how to swim, and teach your child how to swim. 
  • Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults. 
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments. 
  • Ensure any pool and spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety standards, and if you do not know, ask your pool service provider about safe drain covers. 

For more information, please visit the Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives website.

Have a fun and safe 4th of July!


health | resources

The Healthy Child: Assembly Required

by Administrator 26. June 2015 14:23

A few months ago, in front of a sold-out TEDxUNC conference crowd, Dr. Kathleen Gallagher of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) told the amazing story of the children who were part of one of the most famous studies in early childhood—FPG's Abecedarian Project. The video of this talk, “The Healthy Child: Assembly Required,” has quickly become the most watched TED Talk from UNC this year! 

In her TED Talk, Dr. Gallagher explained the transformative power of high-quality early care and education. She extended the theme of this year's TEDxUNC conference, "Assembly Required," to what she called "the single most important feat of construction that our society undertakes...the assembly required to build physically, emotionally, cognitively, and socially healthy children."

It is always exciting to see so much widespread interest in early childhood. With data-driven work as our foundation and community partners and thought-leaders like FPG as our neighbors, we can continue to serve children and families in Durham and raise awareness for the critical work being done in early childhood today.

The text and many of the illustrations from the TED Talk are available here.

Dr. Gallagher’s research and applied work focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based approaches that support the learning and well-being of young children, families, and early childhood professionals in the contexts of poverty and disability.


news | reports | resources

Celebrating our partners at the Partner Appreciation Breakfast

by Administrator 23. June 2015 13:09

This past Friday, we had the opportunity to honor our community partners and celebrate success at our annual Partner Appreciation Breakfast. Nearly 70 people attended the event and enjoyed good food and sweeping views of Durham at the beautiful University Club. Representatives from our Smart Start partners, Durham Early Head Start, NC Pre-K, the Durham Touchpoints Collaborative, Transition to Kindergarten Initiative, and the Partnership’s Board of Directors gathered together to celebrate their work with young children and families. It was wonderful to be with so many friends as we continued our 20th Anniversary celebrations and recognized the inspiring success of these programs. 


The program began with a greeting from Cindy Watkins, President of the North Carolina Partnership for Children, who acknowledged the innovative work being done in Durham. Following this greeting, the crowd heard from guest speaker Dr. Wynetta Lee, Dean of the School of Education at NC Central University. Dr. Lee spoke to the importance of early childhood education and the value of nurturing and caring for Durham’s youngest citizens. 


As one way of celebrating success, we invited our partners to share a story with us. These motivating and moving presentations included everything from a testimonial from a child care center director on how her teachers are working hard to support the families of their students, to a school staff member’s perspective on how the Transition to Kindergarten Initiative is improving the experience of kindergartners, teachers, and schools across Durham.  

Executive Director Laura Benson then had an opportunity recognize each of our partners individually and thank them on behalf of the Partnership and the Board of Directors. Laura also recognized Jameka Wells, NC Pre-K Program Specialist, for reaching her 10th work anniversary at the Partnership! Jameka is the longest tenured employee and is greatly appreciated and loved by many people who were in the room that morning. Closing out the event was the highly anticipated drawing for some wonderful raffle prizes, all of which were donated by generous sponsors.


Thank you for helping us celebrate 20 years of preparing Durham’s children to succeed. We are so grateful for each and every one of our Partners who work so hard for our young children and families in Durham!

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