Written by Jennifer Gioia, CCSA Communications Manager
Last Friday, April 5, 2019, Child Care Services Association (CCSA) celebrated 45 years of service at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in RTP with a dinner, a silent auction and an award ceremony. While the rain poured, more than 200 people celebrated with CCSA. Many special guests joined, including:
- The Honorable Governor James Hunt and Carolyn Hunt;
- Susan Perry-Manning, principal deputy secretary of NCDHHS;
- Durham County Commissioners: Wendy Jacobs, Heidi Carter, James Hill and Brenda Howerton;
- Representatives Verla Insko from Orange County and MaryAnn Black from Durham County;
- Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street;
- Janet Singerman, president, Child Care Resources Inc.;
- Michele Rivest, policy director, North Carolina Early Education Coalition;
- Cindy Watkins, president, North Carolina Partnership for Children;
- Representatives from Orange County Partnership for Children;
- Beth Messersmith from North Carolina MomsRising;
- Becki Planchard from NCDHHS;
- Gerry Cobb, Director of the Pritzker Children’s Initiative;
- Robin Britt, executive director of Guilford Child Development (GCD) and this year’s winner of the James and Carolyn Hunt Early Childhood Leadership award;
- And the Honorary Committee members who helped us launch this event.
We were thrilled to have Julie Wilson, ABC11 WTVD Eyewitness News’ Breaking News Anchor, host the celebration.
During the reception, many people mingled and placed bids on a variety of exciting items in our silent auction from local politicians to early childhood education teachers and directors to early childhood education industry leaders and experts.
Peggy Ball, chair of CCSA’s Board of Directors, spoke briefly before Reverend Dr. Michael Page, who also sits on CCSA’s board, delivered an inspiring invocation before dinner.
After dinner, Susan Perry-Manning, principal deputy secretary of NCDHHS, spoke on behalf of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. Perry-Manning congratulated Britt as the winner of the James and Carolyn Hunt Early Childhood Leadership Award and thanked many in the room for inspiring her, including former Gov. Hunt for his leadership, dedication and commitment to improving the quality of child care and education in North Carolina and across the country.
Terry David, president of the North Carolina Head Start Association and Chapel Hill Training Outreach Project (CHTOP), Silver sponsor of the night, presented Britt with a certificate on behalf of the North Carolina Head Start Association for his years of dedicated service to improving the lives of so many children.
Sue Russell, CCSA’s first president and current executive director of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center, spoke about Gov. Hunt’s decades of leadership and service, including his four historic terms as governor of North Carolina, his efforts to improve North Carolina public schools’ test scores, the establishment of the Smart Start program during his tenure, and many awards recognizing his focus on early childhood education.
Gov. Hunt emphasized how important the work of early childhood educators is for young children and their families and educators. Throughout his years, he’s seen with compassion and conviction, we can bring change to improve the lives of many and continue to expand our services so every child has access to high quality, affordable child care—that it is a child’s right to a high quality education. “Helping the little children is the best thing we can do for them and for our future,” Gov. Hunt said.
Gov. Hunt presented the James and Carolyn Hunt Early Childhood Leadership Award to Britt. CCSA established the award in 1995 to honor North Carolinians who make a difference in the lives of young children in the state. It was named in honor of Gov. and Mrs. Hunt for their years of dedication and service. He also recognized five of the 13 previous award recipients in attendance: Peggy Ball, Dick Clifford, Carolyn Cobb, Michele Rivest and Karen Ponder.
Gov. Hunt spoke about how he met Britt during his second term as governor while Britt served in the House of Representatives. He lauded Britt for his leadership, integrity, and care for North Carolina’s children.
Finally, CCSA President Marsha Basloe, spoke.
“I have only been at the helm of CCSA for a little more than a year,” she said, “and although in Durham for many years and an SS partner with CCSA, I now truly have learned of its programs, its passion and its people. All three go hand in hand…CCSA conceives, studies, experiments, implements and tests until we arrive at models worthy of system change. Now we know…there is no excuse for not providing high quality experiences for children.”
Basloe closed the evening by looking toward the future.
“We need to focus on improving the experiences being provided to our infants and toddlers,” she said. “We need to strive for our teachers to be adequately compensated for the work that they do—teachers need to receive a fair rate for the quality they provide regardless where they teach—and we need to make sure the support systems we have built for so many years remains in place to support all of these endeavors.”
CCSA wouldn’t be what it is today without the leadership and dedication of our staff, our first president, Sue Russell, our second president, Anna Carter, and our dedicated leadership team of vice presidents and Board of Directors.
We would not have been able to celebrate 45 years without our generous sponsors. Our sincere thanks to:
- Chapel Hill Training Outreach Project,
- Merchants Foodservice,
- Triangle Community Foundation,
- Blackman & Sloop,
- The Cemala Foundation,
- Budget Courier,
- Illuminated Direction,
- Kaplan Early Learning Company,
- Alice Thorp,
- White Rock Child Development,
- Liz Winer and
- an anonymous donor.
Thank you as well to our wonderful table sponsors for their support:
- Richard Burton,
- Daniel Hudgins,
- Capital Bank,
- Gerry Cobb,
- Community School for People Under Six,
- Durham County Government,
- East Durham Children’s Initiative,
- Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute,
- Guilford Child Development,
- North Carolina Early Education Coalition,
- Orange County Partnership for Young Children and
- Wake County Smart Start.
Thank you also to everyone who donated a silent auction item, to everyone who came out on a rainy Friday night to celebrate 45 years of service at CCSA and to everyone who helped, in some way, to improve the lives of North Carolina’s youngest children, their families and early childhood educators.
Here’s to another 45 years of Child Care Services Association!