Our History

 20 Years of Success - A Community Celebration

Enjoy a video of our celebration of 20 years of Smart Start improving the early care, health and early education systems for young children. Throughout the years, so many people across Brunswick County, from Leland to Southport to Calabash, have contributed in numerous ways to make Brunswick County a place that looks to the future and meets the growing needs of families and children. And, thousands of children have benefited from these efforts. Thank you to everyone who has been a champion for our youngest children.



  • Smart Start begins in North Carolina. The local partnership becomes one of the first in state to pioneer the new early childhood program; awards over $1 million in community grants are received. Brunswick County Partnership for Children is incorporated and becomes a non-profit organization. A needs and resource assessment is conducted to determine what services to children families are needed in Brunswick County.


  • The partnership holds the first State of the Child Conference.
  • Smart Start funding is awarded to the Partnership. In addition, grants are received from Cannon, BellSouth, Janirve Foundation for WINGS program and Teen Family Development Center.
  • Programs expand to include preschool music program and coordination of Family Resource Center in Leland with Communities in Schools
  • Partnership funds expand programs to include Child Care Resource and Referral; Quality and Capacity grants to child care facilities and Program/Evaluation.
  • The five year strategic planning process begins The Teen Family Development Subsidy Program is funded; Health Check Coordination and Parents as Teachers activities are implemented; activity to address dental needs is implemented.


  • Partnership begins administration of Governor's More at Four Pre-K program in Brunswick County. Due to funding cuts at the state level some activities must be eliminated, including funding for dental care.
  • In order to increase effectiveness and participation, the board structure is revised to have at least 15 board members reflecting Business/Community, Government and Services sectors.
  • Smart Start funded programs include: Child Care Resource & Referral, Quality Enhancement for child care providers, Leland Family Resource Center Child Care, Professional Development Coordination, Health Check Coordination, Parents as Teacher, Child Care Subsidy, WAGE$ child care provider salary supplements, Program and Evaluation management, and More at Four Pre-K program match funding to child care centers.
  • Collaborating with the Literacy Council and Communities in Schools the LiteracyWORKS project begins with $10,000 grant from Canon Foundation.
  • Brunswick County grants $10,000 for community service activities.


  • Smart Start programs continue with an Outreach & Awareness coordination activity added and a health program, Assuring Better Child Health and Development (ABCD). The Partnership is also awarded grants from Brunswick County for community service activities, from Southport Kiwanis for child care training and literacy activities, and ATMC and Family Fare for healthy baby packets for new parents
  • Desiring to have a more easily recognized name that also recognizes the major funding source, Brunswick County Partnership for Children changes name to Smart Start of Brunswick County, Inc. A great way to start off the new year! All in-house programs move to one location in Shallotte.


  • With some budgets reduced, all programs are continued and Parents as Teachers becomes an in-house program. Additional grants received from Brunswick County, Southeastern Community College (CCR&R Region 4), Preventing Obesity by Design (POD), St. James Service Club. More at Four expands to 436 slots.
  • Smart Start starts Facebook page. Health Check program changes to ACCESS III and Leland Family Literacy Child Care closes their program. More at Four serves 423 children.
  • Grant received from Southeastern Community College to help support Region 4 Child Care Resource & Referral activity.


  • ABCD activity is completed. New activities include: Raising a Reader, Just Watch It Grow!, and Community Inclusion Specialist. Raising a Reader program is implemented to promote early literacy development. Awareness of healthy eating and increased outdoor physical activity is a part of the "Just Watch It Grow" project in which gardens are being introduced to child care centers. A Community Inclusion Specialist works with teachers in child care settings to ensure that children with special needs have the support they need to learn. Administration of the More at Four program, now called NCPreK continues.  Grant funding has been received from ATMC, St. James Service Club, Kiwanis Club of Southport-Oak Island, Brunswick Rotary, Brunswick Community Foundation, Corning Foundation, Brunswick County Health Department and South Brunswick Islands Rotary.
  • First 2000 Days campaign is presented throughout the community to bring public awareness to the importance of quality early care and education that impacts all future learning.
  • Through funds provided by North Carolina Partnership for Children, we partner with Dollywood Foundation to bring Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to Brunswick County.

Watch "Our Hometown" to find out about the First 2000 Days at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4VxpRvZhBc&feature=youtu.be.


5140 Sellers Street | Shallotte, NC 28470
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