News & Updates

Stokes: Stay Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives. King Public Library

For our series of Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact, we spoke with Ann Nichols, Branch Manager of the King Public Library.

King Public Library

“Our library has always kept hand sanitizer available at the circulation desk for our staff and patrons. Little did we know how important of a role this safety measure would play in keeping our patrons safe during the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic.”- Ann Nichols

How has COVID19 affected the King Public Library?

When I walked out the library doors on March 27th, I sat in my car, and shook my head in denial. I never had imagined that the library doors would be closed to the public.  It had been a trying day. I was proud of my staff that day, as we all worked together to provide curbside service to our patrons, while continually cleaning the building, and getting the word out about our many online services. I knew that at some point all libraries in our Northwestern Regional Library System would have to close, so I had been busy providing the staff with work from home tasks, online trainings, and other assignments. We had publicized on our Facebook page for patrons to stock up on books and other materials, just in case.

Everything we were hearing on several news outlets seemed to indicate the elderly were the most vulnerable in our population. The library staff know our senior patrons well. We all were worried for them, wanting to make certain they checked out the books, DVDs, or puzzles they needed to pass the time while we waited out the virus.
Gretchen Parker, Assistant Branch Manager, reading to children at King Elementary School

We tried to be positive and upbeat, but inside we were like everyone else, concerned for our families, our patrons, and for each other.  All of our staff can assist patrons with using their tech devices to check out eBooks from OverDrive, our eBook and audio platform on our NWRL.org website, but our patron’s favorite tech guru is Gretchen Parker, the Assistant Branch Manager at the King Public Library. She has an easy manner and a great smile that makes you feel as though it is as simple as sliding a hot knife through butter. Gretchen had been on the phone almost nonstop during the last few weeks, assisting our patrons with checking out eBooks, or learning how to do it from scratch.

Books that were taken out of circulation and provided for the Free Book Event that was on April 22nd, 2020.
We usually save the books for the Friends of the Library’s book sale, but I felt these books needed new homes right away.  We decided the withdrawn books would be placed on carts outside the building.
We would offer the books freely to our patrons.  We shared a post on the library’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and within minutes, people were stopping by to select titles.  Each person looked so excited.
You would have thought it was Christmas!  I remember telling the staff it was the first time I had smiled in days.  Smiles are contagious, we all were smiling, the staff and our patrons outside enjoying this special treat.

Can you talk about the services offered online by King Public Library?

During work from home, the staff engaged our patrons online. Programming Assistant Melody Johnson and Gretchen Parker provided online preschool Storytime programs.  Melody’s reading of Peep, Peep, Moo! By Doreen Cronin received a shoutout of praise from the State Library of North Carolina, and Mouse’s First Spring by Lauren Thompson, became a new favorite with many youngsters.  Programming Assistant Cara Hiatt’s May Flowers Photo Contest with 125 entries .  Poems and poem readings were posted during April’s National Poetry Month celebration, Bingo games, an interview with local author, Paula May, and much more has been shared with our patrons near and far from the video link at our nwrl.org website and on the library’s Facebook page.

King Public Library celebrated National Library Week with a livestream from local author Paula May.

Virtual programs, which we had seen as a future need, were suddenly thrust upon library staff members all over the United States.  The King Public Library staff were as prepared as we possibly could be, with an abundant amount of online training and webinars, shared all over the county.

We were learning everything we could in order to improve services to the public and working to keep our patrons engaged at home.  And with this, a new reality came into place; this will now be the platform on which our 2020 Summer Reading program will on take place.  It was quite a shock to realize that in-person programming would not be feasible.

The safety and welfare of our patrons always takes priority.

So, as a branch and as a Region, we are developing programs that can be posted virtually on our social media sites, and on our Northwestern Regional homepage.

Our thirteen branches in Alleghany, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin Counties are working together to set up an array of programs that can be shared among all library patrons.  Presenters are being contacted while we all work together to change to a virtual/streaming environment. Big crowd pleasers like Mad Science, Science Tellers, and the NC Zoo are among many that are changing the way they provide programs to our libraries.

Programming staff are still working with possible presenters for all age groups to provide an enriching and entertaining summer for everyone.

Moving forward after COVID19 what sort of programs will be available for adults at King Public Library?

The library anticipates a great need from our newly unemployed population. The Job Lab that the library and Forsyth Tech partner on together, located inside the King Public Library, is eager to help people with preparing resumes, filing online applications, providing unemployment filing assistance, and much more.

Free computer access is available at King Public Library.

Lynn Owens and Cinda Amen, our HRD instructors in the lab prepared a training webinar for all staff members of the NWRL

FTCC has increased the lab hours at the King Public Library from twelve hours a week, to sixteen hours per week. 

HRD instructors Lynn Owens and Cinda Amen are ready to help as many individuals as they can when the library is able to open its doors.  In order to do this safely, assistance will be made by appointment only.  This will be possible by calling the King Public Library at (336) 983-3868 or by emailing us at kin@nwrl.org, when the library reopens.

What would you like to share with residents who use the King Public Library?

“The most important thing I can share with our patrons is how much we miss them and wish to meet their needs. We realize the library and its services are especially important to our community. You are never too old or too young to learn, or to enjoy the wonder of a book.  The library provides that opportunity and much more. The library provides a place of learning, connecting, reading for the joy of it, a refuge from difficult times, a place to start over when seeking a different career path, and a place to come together with purpose. The staff and I feel as though we are out of our element without our patrons.  We look forward to serving them again safely and enthusiastically.”

Ann Nichols, Branch Manager King Public Library

You can reach the King Public Library on their Facebook page, via phone 336-983-3868 or by e-mail at kin@nwrl.org


Read our other entries in Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact here.

Stokes: Stay Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives. Stokes County Health Department.

For our series of Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact, we spoke with Tammy Martin, Health Director for Stokes County Health Department.

1009 North Main Street Danbury, North Carolina 27016

What are you and your agency doing to address COVID19 in Stokes?

“The Stokes County Health Department has been working to keep the community updated on all information that we receive related to COVID-19. When we do receive positive COVID-19 test results we do the contact tracing on these individuals. The Health Department is responsible for contacting all close contacts when we receive a positive test result. We have been in close daily contact with all long term care facilities to make sure they have all the supplies they need.”

During this time our nurses have been working hard to answer questions in the community and with our stakeholders.

Nurses Appreciation Week.

 

Stokes County Health Department is a Community Partner with the DIAPER BANK of N.C.

Stokes County infants and/or children can receive 2 packs of diapers and/or 3 packs of pull-ups MONTHLY. Wipes, diaper creams and lotions are also available. During the COVID-19 Pandemic the Health Department is offering curb side pick-up. Interested families can call the Danbury WIC Office at 336-593-2400 to request the supplies to be brought to your car. If you live in the King area please call the Danbury office as well to set up a time for pick-up in King. (The KING office is temporarily closed until June 1, 2020.)

Stokes County Health Department
1009 N. Main Street, Danbury NC 27016
336-593-2400 or 336-593-2402
Hours of Operation:
Monday-Thursday 8-5:30
Fridays 8-5

*Availability of diapers depends on current demand and supply provided by local Diaper Bank of North Carolina*
Stokes County Health Department is a partner with the Diaper Bank of North Carolina. Call 336-593-2400 for more information.

Why is it important that our community take these measures?

“At this time due to COVID-19 it is important to continue to social distance and wear a mask when out in public to protect yourself as well as others. The more we stay at home and limit our travel to just essential needs the better it is. Following the Governor’s orders will help us get back to our new normal as soon as possible.”

Please note that this is a temporary change for bread, milk and yogurt through May 31, 2020 related to COVID19. If you have any questions please call: Danbury WIC Office 336-593-2400

 

What is something positive you have seen in midst of chaos of COVID-19 as we navigate this together?

“Seeing the community stepping up to help people in need; through groups providing free cloth masks, support from both youth and adult civic groups to front line health workers, the public libraries offering free WiFi that can be accessed in the parking lot, the Stokes County School Nutrition Department providing free school meals. Local Government collaborating within community to make sure community stays safe.”

Girl Scout Troop 41655 brought a selection of Girl Scout cookies to support the efforts of Health Department staff.

Tammy Martin, Director Stokes County Health Department


Stokes: Stay Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives. Walnut Cove Public Library

For our series of Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact, we spoke with Walnut Cove Library Branch Manager Christine Boles about their continued efforts to provide services for citizens in the area.

Christine says, “we have many patrons we consider family to us and we are just as concerned about them as we would be our own families”.

How has COVID19 affected Walnut Cove Library?

“When we closed on Friday, March 27, 2020, we closed our doors to the public until further notice. Closing the library that Friday afternoon was a surreal experience and one that left me feeling very confused as to how we would handle this new way of life and work.”

Christine thought, “how would we still meet our community’s needs and what about all the people who call Walnut Cove Public Library their “home away from home?”

Branch Manager, Christine Boles, at London Elementary Reading Night

“Walnut Cove Public Library is like many small-town libraries when it comes to family. We have many patrons we consider family to us and we are just as concerned about them as we would be our own families. Working in a small-town library allows us to really get to know people and what is happening in their lives. So many of our patrons have used the library since they were small children and now we see their children using the library. Many of our senior citizens we see every week and we spend a great deal of time working with them to find new books for them to read.”

“Then, there are those few individuals like myself, Assistant Branch Manager Chelsea Russell, and Programs Assistant Kristin Fulp who grew up using the Walnut Cove Public Library and now work there.”

Assistant Branch Manager Chelsea Russell participating at London Elementary Reading Night

How will the Walnut Cove Library continue services?

We are making many plans for how we can best serve everyone during the summer months. Currently, the staff at Walnut Cove is working diligently on our Summer Learning Program.

We will still have a program for our children, but it will be different in many ways

1: We will have both paper reading logs and an online recording site for our participants to record their reading time and we will still have prizes at the end of the summer.

The State Library of North Carolina is currently working on an online reading recording website that we will be able to share very soon.

2: We are working on printed and online packets to hand out and share with our participants. The library staff is deciding how to get those printed packets to everyone since we may not be able to open to the public for a while. We do not want to exclude anyone who does not have access to the internet.

3: Our performers will be doing online programs for us to share with all families. These programs will be available for everyone to view! Sadly, there will be no in-house programs this summer.

4: Also, we will be videoing science experiments, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) projects, and filming educational videos that our children can follow along at home.

Lego Day for Stokes Opportunity Center
Lego Day Creations

Christine says, “if you have any suggestions on how we can best serve your needs during Summer Learning, we would be happy to hear them.”

⇒You can reach the Walnut Cove Library on their Facebook page, via phone 336-591-7496 or by e-mail at wco@nwrl.org⇐

Another service we want to add this summer is our Back to Basics videos. This is a first for Walnut Cove and we are excited to add this to our services! We are planning to do several how-to videos for everyone.

We are currently working on fishing techniques, starting your own garden, and learning how to crochet.

Click the picture to be taken to Walnut Cove Library Facebook page.

These are staff hobbies, but we want to hear from our customers what they would like to learn.

We have several suggestions already including canning and preserving fruits and vegetables, sewing, and seasonal crafts.

Eventually, we plan to take our show on the road to visit businesses and places of interest in Stokes County.

“What is something positive, or uplifting, that you have experienced during COVID19?”

The most positive aspect taken from this whole experience is the library staff has an even greater understanding of how valuable our public libraries truly are to their community and how much our hard work and dedication will have to continue at an even higher level to help see our community through this pandemic. We know COVID19 will be a part of our lives for many months and possibly years to come and it has taught all of us the value of human life.

In addition, we think of what we must do as community helpers to keep our citizens happy, safe, and well-informed.

There is not a day goes by if I am out in Walnut Cove, that someone tells me how ready they are for the library to open back up. Everyone is in full agreement that they greatly miss our doors being open.

Christine Boles Branch Manager, Walnut Cove Library

You can reach the Walnut Cove Library on their Facebook page, via phone 336-591-7496 or by e-mail at wco@nwrl.org


Read our other entries in Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact here.

Stokes: Stay Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives. NWRL

We continue our series of Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact, with Joan Sherif from Northwest Regional Library.

The NWRL has branches in Danbury, Walnut Cove and King and are currently closed, but offer a wide variety of options to residents to advance knowledge, strengthen our communities and inspire diversity.

 To read our story about the Walnut Cove Public Library click here.

To read our story about the King Public Library click here. 

To read our story about the Danbury Public Library click here.

How has COVID19 affected the NWRL?

With the Governor’s announcement in March, we closed all libraries to the public and provided curbside service until April 1 when we had to discontinue it. It was very popular, and it was very hard for the staff to stop serving the public in person which is our goal. We were very fortunate that the Regional Board approved all staff working from home.

At first, it was almost surreal since we were closing our doors to the public and that has always been the opposite of what we try to do.  After the initial shock wore off, the staff swung into action.  We began virtual communication with all libraries (Stokes, Surry, Alleghany, and Yadkin) which has been a lifeline for us to stay in touch.  We are using Google Classroom and Meet.  We formed three teams on priority issues to get input from all staff and further collaborate. The teams meet weekly, and there is good discussion and some good outcomes.

 

Since the initial closing, staff has worked from home with catch up work, continuing education, and re-inventing how library services are delivered.  It did not take long for staff to jump on many webinars that will help all staff do an even better job now and in the future.  We have transformed all services online and now provide even more virtual services than ever.

These services are available on www.nwrl.org

We added new tabs to our website (www.nwrl.org) to include information on CO-VID 19, employment resources, and remote services.

Anyone with checked out materials was asked to hold onto books, DVD’s, and audiobooks until we re-open with no overdue fines.

People can now get a temporary card online as well.

Our staff stepped up to the challenge. Although we had some virtual programs before, the staff has taken hold of the possibilities and are offering online storytimes, readings from Harry Potter,  fairy tales, celebration of Earth Day, book talks, and much more.

And, I think that we have just begun! The response has been excellent with many comments about how people are not only enjoying seeing their library workers but also enjoying the programs.

Free learning resources available on www.nwrl.org.

Since not everyone has wifi at home, we are encouraging folks to use the outside wifi from library parking lots.  We have seen an increase of usage and are glad to provide the service especially now.

The staff have been great and risen to the occasion. I think that we all have learned so much about ourselves and our communities that will be continued after we are able to open up fully to the public.

How will NWRL continue these services for Stokes residents?

We have all become aware of how we can develop remote and virtual services to a greater extent.  Staff are building on what they know about online services (including NC LIVE databases and NC Kids Digital) and learning more at an exponential rate!  It seems like everyday there is a new find, and talent is emerging!

These free learning resources are available at www.nwrl.org

Please visit www.nwrl.org and check out the Virtual Programs.

We have discussed more online services as well as asynchronous ones such as story walks and scavenger hunts that kids can do with their families or each other and get outdoors.

These services and others will become part of what NWRL libraries do.

Can you share anything positive from this situation we are all facing?

I think that we all agree that there have been many positives from the CO-VID19 crisis.  Although it is a hard and scary time for all of us, I think that we have all found a new resilience and hope for the future. 

Our staff is working even more closely together and supporting each other even more.  We realize that we all are in this together with our communities and truly believe that we will be stronger and better at the other end of it.

We know that many services that have started will be regular parts of library services.  We have learned much about ourselves, each other, and our organization.  Although we are planning for (and very much looking forward) to the day when we can reopen to the public, we know that we are stronger and better and have learned some very valuable lessons about ourselves and our communities.  We are even more aware of the importance of the essential value of our libraries to each community.

Not only are libraries a place for books, Audio/visual, information, and programs but also they are places for human connection.
In a survey that is posted on the website about what people miss most about their libraries and services that they would like to see, we are seeing that people often say that they miss the staff. 

Library workers are community helpers and although the way we are helping has changed since the beginning of the stay at home order, we are continuing on a different level that we will continue as we grow and change.  The library is online and in person.

-Joan Sherif, Northwestern Regional Library

Information regarding the Northwestern Regional Library can be found online here


 

Read our other entries in Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact here.

Stokes: Stay Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives. Part 10.

We continue our series of Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact, with Taylor Furr, 4-H and Youth Development Agent from the Stokes County Cooperative Extension.

Taylor discusses how COVID-19 has impacted her work with 4-H & Youth Development and the innovative steps she is taking to stay connected with the youth of Stokes County.

1. What are you and/or your agency doing here in Stokes County to support our residents during COVID-19?

Stokes County 4-H is a youth development program where I, as the 4-H Agent, provide educational opportunities for the youth in our county. During this trying time, we have created a couple activities youth can be working on.

Taylor Furr is the 4-H and Youth Development Agent for Stokes County

We have a History Scavenger Hunt going on where youth can learn about 4-H while completing a fill in the blank form. You can find more information on our website at stokes.ces.ncsu.edu.

I am continuing to provide resources to teachers, such as our Embryology Program and the Steps to Health program. We are pre recording videos and sending them to the teachers so they can share it with their classes. Each week I will be posting an activity for youth and families to participate if they wish.

All of the summer youth activities hosted by the Extension Office have been postponed, cancelled, or moved to a virtual setting.

The Stokes County Cooperative Extension agents are working together to plan activities youth can participate in on their own at home this summer.

Be on the lookout for more information in the coming weeks.
If you have any suggestions or requests of activities you’d like to see, please reach out to Taylor Furr at taylor_furr@ncsu.edu. More information can be found at stokes.ces.ncsu.edu or our Facebook page.

2. Why is it important that our community practice self-care, for mental and physical well-being?

It is still important that we deliver relevant and trustworthy information to our citizens, but what has changed is how we deliver our information. We are working diligently to provide our community with knowledge through virtual platforms instead of face-to-face interactions. This way we are being good stewards of social distancing but still serving our community.

3. What is something positive you have seen in midst of chaos of COVID-19 as we navigate this together?

I personally have seen families who do not normally get to spend time together, being able to do that now. They are building connections, and making memories, and that is something to be thankful for during this time!

Taylor Furr, 4-H & Youth development for the stokes county cooperative extension
Click here for more information about the Stokes County Cooperative Extension.

Read our other entries in Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact here.

Stokes: Stay Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives. Part 9.

Our series of Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact continues with Matt Dotson, Founder and President of Rustic River Craftsman Foundation, a place where veterans can find a purpose.

These veterans discuss how COVID19 has impacted their purpose of engaging with other veterans and being #veteranstrong #communitystrong.

At Rustic River Crafstman Foundation for veterans, instead of going out and isolating, being depressed by yourself, come here. We can teach you woodworking, blacksmithing, we can give you a task and purpose that you are used to having. #veteranstrong

Rustic River Craftsman Foundation is a local organization for veterans struggling to adjust to civilian live.

RRCF provides a purpose and task for veterans who are returning and transitioning.

It is a resource center for veterans having problems with disability or dealing with life. It is a place where veterans can work or just be with buddies that understand.

This is a place where veterans come to work out issues, where woodworking serves as occupational therapy.

We asked Matt, “How has COVID19 affected Rustic River Craftsman Foundation?”

“Well we’re about a month deep into this and at first there was a lot of uncertainty and I guess we didn’t know if we were going to get pulled over on the way up here, if we were allowed to connect even if we kept our social distancing, we didn’t know what was going to happen so it was kind of a looming situation I guess.”

“The more veterans I can get in here and I can teach this concept to, the more veterans I can send back to their communities and that is how you ultimately make a big change”, Matt Dotson

“We had a fishing tournament scheduled here which involved a lot of other veterans, especially our Recreational Director, and one of the things we do here is provide purpose, like the fishing tournament, I know when I give that seed to that guy he’s going to water it, and for the next couple months or weeks whatever it is he’s going to be focused on that and that’s his purpose and when COVID came around the wind went right out of the sails.

It kind of sucks being president sitting back watching some guys motivation and confidence kind of diminish but at the same time there’s positivity, some things that happened we had a fundraiser my guys did all the work we did it online, we connected we made teamwork happen and honestly that’s what it’s all about.”


Eugene is a Marine Corp veteran and RRCF Recreational Therapy Director and was asked: “Can you think of something positive and uplifting during the uncertainty of COVID19?”

Eugene says, “I’ve never seen anything like this, especially in this area, that has got what we got for veterans”

“I mean look around, look where I’m at, I’m here now it’s 3pm on a Friday, I’m not at work and that sucks but I can always come here and see my buddies and see my bros, do some wood work, paint a little bit, talk about life stuff, talk about other peoples life stuff, cause I’m not the only person that has a problem.

All my buddies have problems and they’re free to vent to me and I feel good knowing I can come here and do that for them and just do that with them, that’s important.

I can’t name another place that I’ve ever seen, especially in this area, I’ve never seen anything in this area that’s got what we have here and offers what Rustic has offered me and brought me into, this is awesome.


Tony, Secretary and Mission Director for RRCF was asked: “How has RRCF supported you and other veterans during COVID19?”

Tony, Army and Navy veteran, utilizing woodworking to address PTSD.

“After the initial two weeks of everyone going crazy I realized how much this place means to me, because my PTSD was getting crazy, isolating at home and I realized that our doors are always open.”

“I started coming back up here and it really calmed me down. A lot of people still cant come into the doors which is sad because of everything going on but we reached out and did a sweatshirt and tee shirt drive and made some money for the foundation and that gave me a purpose, even when I was at home I could reach out and talk about Rustic River and help out the foundation”

Ranger, Tony’s service dog.

We asked Matt, “Why is it important for RRCF to be here for veterans during COVID19?”

“It’s real simple, people have to have a place to go. Every community has a YMCA, every community has a church, they have a school.

If I was a struggling veteran and I came up to you and asked, “where can I go?”, you would say VA (Veterans Affairs) and it doesn’t work that way. That is why it is important we are here, so my guys can come in they can have something to do and we can connect, we’re winning.

It’s the whole point, as long as there are 22 a day we’re open. Godspeed.” 
Matt Dotson, Founder and President of Rustic River Craftsman Foundation.
You can find Rustic River Craftsman Foundation on Facebook by clicking this picture.
THE VETERANS AT RUSTIC RIVER ALSO DO A LOT OF ACTIVITIES OFF THE PROPERTY. THEY GO HIKING, KAYAKING, TRAVEL TO FISHING TOURNAMENTS, RACES. IT’S ALL ABOUT PURPOSE AND AVOIDING THOSE DARK SPACES.

 

Providing veterans with a purpose.

 

 

The warehouse is a safe space to share feelings with fellow veterans.

 

Information above was taken from vidoes provided by RRCF to Stokes Citizens.

Read our other entries in Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact here.

Note from Cindy Tuttle, Executive Director Stokes Partnership for Children

Stokes: Stay Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives. Part 8. is a condensed version of the note below.

Cindy Tuttle, Executive Director Stokes Partnership for Children contributed to the Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact series and her entire article is listed below.

The Smart Start Network is made up of 75 local partnerships across the state of North Carolina. Each local partnership is its own independent 501(c)(3). Stokes Partnership for Children (SPC) is one of those local partnerships, specifically serving Stokes County. SPC has a history of over 25 years serving our early childhood community, with a focus on children birth to age five. Our primary goal is to identify and meet the needs of young children so that they are prepared for success in school and beyond.

With COVID-19, NCDHHS thought of the Smart Start Network as a primary partner in our local communities, classifying local partnerships as essential businesses.

Daily, SPC is working to ensure that child care programs, providing care for the children of essential workers, have access to critical expert health and safety consultation and are connected to available resources, such as information about funding, supplies, financial assistance, teacher supports and more.

It is the job of SPC to track the needs of centers and families so that state officials are kept informed and aware of the needs of child care programs and families in our community.

L To R: Shanda Cox, Child Care Resource and Referral Coordinator; Joan Sherif, SPC Board Chair; Shannon Cox, NC Pre-K Coordinator and Program Manager; Wanda Craig, Administrative Assistant and Dolly Parton Imagination Library Coordinator; Arden Browder, SPC Board Member; Cindy Tuttle, Executive Director; Dianne Durham, Workforce Innovation to Support Early Education (WISEE) Coordinator; Anne Moser, Finance Manager; Rep. Kyle Hall, NC House

For example, the Smart Start Network, in Collaboration with the Child Care Services Association (CCSA) and Child Care Resource and Referral Networks have created the CCSA COVID-19 Relief Fund for child care programs. Local child care programs submit their applications to SPC. SPC processes them and then forwards eligibility information back to CCSA. Through the CCSA COVID-19 Relief Fund, child care programs are provided extra funds to support them during this health crisis.

During this time of chaos, it is amazing how our community has come together to develop new methods of operation. Making connections has been vital to the early childhood centers providing care for the children of essential workers. Having the supplies to provide this care is imperative, but difficult, with restrictions being made to daily supplies such as toilet paper, cleaning products and milk. SPC helped to bridge the gap between child care programs and local suppliers by personally contacting local stores and speaking directly with managers to explain how child care facilities were considered essential businesses and that caring for the children may require an increase in supplies. SPC provided the businesses and the child care facilities with a letter verifying their role as an essential business. This helped the centers to be able to purchase the necessary supplies they needed to remain open. The connection made between local suppliers and child care programs built an understanding of support and care in our community.

In addition to being the local Smart Start agency, SPC also is the Contract Administrator for the NC Pre-Kindergarten Program for Stokes County. SPC contracts with the Stokes County Schools, Head Start and private child care programs to provide high-quality educational experiences to enhance school readiness for eligible four-year-old children. Classrooms for approximately 160 children enrolled in the NC Pre-K program in Stokes County closed along with Stokes County Schools classrooms mid-March.  Thirteen classrooms in some elementary schools, Head Start centers and a private childcare facility were providing high-quality early education to these at-risk 4-year olds to help prepare them to be successful in kindergarten next school year.

Dedicated Pre-K Teachers are finding creative ways to offer virtual learning.  They are using take-home packets as well as online platforms to reach their students and engage families to actively participate in teaching.

One teacher stated, “I’ve gotten into the swing of things and I’ve received great feedback from the families–they say it is easily accessible and they all seem to love the activities (families and children). They send me pictures and videos of what they are doing, how they complete the extension activities, and can answer questions that I ask, all of which brings me so much joy!” 

For children who do not have access to on-line resources, teachers are texting, emailing and calling individual families in order to rise to the challenge of teaching, in spite of the pandemic.

In addition to providing in-house programs, SPC subcontracts Smart Start funds out to other community organizations to provide needed services to Stokes County’s young children and families. SPC supports these service providers as they creatively continue to serve children and families during COVID-19, while ensuring they are being a good steward of state funds. It is amazing how innovative these programs have been to continue serving our community.

One great example of this is the Children’s Center of Northwest NC, who SPC contracts with to provide the Nurturing Parenting Program (NPP).

NPP is a family-centered trauma-informed initiative designed to build nurturing parenting skills as an alternative to abusive and neglecting parenting and child-rearing practices. NPP staff have continued to provide services by mailing NPP lessons weekly to families, then are following up each week either by phone or virtual technology (Zoom, FaceTime) if the family has access to this technology.

The families then have the lesson in front of them while NPP staff discusses it with them and answers any questions they may have. NPP also mails any types of resources/helpful information the family may request or NPP staff may feel is beneficial. NPP staff have sent information about how to stay safe and healthy during COVID-19, ways to talk to their children about it, helpful ways to assist with school work, etc. If NPP staff discovers they have a need for food or supplies they see how they can help them so that their needs are being met. Despite COVID-19, NPP staff are still taking referrals for this program.

During this pandemic, SPC strongly encourages the community to follow all of the safety guidelines related to COVID-19, to stay home and follow the latest NC Shelter in Place orders.

With that thought in mind, Stokes Partnership for Children staff are working mostly from home, but you can rest assured we are still working very hard from behind the scenes. We can be reached via email or by calling us at 336-985-2676 and leaving a voicemail. We check our voicemail several times daily.

For our staff directory and to learn more about us go to www.stokespfc.com or follow us on Facebook for daily updates and sharing of resources.

Cindy S. Tuttle, Executive Director

Stokes Partnership for Children

Stokes: Stay Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives. Part 8.

We continue our series of Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact with an update from Cindy Tuttle at Stokes Partnership for Children.

Cindy Tuttle, Executive Director of Stokes Partnership for Children, discusses how COVID19 is impacting the efforts and programs her agency provides to children and families in the county.

Stokes Partnership for Children has a history of over 25 years serving our early childhood community, with a focus on children birth to age five. Click here to read more about the impact COVID19 is having on early childhood education in Stokes.

What are you and your agency doing here in Stokes County to support child-care centers during COVID-19?

Stokes Partnership for Children (SPC) is working to ensure that child care programs who are providing care for the children of essential workers have access to critical expert health and safety consultation and are connected to available resources, such as information about funding, supplies, financial assistance, teacher supports and more.
L To R: Shanda Cox, Child Care Resource and Referral Coordinator; Joan Sherif, SPC Board Chair; Shannon Cox, NC Pre-K Coordinator and Program Manager; Wanda Craig, Administrative Assistant and Dolly Parton Imagination Library Coordinator; Arden Browder, SPC Board Member; Cindy Tuttle, Executive Director; Dianne Durham, Workforce Innovation to Support Early Education (WISEE) Coordinator; Anne Moser, Finance Manager; Rep. Kyle Hall, NC House

It is the job of SPC to track the needs of centers and families so that state officials are kept informed and aware of the needs of child care programs and families in our community.

Can you share how Pre-K Teachers are supporting their students during COVID-19?

Dedicated Pre-K Teachers are finding creative ways to offer virtual learning.  They are using take-home packets as well as online platforms to reach their students and engage families to actively participate in teaching.

One teacher stated, “I’ve gotten into the swing of things and I’ve received great feedback from the families–they say it is easily accessible and they all seem to love the activities (families and children). They send me pictures and videos of what they are doing, how they complete the extension activities, and can answer questions that I ask, all of which brings me so much joy!” 

For children who do not have access to on-line resources, teachers are texting, emailing and calling individual families in order to rise to the challenge of teaching, in spite of the pandemic.

What free resources are available for parents/guardians of children birth to 5 years?

It is amazing how innovative these programs have been to continue serving our community. One great example of this is the Children’s Center of Northwest NC, who SPC contracts with to provide the Nurturing Parenting Program (NPP).

NPP is a family-centered trauma-informed initiative designed to build nurturing parenting skills as an alternative to abusive and neglecting parenting and child-rearing practices.

NPP staff have continued to provide services by mailing NPP lessons weekly to families, then are following up each week either by phone or virtual technology (Zoom, FaceTime) if the family has access to this technology. The families then have the lesson in front of them while NPP staff discusses it with them and answers any questions they may have. NPP also mails any types of resources/helpful information the family may request or NPP staff may feel is beneficial. NPP staff have sent information about how to stay safe and healthy during COVID-19, ways to talk to their children about it, helpful ways to assist with school work, etc. If NPP staff discovers they have a need for food or supplies they see how they can help them so that their needs are being met. Despite COVID-19, NPP staff are still taking referrals for this program.

What message do you have for parents/guardians of children birth to 5 years in Stokes County?

During this pandemic, SPC strongly encourages the community to follow all of the safety guidelines related to COVID-19, to stay home and follow the latest NC Shelter in Place orders. With that thought in mind, Stokes Partnership for Children staff are working mostly from home, but you can rest assured we are still working very hard from behind the scenes.

We can be reached via email or by calling us at 336-985-2676 and leaving a voicemail. We check our voicemail several times daily.

For our staff directory and to learn more about us go to www.stokespfc.com or follow us on Facebook for daily updates and sharing of resources.

Cindy S. Tuttle, Executive Director

Stokes Partnership for Children

For more information about Stokes Partnership for Children and their role in early childhood development in Stokes during COVID19 click here.


Read our other entries in Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact here.

For Parents/Caregivers of Youth: Underage Alcohol

Underage alcohol consumption is an issue that parents and caregivers of youth should address.

According to the last Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) 26.5% of NC High School youth reported consuming alcohol in the last 30 days.

The following video will give parents and caregivers of youth ways they can talk to their teen to discourage alcohol use. There are tips for effective communication between parents and child as well as peer pressure avoidance techniques that youth can use.

Stokes: Stay Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives. Part 7.

We continue our series of Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact with Patti Snyder. She is a new mother, a Stokes resident and Family and Consumer Science Agent for Stokes County Cooperative Extension.

What are you and/or your agency doing here in Stokes County to address COVID-19?   

Our mission is to extend research-based information to the citizens of Stokes County. During COVID-19 our mission is still the same and we will continue to deliver knowledge that can be transformed into solutions that improve our community. 

It is still important that we deliver relevant and trustworthy information to our citizens, but what has changed is how we deliver our information. We are working diligently to provide our community with knowledge through virtual platforms instead of face-to-face interactions. This way we are being good stewards of social distancing but still serving our community. 

We have also transformed the Feed Stokes 5k/Half Marathon Race to an online platform. For those that have registered for the race, they can sign up for free and compete with others.
If you are not registered and would like to compete you can go to our facebook page, Feed Stokes 5k/Half Marathon and register.
All proceeds are split up between the three Stokes County Food Banks

Going from face-to-face contact to all online, is strange. Thankfully we have great organizations in the County who have each other’s backs. I have worked with so many great organizations to continue to provide content for our communities.

So far I have partnered with Cardinal Innovations to post line dancing videos and made bread in a bag with Stokes Arts Live. Additionally, myself and the City of King Parks and Recreation Director have taken our Friday morning walking group virtual as a way to encourage people to get outside and continue exercising.  

I have continued to send out resources to our teachers who were participating in our Steps to Health programming by sending out videos that they can send to the students. The children may not be in the schools, but this is no reason for them to stop learning about healthy foods and how to grow your own food.

Each week I plan to post information on our website that is helpful to our citizens of Stokes County. Click here to visit Stokes County Cooperative Extension.

Why is it important that our community take these measures?

I find it to be important to take the recommended measures, like social distancing, to keep ourselves and others safe. Personally, I have a young child at home, so following current recommendations helps reduce the risk of jeopardizing her health as well as mine.

What is something positive you have seen in the midst of chaos of COVID-19 as we navigate this together?

I have really enjoyed seeing more children and families playing outside. I have seen families start planting gardens, which for some may be a completely new hobby. I think it is exciting for them to explore new talents, like gardeningI know one positive for my family is we have found the time to do all of those home remodel projects we always talked about!

patti snyder, Family & consumer science agent, stokes cooperative extension
For more information about Family and Consumer Science programs available in Stokes County click here.

Read our other entries in Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact here.