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Why I serve, why I give

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As both a state agency and a nonprofit, South Carolina First Steps relies on the service and financial support of passionate people like Dr. Shelley Canright. A former educator and STEM leader within NASA’s Office of Education, she now serves as vice chair of the South Carolina First Steps Board of Trustees. In this blog post, Dr. Canright reflects on what it means to serve.

South Carolina Families are Saying “Yippee for HIPPY!”

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Families are saying, “Yippee for HIPPY!” HIPPY stands for Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters, an evidence-based parenting program offered by nine First Steps Local Partnerships. Enrollment for the 2021-22 school year is now open for parents and caregivers of four-year-olds.

First Steps AmeriCorps is Recruiting

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First Steps AmeriCorps is recruiting for 38 AmeriCorps members to serve in two different roles, Family and Community Engagement and HIPPY Parent Educator. AmeriCorps members gain valuable experience while serving their community. With service roles ranging from part- to full-time, we provide flexible scheduling to encourage a manageable service experience.

Client Spotlight: The McPhail Family

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When Cassidy was just 8 months old, her mother, Jalisa, enrolled her in Lee County First Steps’ home visiting program, Early Steps to School Success. Every other week, the family received a visit from an early childhood expert, Felecia Evans, who provided tips and coaching to help mom and dad maximize their daughter’s early experiences.

The bigs and the littles

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I walk into a summer 4K classroom not knowing what to expect. Our idea of mixing rising 4 year-olds and rising 5 year-olds for 4K summer school had happened. Our hope was that the rising kindergartners would be the wise and patient seniors taking the newly entering freshmen under their wings.

Relationships, support, and accountability

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As the new chief partnership officer, it was important for me to get out as quickly as possible to meet local partnership executive directors. Building relationships, providing support, and accountability are the pillars of how the local partnership team will function. In my short time here, I have been able to visit 13 county partnerships, meeting with the executive directors, board members and staff.

National Institute for Early Education Research Highlights South Carolina’s Whole Family Approach to Early Education

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South Carolina’s First Steps is a unique public-private hybrid focused on supporting children’s readiness for school. We spoke with Georgia Mjartan, executive director of First Steps in early May 2021 about their plans to use the federal American Rescue Plan Act funds for early care and education.

South Carolina's two-generation, whole family approach

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We understand that helping children thrive means ensuring that parents and caregivers have the resources and opportunities they need for their own economic security and well-being, as well as their children’s. It means supporting the whole family.

A stronger start: Countdown to Kindergarten

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All children deserve a strong start in school. That’s why South Carolina First Steps offers school transition programs like Countdown to Kindergarten. A supported transition can make a big difference for families and kids, especially those at risk for early school failure.