From the News

North Carolina’s Victoria Byrd’s legacy will be advocacy for children

Dr. Victoria Byrd and a local volunteer

Dr. Victoria Byrd and a local volunteer

When it comes to providing educational opportunities for Sampson County’s youngest children, particularly those least likely to afford them at such a young age, no one has done it better than Dr. Victoria Byrd.

Dr. Byrd, who ran Sampson County’s Partnership for Children as its executive director for the past 20 years, retired at the beginning of July, citing “immediate family needs” as the reason for her departure.

During her tenure as the Partnership’s executive director, Byrd has been a fierce advocate for swinging doors open to youngsters in their formative years. And because of that advocacy, hundreds of Sampson’s children have been placed in daycare environments where learning was at a premium and Pre-K classroom filled with little ones learning to read, write and begin to critically think, all prerequisites for a successful experience once they enter kindergarten.

Channeling the Dolly Parton Imagination Library through the Partnership has helped promote a program that provides a free book each month to children birth to age 5, no matter their income level, and given hundreds, if not thousands, an opportunity at books they, otherwise, may never have had in their homes.

Then there is the Parents as Teachers program. Under Byrd’s watchful eye, Parents as Teachers has become a very successful avenue for parents to expand their roles in their children’s educational lives at the earliest of ages. Just as it is touted, Parents as Teachers, with Byrd’s advocacy, has helped grow strong family units with healthy children who are ready to learn.

During her tenure, there have been numerous successful programs offered at the Partnership. From car seat training to seats at no cost or very low costs, parents have been offered avenues to make life better – and safer – for their children. Books abound in the Partnership’s library, along with reading nooks and educational games, all available to youngsters who frequent the Partnership.