SSTC awarded $40,000 in grants

Smart Start of Transylvania Receives $40,000 In Grants

In the last year, Walmart, the Southern Vision Alliance, The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC), Dogwood Health Trust (DHT), and the WNC Bridge Foundation NOW Grant all generously granted funds to help Smart Start of Transylvania County (SSTC) address the immediate and sustained needs amounting to $40,155. These grants have helped SSTC surmount the essential necessities of the child care community during this last year.

“Part of the mission of SSTC is accepting responsibility for the improvement of high-quality early care and education and the well-being for the young children of Transylvania County,” said Deb Tibbetts, executive director of SSTC. “This mission has held more weight in the last year as we collectively continue to face various obstacles resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The ensuing affects from the pandemic on early childhood education and development, in addition to individual family and educator wellness, are focus areas that SSTC has committed to being agile in response to.”

Early learning and child care centers—and the educators and caregivers that give life to such spaces—sought out immediate relief to alleviate the barrage of basic needs further strained by the pandemic. Increased wage supplements, PPE and detailed cleaning supplies have all been high needs of the Transylvania County child care community. Increased operational costs during the COVID-19 pandemic are not limited to only initial essentials like face masks and disinfectant. An increased quantity of background checks and basic trainings that come with an increased turnover as a result of teachers not returning to classrooms have been additional requirements.

“Consistent feedback from our educators and families also detail that many children are in a state of heightened anxiety and/or trauma due to the pandemic and its persistence. Specialty supplies like weighted blankets, soothing toys, ‘calm kits’ and children’s books about the current state of our nation and global community are all necessary aids to address this complicated state within our children,” said Tibbetts. “Of note, too, is that unlicensed child care centers that play a vital role in the system of community care were not eligible to receive any state support in the earlier part of 2020, leaving them at a great deficit and in elevated need from community support systems.

“The gratitude that SSTC retains for these regional philanthropic bodies is without measure and the generosity does not go without appreciation and value. SSTC continues to strive to be demonstrative of an organizational core value of excellence. While continuously adapting, improving, and creating new possibilities, we adhere to standards of high-quality in all that we do. This value enables SSTC to achieve high-quality results for the community with the considerate inspiration and support of these funders.”