Since 1999, the Anderson County First Steps Partnership has focused on Healthy Start, Family Strengthening and Parenting, School Transition, and Early Education programs and services. The Partnership is composed of representatives from education, business, health, parents of young children, and the faith community who want every child in Anderson County to enter first grade healthy and ready to succeed. First Steps helps link pre-school children and their families to needed resources and services across the county.
Anderson County First Steps works collaboratively to ensure that all children start school ready to reach their highest potential with engaged support from their parents, caregivers, and communities.
We will be successful when all children reach their highest potential.
From prenatal development through age five, our focus and priority are young children and their families and caregivers.
We cultivate positive, supportive, respectful, and reinforcing interactions between people that shape development, build community, increase success and productivity, foster learning and growth, and affirm the unique value of individuals, caregivers, parents and children.
We ensure all people have the opportunity and resources to be successful and that all voices are solicited and heard.
We ensure that our programs and services are culturally-responsive, inclusive, and developmentally-appropriate and are delivered with fidelity to the model being implemented. Our products, services, and operations are marked by excellence.
We produce meaningful and measurable outcomes.
Leaders of South Carolina’s early childhood state system are soliciting feedback from parents and caregivers of young children through a 10-minute survey. Results will be used to shape policies, programs, and practices. This survey is for anyone who has a young child, not just people who participate in public programs. Take the Survey
Anderson County First Steps Partnership conducted its annual meeting on October 19 as required by state and local bylaws. Dianne Smiley, Anderson County Library System, and Audrey Shaw, Anderson Pregnancy Center, were re-elected board chair and board vice-chair respectively. Liz Wittebort, Anderson School District One, was elected board secretary. Betty Carson was re-elected for a second board member term.
Allison Strickland, Anderson School District Two Family Literacy and 4K Coordinator, was recognized for her outstanding dedication and commitment to the First Steps mission. She has 20 years of professional education experience and is a graduate of Clemson University. During FY21, Allison directly served 19 families in 3 high-intensity parenting programs: Family Literacy/Positive Parenting, Enhanced Raising a Reader, and Countdown to Kindergarten. She also coordinated four-year-old kindergarten recruitment and enrollment activities for 80 children, as well as serving, when necessary, as an interventionist and substitute teacher. In addition, she collaborated with the Anderson County First Steps Partnership to submit a grant to the Carolina Family Engagement Center and received a $2000 award to conduct school transition activities, such as the Spring drive -thru event, coordinated with local community organizations, for 34 families. She also helped coordinate the Touch a Truck end of the school year event attended by 160 children ages 4-6, their parents and teachers.
During these past 18 months of COVID-19 restrictions, Allison stayed in touch with parents by phone, email, or in-person to drop off needed supplies and COVID kits. On her 4K Facebook page in Honea Path, there were “read alouds”, virtual field trips, and parenting tips which were accessible to her Triple P/Family Literacy families as well. She provided books, activities, crayons, glue and scissors in e-learning packets that families could use at home.
Audrey Shaw, Board Vice-chair, thanked Allison for her caring nature, her professionalism, and her willingness to help us all understand the complexity of working with at-risk families and to go above and beyond in assisting them.
During 2020-2021, SC First Steps and Anderson County First Steps celebrated 20 years of providing school readiness support and resources to children ages 0-5 and their families. During the past 20 years, the Anderson County First Steps Partnership has distributed over $13,000,000 to area providers for parent and family strengthening programs and services, school transition programs and early education classes for at-risk children.
The Partnership provided:
•227 children and 217 adults with family strengthening/parenting skills through Positive Parenting/Family Literacy Programs, Early Education 4 year-old Kindergarten half-day classes, and Nurse-Family Partnership program assistance to first-time mothers;
•29 children and 29 parents with school transition support to 5-K kindergarten assisted by 10 teacher/home visitors from 9 schools through the Countdown to Kindergarten program;
•999 books for children through Positive Parenting/Family Literacy, Early Education, and Countdown to Kindergarten programs; and.
•233 children and 198 adults with 7,136 child development and school readiness materials through our community education and outreach events and activities.
In total, 1371 children, adults and families participated in high-quality programs, received referrals and resources, and attended community education and outreach events.
Anderson County First Steps Partnership is proud of achieving these important milestones. Our mission could not have been accomplished without the passion, dedication, and support of our community partners.
Anderson County First Steps Partnership Office: