Board members and local officials gathered August 8 to cut the ceremonial ribbon on a new education center in Yadkin County.
Smart Start opened its new location to the public last Thursday after relocating from downtown Yadkinville. The center now stands at the crossroads of Shacktown Road and Unifi Industrial Drive at 1512 Shacktown Road.
Yadkinvile Mayor Hubert Gregory and the Smart Start board cut the ribbon in front of the building then welcomed the audience inside for refreshments.
The new building was formerly the Mountain Valley Hospice and Pallative Care facility, and a modular home model before that.
Executive Director Carolyn Choplin told the Ripple the new building was a needed change as the organization continues to grow.
“We used to be downtown and we had other agencies in the building with us and they leased from us,” Choplin said. “We were concerned that some of them weren’t going to be able to stay in the building with us. So it was an expense we didn’t think we could pay. We’ve had some serious budget cuts in the last few years.
“We contacted the Chamber [of Commerce] office and Bobby [Todd] kind of steered us in this direction. It’s like everything fell into place,” Choplin said. “We were meant to be here, everything just kind of fits.”
“Smart Start is a private non-profit,” Choplin said. “We’re funded with state money to serve families with children under the age of 5.”
The organization’s goal is to help children be better prepared when they start school, and better prepared for life.
“We look at the whole child: everything from helping daycares improve their quality, to helping parents afford daycare and preschool, to working with the health of children that age. We have a home visitation program…we have a resource room and our lending library for daycare providers to come and check things out and make copies, use the laminator…different things like that.”
The building will serve as the organization’s office but is also open to walk-ins from the public.
“Any parents with young children are welcome to come to our building and they can check out books, toys, games - we’ve got all kinds of theme packets that they can check out,” Choplin said. “They can play with their kids and they can come and find out about any services they may be interested in. If there’s a need with their child we can steer them in the right direction, even if it’s something we don’t really handle ourselves.”
Choplin said there are 76 Smart Start’s throughout the state. Each county is represented by a Smart Start.
Yadkin’s Smart Start is composed of a 21-member volunteer board, many of whom were able to attend the ribbon cutting.
The organization is allowed the freedom to spend their government dollars as they see fit, allowing them to help Yadkin in the best ways possible. The board helps the resources get to where they need to go, according to Choplin.
A new initiative for Smart Start is the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Parents can enroll their child in the program and receive a free children’s book every month until they turn five.
It costs $25 a year to sponsor a child.
A port-a-pit barbecue sale earlier in the year raised money to sponsor children as well.
“We just try to make sure that our county has what families with young children need,” Choplin said.
Anyone interested in sponsoring a child through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library should contact Carolyn Choplin at 336-679-7833 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact Taylor Pardue call 336-835-1513 ext. 15, or email him at email@example.com.