In a modern architectural style office building off McPherson Church Road, lies a series of offices where the main focus is the first 2,000 days of a child’s life. It’s where 20 years of hard work by Partnership for Children director Eva Hanson and company turned a fledging four person and board of directors led non-profit into the 60 employee powerhouse it is today.
Partnership for Children of Cumberland County’s slogan is The support you need to help children succeed. “That’s really the crux of what we do. You can be a parent, neighbor of a young family, even a legislator who is about to make a new law… we want to connect people to local and regional services that will help them. Our YOU is big,” stressed Tina Newcomb, marketing director.
The non-profit yields phone calls all the time from people who visit their website and give them a call regarding how to connect to whatever their family needs. They cover everything from giving them information as to what grocery stores are closest to their neighborhood to what doctors are available for their kids. One of Partnership for Children’s main missions is connecting Fort Bragg families with services. “We have a lot of military families here with Fort Bragg and they don’t have the support systems that most people have. For instance, most people’s family members live in the same city. So, we support them,” said Newcomb.
Partnership for Children prides themselves for working with children from birth to five-years-old… the first 2,000 days. In this short time, 95 percent of the brain is formed. It is crucial to make learning opportunities available during this span. Only in the past 50 years was it discovered that it’s not just “cuddle and playtime” in a child’s young life. “There was little organized learning opportunities for the younger kids. They’re getting their brains ready to learn,” said Newcomb. And so, Partnership for Children has an expansive resource library and everything a parents needs and more to ensure success in their child.
However, “success” to a child is generally not what we would think it to mean. “You have to make sure children are supported. What success is to a child is not being able to write their name but to feel loved, to feel safe and to be comfortable enough to be curious,” explained Newcomb. They want parents to know that to ensure their child’s success in the first 2,000 days, they can give them a call and it is at no cost. Partnership for Children’s job is to not have all the resources, but to send families to where they can find them stress-free.
And their success would not have been possible without the leadership of Eva Hansen. Hansen moved to the Fayetteville area in 1984 with her husband from Rock Island, Illinois. They moved to the All-America City seeking a change of scenery from the Midwest and because her husband took the job as Police Chief. While in Rock Island, she worked as the director of a delinquency prevention program that provided in-home counseling and support to teens and school age children who were having family problems.
Upon arriving in Fayetteville, she started a treatment foster care program which recruited foster parents… people like you and me. Then, in 1996, came the turning point.
As a Junior League of Fayetteville member with Rosie Bullard, Hansen helped begin Smart Start in Cumberland County which evolved into Partnership for Children. “It was really small when it began, just a few employees and a great board of directors. So, we had a strong foundation. It all starts with one person… and then the board rolls up their sleeves,” expressed Hansen.
Now, after 20 years, Hansen is retiring from her honorable position. 2016 Board of Directors Chair and Soiree Co-Chair, Sharon Moyer, shared with CityView Family a few inspiring words about their fearless leader:Under the leadership of Eva Hansen, The Partnership for Children of Cumberland County has made great strides to improve the lives of children and families in our community. One significant area is the access to high quality early childhood education. We have more preschool children in high quality educational centers with highly qualified teachers than we have ever had before. It is vital to our community's current and future economic development to have preschool programs where children are safe and can flourish, and parents are able to go to work with confidence in their preschool provider.
Eva has curated a diverse staff with varying professional backgrounds ensuring the PFC will be successful for years to come.
Find out more about Partnership for Children and their upcoming signature event, “The Soiree Goes West” at Embassy Suites on March 5th by visiting www.ccpfc.org.
By: Miriam Landru