Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute

Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI) is housed in the Department of Maternal and Child Health in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill. CGBI supports breastfeeding in families of newborns. Specifically, their services are tailored to vulnerable populations, including WIC and/or Medicaid eligible families, minority populations, and Spanish speakers.

Based in Chapel Hill, NC
Catherine Sullivan, Principal Investigator
Kathleen Anderson, Director, Community Breastfeeding                          

Project: Enhancing Caretaker Skills – Optimal Responsive Feeding for Child Development                                                                                                                               CGBI is working with 4,300 newborns and their families, providing support for breastfeeding and stimulation of verbal and non-verbal communication between children and their caregivers. Reducing breastfeeding barriers has been shown to increase optimal breastfeeding in other NC settings by 50%. Based on this, CGBI expects toachieve an estimated increase in optimal breastfeeding behaviors by at least 15 percentage points in two years in Forsyth County, with higher increases in those populations that lag behind. CGBI will use the ETIERS (exploration, translation, innovative implementation, evaluation, replication and sustainability) approach to scale the project up. In the first year of the project, CGBI trained over 50 participants in health care and child care settings. Participants from Novant used CGBI’s materials to train an additional 300 nurses in responsive infant feeding as well. CGBI is also developing six new resources on topics related to responsive feeding that were identified through Forsyth County stakeholder conversations.

El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services

El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services is a local organization immersed in the Latino community, serving to empower children and adults in the Old Town area to fulfill their educational and economic potential, and pursue positive and healthy futures in Winston-Salem. Learn more about its work! 

Based in Winston-Salem, NC                                                                                                       Don Durham, Executive Director                                                                                                 Erika Stewart, Director of Family Literacy

Project: Mother-Child Education Programs: Listos! and Mas Listos                                     El Buen Pastor offers immigrant mothers parent-child education classes through its primary program, Listos – which means “ready in Spanish.” This nine-month program consists of weekly three-hour classes from September through May, holistic education for children, monthly home visits, and summer enrichment activities like story hours and cooking classes. In the first year , 31 mothers and 44 children participated, and in the second year, 18 of those mothers re-enrolled with their child and 18 mothers were enrolled as new participants. The women served are immigrants from Mexico and Central America who grew up in poverty, and many have minimal education, limited literacy and English-language proficiency. Many lack access to transportation and experience social isolation. Mothers are learning how to nurture their children's cognitive, social, emotional, and physical growth, as well aspositive parenting techniques and family nutrition--and recognizing themselves as their children's most important teachers. In the second year of the program, mothers increased their language promotion practices and reading with their children, reduced use of physical discipline, and developed strong relationships with other women in their community. The organization offers a second program “Mas Listos,” which is co-led by graduates of Listos. The children who participate in these programs are improving their school readiness; learning how to separate from their mothers and participate in a classroom setting. They’re exposed to printed and spoken English and Spanish, and learning developmentally-appropriate pre-literacy basics.

Family Services

Family Services envisions Forsyth County as a community working together to ensure that all families and children are safe, secure, and able to reach their full potential. Family Services provides professional services and firms partnerships with organizations in human services, government, education, the faith community, the arts and the private sector to expand access to needed services and to build a nurturing, sustainable community through multifaceted programming.

Based in Winston-Salem, NC
Robert J. Feikema, President and Chief Executive Officer
Rebecca Nagaishi, Director, Family Solutions Division

Project: Forsyth County School Readiness Project (FCSRP)                                                 In the first year of the project, FCSRP reached 119 young children in seven Family Services Head Start classes, with a goal of increasing students’ self-regulation and executive function through teacher professional development. Through FCSRP, teachers received 30 hours of Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management training. Mental health coaches provided teachers with 750 hours of coaching and guidance in classroom-management and stress-reduction strategies. These coaches also assessed the needs of children through observations, and provided 60 sessions of therapeutic intervention with eleven children. Outcomes in the first year of the project included a reduction in student referrals for mental health interventions and teacher reports of improved student behavior and social emotional skills. Teachers also reported that FCSRP was helpful in promoting a positive classroom environment and in improving their classroom behavior management skills. CLASS scores indicated that the classrooms with children with the most challenging behaviors benefited the most from the support. 

First Book

First Book is committed to closing the achievement gap for low income children by providing them with rich, varied and culturally representative books. First Book works through trusted programs with deep community roots to provide reading resources to children, thereby increasing child literacy and strengthening local literacy efforts.

Based in Washington, DC
Candace Radoski, Director, National Engagement

Project: Mind in the Making                                                                                                 First Book’s Mind in the Making early childhood literacy collection is a set of 28 books, carefully curated to reinforce seven essential skills that build executive function. Its Stories for All project includes a broad diversity of characters from different backgrounds, circumstances and ethnicities—which allow children to see themselves reflected in the stories they read. In the first year with Great Expectations, First Book registered 550 teachers, childcare providers, and family support staff through its First Book Marketplace and distributed over 12,000 books from its Mind in the Making collection. Early impacts include teacher and provider reports of increased knowledge of and confidence in promoting executive function skills with the children they serve. Teachers and providers also reported that their students were more interested in reading after the new books were used. In addition, teachers and providers are using the tip sheets with parents, extending the utility of the tools to the home. 

Forsyth County Department of Public Health

Forsyth County Department of Public Health staffs 25 health-focused programs and multiple health clinics with more than 230 public health professionals committed to reducing preventable health risks among Forsyth County residents, as well as encouraging healthy behaviors by educating and empowering community leaders and citizens.

Based in Winston-Salem, NC
Marlon Hunter, Director
Christine Wanous, Nurse Supervisor

Project: Nurse-Family Partnership® (NFP)                                                                             NFP is an evidence-based community health program that helps transform the lives of vulnerable mothers and their children. Starting in early pregnancy, NFP pairs registered nurses with first-time, low-income mothers. Nurses make regular home visits starting early in pregnancy through the child’s second birthday to achieve three primary goals: improve prenatal health and pregnancy outcomes, improve child health and development, and increase economic self-sufficiency. NFP serves women who are pregnant with their first baby and have an income that would qualify them for Medicaid or WIC. Nurses visit the homes of these mothers and infants weekly or biweekly, until the baby reaches two years of age—to offer support, education, and access to resources in collaboration with community partners and providers. NFP has provided 5,400 visits to 217 mothers in Forsyth County mothers since its site launch in 2012, and 54 women and their two-year-olds have graduated from the program. Results include high rates of full-term births (86%) to babies with healthy birth weights (83%), high rates of initiating breastfeeding (97%), and up-to-date immunizations for toddlers (100%).

  photo by Nancy Sidelinger

photo by Nancy Sidelinger

Forsyth County Public Library

The Forsyth County Public Library’s mission is to connect members of their community with reading, information and lifelong learning. With 10 branches and over one million visitors last year, the Forsyth County Public Library is a community hub for literacy and community resources.

Based in Winston-Salem, NC
Yolanda Bolden, Library Manager

Project: Reading Ready for Kindergarten                                                                          The Forsyth County Library is equipping seven library branches with age-appropriate reading and other literacy materials for children 0-5. Every library location is offer evening and weekend programs for preschool children featuring opportunities to engage in story time, crafts, technology, music, and movement. The library offers free literacy development tools and programs, including booklists and the “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” challenge, and is expanding its services, enhancing the children’s rooms, and adding more books for preschool-aged children and their families. Since July 2015, the library’s preschool book collection has increased by 75%, and the increase in books for young children has increased usage of the libraries. Evening, weekend, and bilingual story times have been added, increasing accessibility for working and immigrant families. The library has also provided 320 preschool story time sessions for NC-PreK classes in the 2015-2016 school year.

Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG)

The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is one of the nation’s oldest and largest multidisciplinary centers devoted to the study of young children and their families. About 300 researchers, implementation and technical assistance specialists, staff, and students work on more than 75 projects related to developmental disabilities; early care and education; physical and social health; professional development, technical assistance and implementation science; public policy and evaluation; and racial, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity. FPG researchers study important issues facing young children and their families and use this information to enhance policy and improve practice.

Based in Chapel Hill, NC
Dr. Nicole Gardner-Neblett, Investigator

Project: More Than Baby Talk (MTBT)                                                                              MTBT works to positively impact the teaching capacity of infant/toddler teachers and improve the quality of language interactions between teachers and children in Forsyth County child care centers. Building on the More Than Baby Talk guide, MTBT provides one-time, three-hour workshops that focus on ten key classroom practices promoting language development to early educators. These workshops are improving the capacity of teachers to use these evidence-based practices. A partnership with Smart Start of Forsyth County is providing additional technical assistance for 24 participants who desire to expand these skills over the course of nine months through individualized coaching. At the end of the first year of the project, 109 child care providers from 42 child care centers have participated in the workshops and nine are participating in coaching. Providers participating in the workshops improved their knowledge of how to best support children’s language development, and improved their perceptions of their knowledge and capacity in the area of language supportive teaching strategies. Coaches report increased use of the MTBT practices with the providers they are coaching and with other teachers at those childcare centers, which indicates that the coaching is having a positive effect beyond the scope of the project.


Help Me Grow is a national organization with statewide affiliates that assists states in developing stronger systems for screening, early detection, referral for services, and follow-up. Through comprehensive physician and community outreach, and a centralized information and referral center that collaborates with local organizations, families are linked with needed programs and services. Ongoing data collection and analysis help identify gaps in services and barriers to access. The system emphasizes early detection of developmental delays and behavior problems in children through eight years old. 

Based in: Hartford, Connecticut

Kimberly Martini-Carvell, Executive Director                         

Project: Help Me Grow Action Planning

Forsyth County stakeholders are beginning an action-planning process to assess the feasibility of implementing a Help Me Grow system in Forsyth County. Help Me Grow will provide technical assistance to county stakeholders as they create a plan to align and strengthen county efforts for screening and referral. Stakeholders will identify and leverage existing resources and services in the areas of screening, care coordination, community outreach, physician outreach and data collection and analysis. 

Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center

Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center is a Winston-Salem hospital and part of one of the largest healthcare systems in North Carolina providing emergency services, medical services, surgical services, rehabilitation and behavioral health services. The mission of Novant Health is to improve the health of communities, one person at a time.

Based in Winston-Salem, NC    
Kirsten Royster, Vice President of the Maya Angelou Center for Women's Health and Wellness
Cheryl Jones, Forsyth Connects Project Manager

Project: Forsyth Connects
Housed at the Maya Angelou Center for Women’s Health and Wellness at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center, Forsyth Connects will bring in-home nurse visitation to every new mother in Forsyth County, connecting them to the wraparound services proven to cultivate positive outcomes for children. The evidence-based Family Connects model was created at the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University, and will complement the work of Nurse Family Partnership and the Care Coordination for Children in providing nurse home visits and connecting families to resources. As identified in the 2014 Forsyth County Community Health Needs Assessment, adequate time with providers, transportation, and access to healthcare are key to addressing the priority areas of infant mortality, chronic disease, mental health, and poverty in Forsyth County for all mothers and their children.

Reach Out and Read (ROR)

Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based nonprofit organization of medical providers who promote early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by integrating children's books and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud into well-child visits. Reach Out and Read currently partners with more than 5,500 program sites nationwide and distributes 6.5 million books per year.

Based in Boston, MA (National Office) and Sylva, NC (Regional Office)
Callee Boulware, Executive Director, ROR Carolinas
Caroline Trammell, Program Specialist, Reach Out and Read                                              Kimberly Martini-Carvell, Executive Director, Help Me Grow

Project: Building Resources for Families and Physicians                                                       ROR has collaborated with primary care providers across North Carolina and throughout the United States, as well as with Smart Start and Nurse-Family Partnership in Forsyth County. ROR is increasing its local capacity in Forsyth County, and by the end for the first year, is serving seven medical practices and reaching approximately 6,000 children. With these local medical practices, ROR is implementing a full provider training in the ROR Developmental Delays and Disabilities module and providing to physicians books and parent resource materials related to Developmental Delays and Disabilities. Additionally, ROR is working to develop an online version of the training, providing more convenient access to larger numbers of medical staff. ROR has also hosted two community conversations to introduce the Forsyth County community of early childhood stakeholders to Help Me Grow, a national model for comprehensive screening and referral that emphasizes early detection of developmental delays and behavior problems in children up the age of eight. Over 50 stakeholders from Forsyth County and the state attended these conversations, and the community is having robust discussion to explore the benefits and challenges of implementing a HMG system in Forsyth County.

Smart Start of Forsyth County (SSFC)

Smart Start of Forsyth County serves children from birth to five (prior to kindergarten entry) by supporting children, parents, educators, centers, and policy makers through collaborative programs, consumer education, and advocacy. As a partnering organization with the North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. (NCPC) and by legislative design, SSFC is charged with the quality and progress of Forsyth County’s early-learning system.

Based in Winston-Salem, NC    
Larry Vellani, Chief Executive Officer
Jenny Whitley, Director, Teaching & Learning Services

Project: Our Teaching Partners                                                                                                 Smart Start of Forsyth County’s Our Teaching Partners coaching program provides instructional support for early educators to promote more effective interactions with children; to improve practices around language and literacy; to create a positive educational climate; and to increase sensitivity and responsiveness to children’s needs.  Two master coaches are conducting My Teaching Partner® curriculum for educators working with children ages three to five, and More Than Baby Talk (MTBT) for educators working with infants and toddlers. Over the course of two years, approximately 650 birth through five-year olds will benefit from both coaching programs in 48 classrooms across a range of early childhood settings: independent, corporate, and non-profit centers; Family Services, Inc. (Head Start); and Title I public schools. Participating private childcare centers must be primarily serving children with subsidized enrollment (75% or higher). Our Teaching Partners provided 87 coaching sessions to 9 NC Pre-K teachers in private childcare centers. These coaching sessions included reflection on videos of the teachers’ interactions with their students to identify opportunities to use new strategies in the future.


STRONG@HOME is a collaborative of five agencies providing evidence-based, integrated services of value to low-income families with three- or four-year old children. Family Services, as the lead agency, provides case management services for all participating families as well as offering its Head Start program and behavioral health services. Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County provides consumer education, home maintenance and repair classes, and opportunities for home ownership. Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina provides job training/placement and support services while addressing underlying barriers to vocational and financial stability. Financial Pathways of the Piedmont helps individuals and families learn to budget, resolve debt, build assets, access credit wisely, save for the future, and avoid financial crises. Imprints Cares provides high quality early childhood educational experiences including best practice home visitation and parent education programs.

Based in Winston-Salem, NC
Robert J. Feikema, President and Chief Executive Officer

STRONG@HOME is a community-based membership program. As members, the 150 participating families are co-responsible for the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs, services, and activities. The holistic, two-generation, asset-based approach builds relationships and social supports, increases financial capability and resources, and bolsters parent involvement as the foundation for child development and school readiness.

Winston Salem/Forsyth County School System (WS/FCS)

Winston Salem/Forsyth County School System serves over 54,000 students and its youngest students enter one of 43 elementary schools across the city and county. WS/FCS has engaged with Great Expectations in multiple ways, including work to advance the principles of Ready Schools, the Power of K Teacher Leader Initiative, and advancing professional development via engagement with the NC Association for the Education of Young Children.

Based in Winston-Salem, NC
Dr. Eva Phillips, Ready Schools Coordinator

Project: North Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children (NCaeyc)
The Trust has funded WS/FCS for the past 3 years for the following professional development opportunities for teachers: paid membership in NCaeyc; NCaeyc annual conference attendance; allocations for the purchase of approved developmentally and age-appropriate classroom materials; and partial reimbursement for personal expenses incurred by teachers who buy supplies for their classrooms. Last year, 201 teachers and 28 administrators participated. This support addresses the inconsistency of appropriate and effective instructional practices and materials across the district within prekindergarten and kindergarten programs. This year’s conference attendance included teacher assistants as part of the attending group.

Project: Ready Schools Initiative
Building on Forsyth County’s leadership in North Carolina’s statewide Ready Schools initiative, a cross-cutting Forsyth County Ready Schools team is at work to advance school readiness. Great Expectations funding supports a Ready Schools Coordinator who serves as a liaison between WS/FCS, Smart Start of Forsyth County, and the local early care and education community. The goal of WS/FCS Ready Schools work is to extend the culture of Ready Schools (i.e., schools that ensure children’s success in school in all domains of learning and development) to every elementary building and every licensed child care setting in Forsyth County, and to have that culture make a difference in the life and development of each child, and their families. One strategy toward advancing Ready Schools is the Power of K Teacher Leader Initiative.

Project: Power of K Teacher Leader Initiative                                                                            The Power of K Teacher Leader Initiative is a two-year professional development initiative designed to enhance the leadership skills of a select group of 29 kindergarten teachers--72% of whom teach in Title 1 Schools--toward improving their classroom practices. Modeled after a state-wide initiative by the same name, the principles of Power of K stress developmentally-appropriate teaching and keeping each child’s needs at the forefront of teaching and learning. With approximately 214 kindergarten teachers (instructing over 4,000 students) in the school district and a continuously changing workforce, the initiative is cultivating a core group of committed teacher leaders who can model, lead, and empower others. These teachers are engaged in a two-day summer institute, fall and spring meetings, visits to demonstration classrooms, four quarterly professional development days throughout the school year, and data collection in their classrooms with follow-up analysis and support. Over the course of the first year of the initiative, use of developmentally-appropriate instructional practices has increased across all classrooms. All teachers have also changed the physical environments of their classrooms and daily instructional schedules to promote child-directed play and learning.  Additionally, POK reports that the work of the individual POK teacher participants is having a ripple effect, increasing levels of interest in and action around developmentally-appropriate instruction and environments in other classrooms and among administrators.

Zero to Three (ZTT)

Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families (ZTT) is a leader in delivery systems, policy development and implementation, and resource and research dissemination for all areas of early childhood development. ZTT translates data, policy studies, and system planning into a range of practical tools and resources for those who influence the lives of young children. The organization has been providing professional development for more than 25 years and has trained 2,000 trainers, reaching 50,000 professionals nationwide.

Based in Washington, DC                             
Nikki Darling-Kuria, Program Manager
Emmy Marshall, Home Visiting Specialist                              

Project: Knowledge and How to Nurture Early Development

  photo by Nancy Sidelinger

photo by Nancy Sidelinger

Through Knowledge and How to Nurture Early Development, ZTT is providing professional development opportunities for 50 leaders in Forsyth County from over 20 organizations representing multiple sectors, including: health care, mental health, child welfare, early intervention, and early care and education professionals. Skills and strategies learned during the two-year grant period will facilitate learning and networking among participating providers. Participants are attending six day-long workshops on the following topics: Building Collaborative Relationships with Families; understanding early brain development;  understanding social-emotional development for infants, toddlers, and families; helping parents and professionals understand temperament; supportive responses to troubled parent-child relationships; and responding to challenging behaviors in infants and toddlers. Directors will attend two additional workshops: relationship-based and reflective organizations; and supporting staff in their work with families. At the end of the first year of the project, participants have completed four of the six workshops, and have reported benefits including new knowledge that they would not have otherwise had the opportunity to gain, and the opportunity to learn together and network with other professionals.