Guilford Child Development Hosts 5th Annual Early Childhood Champions Luncheon
Guilford Child Development celebrated Executive Director Robin Britt’s 20th Anniversary and Head Start Awareness Month at the 5th annual Early Childhood Champions Luncheon at the Koury Convention Center on Wednesday, October 10, 2018. This year, Guilford Child Development honored four local and national figures that have dedicated their careers to improving early childhood education: local philanthropist and child advocate David Hayworth; local foundation leader Dr. Laura Gerald, president of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust; Dr. Kenneth Dodge, Pritzker Professor of Public Policy at Duke University; and national advocate David Lawrence, Jr., director of the Early Childhood Initiative Foundation.
“This is an exciting time for early childhood learning and development in Guilford County,” said Guilford Child Development Executive Director Robin Britt during his remarks at the Early Childhood Champions Luncheon. “Ready for School, Ready for Life has received substantial funding for its ten year Get Ready Guilford process to establish an early childhood system in Guilford County. The Partnership for Children of Guilford County continues its decades-long efforts to enhance children’s learning and development such as the Dolly Parton program to give each child who signs up a book a month until kindergarten. Our High Point and Greensboro United Ways continue to work on behalf of young children and to fight poverty. Our colleges and universities are engaged with the health and well-being of young children and their families. Guilford County ‘gets it’ when it comes to early childhood issues and Guilford County is doing something about it.”
The four honorees have made significant impacts in their communities and fields.
Hayworth, a beloved local philanthropist, has focused his philanthropic efforts on helping children gain a sound foundation of good health, strong nurturing and learning to insure greater future success for them and ultimately create a stronger and healthier community. He had many supporters in the audience, including some that traveled from out of town to see him receive the award.
“Over the years, David Hayworth has established a remarkable legacy through his vision and generosity. One of his greatest strengths is his deep sense of compassion and his willingness to champion good causes,” said Paul Lessard, president of the High Point Community Foundation as he introduced Hayworth for his award.
“I am honored to receive this wonderful award... It’s been the highlight of my life. It’s been my pleasure to work with young people as long as I can remember, and I think that’s my main reward,” said Hayworth, who received a standing ovation after his remarks.
Dr. Gerald has dedicated her career to improving health across the state, especially for vulnerable communities. Dr. Laura Gerald received her award from Former Governor Beverly Perdue, and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust sponsored a table at the event and brought staff members to support Dr. Gerald.
Dr. Dodge made significant contributions to early childhood development in North Carolina including creating the Family Connects program, which provides nurse home visits to all infants born in a community to improve outcomes for infants and mothers regardless of background.
And, Lawrence has been a pioneer for early childhood education, including penning the recently published memoir, “A Dedicated Life: Journalism, Justice and a Chance for Every Child,” to raise awareness about the importance of funding early childhood programs among other things.
Jessica Holmes, attorney, former Head Start student and youngest African-American Chairwoman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners provided a powerful keynote address discussing the importance of Head Start and providing all children with equal education opportunities. Former Governor Beverly Perdue helped Guilford Child Development celebrate its accomplishments and raise awareness for early childhood education by introducing two honorees at the event.
The stage was adorned with three jungle animals built and decorated by one of Guilford Child Development's four-year-old classes. The students first build the giraffe, elephant and alligator animal structures with disposable cups and then created and painted the paper mache exteriors. This is just a small illustration of the great work being done in GCD's classrooms!
Silver Sponsors included: Cone Health Time and Carolynn Rice Center for Child and Adolescent Health; Cone Health Children’s Services; Cone Health Foundation; Elite Benefits Group; Hanes Lineberry Funeral Services; High Point Community Foundation; Open Arms Treatment Center; PNC Grow Up Great; Ready for School, Ready for Life; Reinhart Foodservice; Triad Adult & Pediatric Medicine; and UNC Greensboro. Bronze Sponsors were: A&T State University; Margaret Arbuckle; Better Business Bureau of NC; Discount School Supply; Mae Douglas; Duke Energy; Elon University; Gallehugh Group; Greensboro Police Department; Intalere; Kaplan Early Learning Company; Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust; Lakeshore Learning; Marsh & McLennan Agency; Donald Overman and Rhonda Youngdahl; Partnership for Children of Guilford County; Replacements, Ltd.; and United Way of Greater Greensboro. Dot Kendall Kearns was a Friend Sponsor.
Past honorees include: Dr. Margaret Arbuckle, Sarah Walden Herbin, Dot Kearns, and Governor Hunt in 2014. In 2015 GCD recognized Senator Kay Hagan, Dr. David Olds, and Khari Garvin for their contributions to the field. And in 2016 GCD honored Governor Bev Perdue, Yasmina Vinci, and Karen Ponder as well as June Swanston-Valdes and Deb Cassidy posthumously. GCD celebrated its 50th anniversary at the 2017 event while honoring Dr. Nancy H. Brown Dr. Valerie Jarvis McMillan, PNC Bank, Sesame Street, and Brad Wilson.