Charleston County First Steps Annual Report 2020-2021

Page 1

To improve the overall well-being of young children. We accomplish this by offering rigorous early childhood programming, providing opportunities for family engagement and support, and fostering community partnerships.

• • • • • .

Increase the reach of First Steps services

Increase the number of children enrolled in high intensity programs funded by First Steps.

Parents are their children’s first teachers. Children deserve high quality early care and education. Teachers require high quality education and professional development for continuous growth. Families need and deserve equitable access to quality health care and other community resources. We champion and celebrate diversity. •

Parents As Teachers

Parents As Teachers – Early Head Start

Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships

Raising A Reader

Family Literacy


Child Care Quality Enhancement

Child Care Training and Professional Development

Child Care Scholarships

Supporting Care Providers Through Visits


Street, City SC 00000 | 000-000-0000 | website OR 4975 Lacross Road, Suite 100, North Charleston, SC 29406 | 843-745-0237|



Sherry Whitten Gilliam, M.Ed. Executive Director Charleston County First Steps

While Charleston County’s population growth rate decreased by .02% in the past year, recent data anticipates continued growth in the county. Property values have drastically increased. Unfortunately, the value placed on our children and families is not increasing as rapidly. Charleston County First Steps works to change that by empowering our families to become stronger, healthier, and self-reliant through the comprehensive support services we provide. We believe we must remain vigilant and must ensure that our organization lives up to its mission and values – and that we are making a genuine, constructive, difference in the communities we serve. We accomplish this by supporting our staff so that they are empowered and motivated to meet the needs of our children and families. We also combine efforts with neighboring counties through shared services so that we make greater, lasting, and positive impacts in our communities.


Sherry W. Gilliam



Richardine Singleton-Brown, Esq.

Chair Charleston County First Steps Board of Trustees

Greetings: While the last nearly two years have appeared challenging due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, Charleston County First Steps’ staff continue to rise to the occasion by paving the way and setting the standard for dedication, commitment, and accountability. While the doors were closed, lights off, classrooms quiet and play areas empty, with adjustments, under the exemplary leadership of our Executive Director, Sherry W. Gilliam, our staff continued to safely provide support to our families in need. The members of the Charleston County First Steps Partnership’s Board of Directors are beaming with pride that while at times challenging, our staff were able to find innovative ways to identify the unmet needs in the Charleston community during the most difficult times of the pandemic. Tirelessly, our staff, to adequately address the needs of our families and center partners, continued to be available to collect and analyze information necessary to address specific needs from organizing and conducting “porch-drops” with much needed supplies to providing referrals to our community resources, that saw the importance of collaborating to meet shortfalls of many of our families such as food, financial assistance, clothing, and hygiene products. Moreover, as our staff, locally and statewide, continue the very important work of First Steps, Vice Chair Lorraine Powell and I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Charleston County First Steps Board of Directors, to express our deepest gratitude for your unwavering commitment and for your tireless efforts, while still responding to the needs of your own families during these unprecedented times. It is the Board’s focus to continue to provide the much-needed support for our staff as they nurture our Charleston County First Steps’ families and community partners. Together, as we continue to serve and promote school readiness, we also continue, TOGETHER, to not just meet our objectives, but to exceed all expectations for our programs. It is a true mantra that “We are Stronger Together.” My best to each of you,


All children in Charleston County will be healthy and successful in school.





PASOs implements the Early Identification and Referral program at Charleston County First Steps. The PASOs Community Health Worker (CHW), Ana Pavon, assists families with developmental screenings during in-home visits and then refers them to needed community resources. The CHW provides follow-up support and education in subject areas related to the child’s development, including physical and mental health, literacy, and education.


PAT GOES VIRTUAL Due to COVID-19, Parents as Teachers (PAT) National provided guidance for affiliates to deliver virtual services via interactive video conferencing and phone calls. South Carolina PAT affiliates rose to the occasion by engaging families in virtual home visits with developmentally appropriate


621 598

home visits

hours of service

activities and group connections. .


PARENT AS TEACHERS-EARLY HEAD START The Parents As Teachers-Early Head Start home-based program connects expectant parents and parents of young children (up to age three) with a trained Early Childhood Specialist through a partnership with Charleston County School District. This model uses the Parents As Teachers curriculum and abides by all Head Start Performance Standards.


277 Virtual Group Connection- Muffins for Moms


home visits

hours of service

This program has helped me and my kids a lot!!! The kids enjoyed meeting with our advocate Ms. DeLisa every week and so did I!! During our meetings we discussed goals and she truly encouraged me to go back to school and finish my degree and even start a homeownership program. This program actually gives you the drive, motivation, and resources to help you and the kids!!! It was a pleasure to be a part of a wonderful program!! Ms. Mack, Parent


Through a unique partnership with Begin with Books, the local affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, we have established the first of its kind in the state, opt-out program that provides free, highquality books to children from birth until age five who are enrolled in our Parents As Teachers (PAT) or Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) Programs. Children enrolled in the PAT and EHS-CCP Programs receive one book per month by mail from Begin with Books. Each title is selected by a panel of early childhood literacy experts, who are responsible for choosing books that meet the age-specific developmental needs of young children.


children served

Books are 100% free to children in Charleston County First Steps programs, because Charleston County First Steps has harnessed the power of partnership with local affiliate Begin with Books to cover the cost of books and shipping fees.





Plymouth Child Development Center and C.A.R.E. Academy participated in the “Building for Our Future” pilot program sponsored by the SC Department of Social Services, ABC Quality. The objective of the project was to help programs work toward goals related to their structural quality review. Both programs achieved their goals and not only created safe and developmentally appropriate educational environments, but also received financial awards. Mrs. Laquinta Washington, Director Plymouth Child Development Center

Ms. Cushan Brown, Director C.A.R.E. Academy 12

Classroom Organization Child Assessment Nutrition Ethics for Educators Determining the Meaning and Guiding Challenging Behaviors Culturally Responsive Anti-Bias Education





EARLY HEAD START – CHILD CARE PARTNERSHIP Early Head Start is a research- b ased p rog ram that p rovides intensive comp rehensive child develop ment and family sup p ort services to low- income infants and toddlers and their fam ilies. As p art of the federal Early L earning I nitiative, the Early Head Start- Child Care Partnership g rant allows us to p artner with local childcare centers to p rovide fullday, year- round, hig h- quality childcare to families to p romote self- sufficiency so that children can enter school healthy and ready to learn



childcare providers served


number of centerbased classes operated


number of children enrolled in provider classrooms

Staff distributed school supplies during the Royal Foundation Backto-school Drive-thru event.


RAISING A READER Raising A Reader p romotes early learning family exp eriences, which help p rep are children for success in school. T hroug h b ook-lending and p arent worksho p s , Raising A Reader encourag es families to develop , p ractice , and maintain hab its of sharing b ooks – a hab it that research demonstrates is essential to develop ing reading skills. Families who enjoy b ooks tog ether help children b ecome b etter listeners, learn new words, and b uild an understanding of the world.


107 children served


parents/caregivers trained


B.E.A.R. (Begin Early and Read) WITH US B.E.A.R. with Us custom-made to create a b ridg e b etween early childhood educators and families around early literacy. T his b ook-of -the -m on th style p rog ram sup p lies free children's b ooks for each child in our Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership and Parents As T eachers Prog rams and a classroom cop y of the monthly b ook. Parents and teachers receive training in dialog ic reading strateg ies, why reading from b irth is im p ortant, and how to make b ook-sh arin g fun and meaning ful for adults and children. T he p rog ram also offers early childhood educators resources to integ rate early literacy p ractices into their lesson p lans.



children served


family & teacher training sessions provided

The program that my childcare provider uses has gotten my daughter very excited about books and reading. I have found joy in sitting down with my daughter and reading the books that the program has provided for us. She loves pointing to the pictures and learning new words. Since the program there is not a moment that I don’t see my daughter walking around with books. She becomes excited when they receive another book. The program has allowed my daughter to develop a love for storytelling. I appreciate everything the program has done to boost my child's love for reading K. Commodore, Parent 16

Supporting Care Providers through Visits T he Sup p orting Care Providers throug h Visits p rog ram (SCPV) sup p orts Family Child Care Home p roviders with research- and evidence-infor med informati on to encourag e develop mentall y ap p rop ri ate p ractices. T h e p roviders p ass this knowledg e on to the p arents of the children in their care throug h sp ecifically desig ned activities.


6 children served


providers served

"The program has been a great addition to our program. Since starting the program it has been a great benefit and asset. The children are really enjoying the books and activities for each month. When storytime occurs, they become really anxious and eager to learn. Also, the learning toys encourage skill building in a fun way that makes learning enjoyable. It promotes learning in a fun and healthy way. Without this program I would have not otherwise been able to afford teaching them in this way. Thank you for the support that you have given to my childcare program and myself." Mrs. Quintella Roper, Director of God's Little Blessings 17

PUBLIC AWARENESS This year, the First Steps Executive Directors from Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties continued to combine resources and talents to positively impact the children and families in the tri-county area. Through Charleston County First Steps programs and the Tri-County Play Collaborative (TCPC), old collaborations continued while forming new partnerships. We marketed our programs and recruited children, families, and staff during partner- sponsored events at no cost to us. These partners also were able to provide valuable information to our families by participating in First Steps-sponsored events. A winwin situation for everyone involved. Partners included: Charleston County Public Library Charleston County School District

Riverpointe Christian Academy SC Aquarium SC Department of Health and Environmental Control

Charleston Promise Neighborhood

SC Department of Social Services

Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry

SC Program for Infant/Toddler Care (SCPITC)

Fetter Health Care Network

SC State Head Start Assn. Fatherhood Coalition

GOODSTOCK Consulting, LLC Healthy Blue of SC Medical University of South Carolina

SC Thrive Tri-County Therapy Trident Technical College

Tri-County Play Collaborative “Summer in the Sunshine” event at Riverpointe Christian Academy – North Campus


Addressing the needs of young children is a shared endeavor. I n addition to p roviding services to families and sup p ort for childcare p roviders, Charleston County First Step s mob ilizes p artners and community memb ers to ensure all children in Charleston County b eg in school ready to succeed. W e serve as a:


group meetings, trainings, activities, and events


community partnerships and collaborations

976 materials distributed


T hroug h p artnership s and collab or a ti ons , as well as financial sup p ort from g rants and contrib uti ons , Charleston County First Step s leverag es state dollars to enhance and exp and services to children and families.

FUNDING SUPPORT Office of Head Start $1,633,076 Charleston County School District Early Head Start PAT $119,773 The Walker Foundation $20,000 Cradle to Career $10,000 CTI Greenville Technical College $2,000 Charleston County First Steps Board of Directors $775 Susan Herrington $200

IN-KIND SUPPORT Bundles of Joy Diaper Bank

Kaplan Early Learning Company

Charleston County Public Library

Boys With A Purpose

Children’s Village Consulting

Lowcountry Food Bank

Father 2 Father

Panera Bread

Grow Food Carolina

Resource Partners, LLC

Habitat for Humanity

Root Cause

Home Team BBQ

Krown Xpressions


JOIN US For more information on partnership opportunities, visit our website at 20

Expenditures of State Funds by Program Type

Since inception, Charleston County First Steps has leveraged $18,566,031 from sources outside of state government.



That’s $1.07 for every state dollar.

State Funding

Federal Funding

Private Funding

In-Kind Contributions


Parents as Teachers






Child Care Quality Enhancement






Child Care Training











Trident Literacy






Early Head Start Childcare Partnership






Raising – A - Reader











Administrative Support






Total Expenses






Early Head Start PAT



BOARD OF DIRECTORS Hon. Richardine Singleton-Brown, Chair

Ruth Taylor

Lorraine Powers, Vice-chair

Latosha Jenkins-Fludd

Dr. Gail Joyner-Fleming, Treasurer

Audrey Whetsell

Kristin Zeaser-Sydow, Secretary

Vernisa Bodison

Jackie Peters

Nichole Myles

James Turner

Rhonda Coleman

Susan Dew

STAFF Sherry Gilliam, Executive Director

Marilyn Pyatt, Education Manager

Leah Crosby, Program Office Manager,/Literacy Programs Coordinator

Melody Delisa, Parent Educator Jacqualine Sibley-Jones, Parent Educator

Monique Branagan, Fiscal Analyst Sarah Burgess, Human Resources Specialist Tarsha Wheaton, EHS-CCP Program Director Crystal Davis, PAT Program Director Latisha Wright, Curriculum Coach/Mental Health/Disabilities Coordinator Shermic McCants, ERSEA Specialist Hafeezah Yates, Family Services Manager

Kanya Hammond, Parent Educator Janette Glen, Bilingual Parent Educator Lisa Van Dort, Parent Educator Barbara Philips, Health Specialist,/ChildPlus Linda West, Family Services Specialist Marjorie Harris, Family Services Specialist Ana Pavon, Community Health Worker

CONTACT US 4 9 7 5 La cros s Roa d, Suite 1 0 0 , N orth Cha rles ton , SC 2 9 4 0 6 | 8 4 3 -7 4 5 -0 2 3 7 | cha rleston f ir stst eps.o r g


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.