November is Family Engagement Month

November 2022

At Smart Start of Mecklenburg County, the month of November is special to us for many reasons. The days grow colder and crisper, the holidays grow nearer, and there are many special observance days to celebrate. In fact, the entire month is National Family Engagement Month!

Parents and caregivers are our children's first teachers, and Governor Cooper's proclamation is an excellent reminder of this during Family Engagement Month. According to NCDHHS, Family Engagement builds genuine relationships with families to help children grow and thrive. Family engagement means doing with -not for - families.

Please continue reading to learn more about recent initiatives supporting Family Engagement within our three foundational pillars: invest, collaborate & convene, and innovate.

The Basics & Atrium | Collaborate & Convene

The Basics Mecklenburg and Atrium Health have a great history of partnering together to bring early education materials and resources t children and families. Our most recent initiative is The Basics Brain Building Baby Bags

The objective is to support first-time mothers with newborns in the labor and delivery unit at Atrium Hospital by providing the Brain Building bags. The bags will include gifts associated with each of The Basics and other additional Smart Start of Mecklenburg resources.
Each Brain Building Baby Bag includes:

  • Red heart stress ball | Maximize Love, Manage Stress
  • Maracas | Talk, Sing, and Point
  • Four soft baby blocks | Count, Group, and Compare
  • Four finger puppets | Explore Through Movement and Play
  • Baby book | Read and Discuss Stories

Science shows that 80% of brain growth happens by age three! Beginning from birth, young brains develop like little muscles. They get bigger and stronger the more you and your family interact with your child. The Basics are for everyone: parents, grandparents, and other family and friends who care for children ages 0-3.

Literacy Workshops at Inlivian | Innovate

We understand the importance of meeting parents where they are, and sometimes that literally means where they live. Smart Start of Mecklenburg County is proud to have launched its inaugural family literacy workshop series with Inlivian.

Our Literacy Coordinator organized fun and easy activities to engage parents and caregivers in supporting their child's early literacy development. They also had the opportunity to learn nutrition facts, take home recipe cards, and complimentary fruits and vegetables.
But most importantly, it was an evening dedicated to fostering family engagement.



Home Visiting | Invest

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) funds to Mecklenburg County to support the County's COVID-19 Strategic Recovery Plan. The plan focuses on key priority areas designed to improve the quality of life for Mecklenburg County residents impacted by the pandemic. 

Because families with children ages prenatal to five are amongst those impacted by the pandemic, Mecklenburg County Commissioners have awarded $342,500 to Smart Start of Mecklenburg County. Funds will support the implementation of our home visiting expansion plan, "Home Visiting: Equitable Evaluation, Growth, and Expansion of Services in Mecklenburg County."

As part of our three-phase plan, our new Home Visiting Expansion Coordinator has facilitated a Home Visiting Focus Group. The focus group will ultimately inform our landscape study and define a detailed community and system design that allows for high-quality and accessible home visiting programming.

Home visiting encourages family engagement and provides family support and coaching through planned, regular visits with a trained professional based on a family's needs and schedules.


This content supports our vision that all children turn five ready to thrive. You can support our mission by making a donation here.