family success alliance logo and web address

May 2019 Newsletter

Table of Contents

  • Partner Spotlight
  • Community Events
  • Education
Ready for K

Ready for K camp

In its forth year, FSA’s Ready for K summer Camp has served more than 250 students and has deepened partnerships to expand programming and evaluate the intervention. Key partners included the two school districts, Orange County Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (who hosted the summer camps), the county parks and recreation department, a local arts center (who provide STEAM-focused afternoon enrichment), and University of North Carolina’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (who assist with quality improvement efforts). The 2-year partnership with UNC has enabled a rigorous evaluation of the summer program that included pre-/post-assessments of students, teacher surveys, classroom observations, and tracking of a comparison cohort throughout the school year.

UNC’s evaluation demonstrated that math, literacy, and classroom skills significantly improved for the children who entered kindergarten, first grade, and second grade this fall. Language skills also improved for rising kindergartners. The evaluation highlights the positive effect on attention and basic literacy skills for all children in English, as well as on language and literacy skills in Spanish. Children who made the largest gains entered the program with lowest skill levels, suggesting it is most successful for the students who need it most. UNC also found that these gains were not lost during the ensuing school year. Of practical significance for students and schools, the proportion of students at or above state benchmarks for their grade roughly doubled from the beginning to the end of the summer camp. 

Apply here:


happy birthday
Career Explorer

EmPOWERment's Career Explorers


Aplications due May 8, 2019
Apply here.

The Career Explorers program began in 2003 when EmPOWERment, Inc. identified that one of the problems hindering minority and low to moderate income youth is the lack of employment opportunities after high school. In a county-wide youth summit the same year, young people vocalized concern about the lack of jobs.

EmPOWERment, Inc. approached local business owners with the idea of hiring youth with little to no experience and working with them as interns throughout the summer.
Community business partners agreed to create paid intern positions and provide the program participants with valuable work experience while increasing the local job pool and impacting the life of a local teenager.

In the first year of the program, EmPOWERment, Inc. was able to pair five interns with community partners. With each ensuing year, the program has grown and developed. As of the summer of 2017, the Career Explorers program has created over 130 jobs for youth in the community.

community events

Join us for a Fishing Rodeo!

When: Saturday May 11th
Where: Blackwood Farm Park, 4215 NC 86 S, Hillsborough, NC

Site opens at 8:30 am. Registration begins at 9:00am. Fishing begins at 9:30am. 
FREE Lunch at 11:00am

Fishing Rodeo

Safe Kids Day


When: May 11, 2019
10:00 am till 12:00pm

Where:Orange County Sportzplex
101 Meadowlands Dr, Hillsborough, NC 27278

Safe Kids Day


"Free Workshop: "Looking Forward:  Mapping as a Tool for Getting Unstuck!"

When: Saturday, May 18th, 10:30a-1:30pm
Where: Chapel Hill Public Library, 100 Library Dr., Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Please join us on May 18th and learn effective skills to successfully engage young adults with mental health conditions and teach them how to develop strategies to achieve life dreams and goals!

Who should attend?  Parents, young adults with mental health conditions, family members, peers, professionals with a desire to learn the process, advocates and anyone interested in helping struggling young adults achieve success in adulthood.

Facilitated by Ariel Wolf and Damie Jackson-Diop.

Certificates of Completion offered.

Light lunch provided.

REGISTRATION CLOSES MAY 15th or when maximum participation of 50 is achieved.

Register here.

A Day Of Remembrance


When: May 18th, 2019 at 3pm
Where: At Margaret Lane Cemetary

A day of remembrance
A day of remembrance

Orange County Partnership for Young Children
25th Anniversary Birthday Party, A fun learning experience

When: Saturday, May 18, 2019 (Rain or Shine)
1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. (visit anytime)
Where: Chapel Hill Community Center,
120 South Estes Dr,
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
A FREE event for families with children ages birth to 5
Games, arts & crafts, sports, gardening, snacks, active free play, and more…
Children must be with an adult.
For more information, visit our website., call or email
Jen Buxton, 919-967-9091,


Family Success Alliance: Looking Inward and Outward to Advance Racial Equity


When: May 21, 2019
6:30-8:00 pm

                                                    Where:  Chapel Hill Public Library
                                                       100 Library Dr, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Orange County has one of the highest rates of income inequality in the state, and deep pockets of poverty are masked by the general affluence of the county. In response, the County Commissioners and Board of Health tasked the Health Department with spearheading a community-wide effort, the Family Success Alliance, in 2014.  At FSA, our vision is to break the cycle of poverty so that children and families in Orange County thrive in school, jobs, and life. In this conversation, we will share key strategies we use to achieve this vision as well as challenges we wrestle with as a collaborative in advancing racial equity. We will engage participants to help us uncover best practices for walking the walk in racial equity work. 

Presenter:  LaKaya Craig, FSA Navigator, Antonia Cortes Sanchez, FSA Navigator, LaKiera Grimes, Self- Sufficiency Programs Director Compass Center & FSA partners and backbone staff.


Strowd Roses

Strowd Roses


Spring has sprung and we, the Strowd Roses board of directors, are excited to share a few updates. Upon Eileen Ferrell's departure, we explored different staffing options before making our decision to hire a part-time program officer. We are thrilled to announce the hiring of Caroline Pence as the foundation's professional staff member and ambassador.
Caroline brings a strong and unique skill set to Strowd Roses, including nonprofit management experience, local volunteer and community involvement, and a background in social work. She most recently served as executive director of Postpartum Education and Support, a Raleigh-based nonprofit, where she managed programs for mothers experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety, worked collaboratively with healthcare providers to address gaps in maternal mental health care, and served as leader of administrative and financial operations. Caroline has served in volunteer leadership roles in several local nonprofit organizations, including as board chair of Family Violence Prevention Center (now Compass Center for Women and Families). She is a graduate of Wellesley College and holds a master of social work degree from Smith College.  
As program officer, Caroline will manage the grantmaking process as well as oversee the care of the Gene Strowd Community Rose Garden. For this year and to allow for time to onboard a new staff member, we will have two grant cycles, with the board of directors reviewing grant applications in June (application deadline April 30th) and November (application deadline September 30th). 
Last year, Strowd Roses was proud to have distributed more than $200,000 in charitable funding to 46 local nonprofits and the Public School Foundation. We look forward to receiving this year's grant applications and continuing to support the innovative programs and essential services of our area nonprofit organizations. Please help us spread the word about our upcoming grant application deadlines. We encourage 501(c)(3) nonprofits serving the diverse needs of the Chapel Hill and Carrboro community to consider applying for support from Strowd Roses. Our grant guidelines and procedures can be found on our website at
As always, we invite you to visit the Gene Strowd Community Rose Garden, located at the Chapel Hill Community Center. Above: Photo of an early bloom, taken by one of our board members. 

cycle the riverwalk

Cycle the Riverwalk!

Want to cycle the Riverwalk in Hillsborough? On Wednesday, May 15th from 11am-1pm come by the entrance below Weaver Street Market for free bike checks and a guided tour.

Volunteers Needed for Community Health Assessment

Every four years Healthy Carolinians of Orange County completes a community health assessment in which the top health priorities for Orange County are determined. Volunteers are needed in May and June to go door to door to ask community members to fill out an anonymous survey.
To sign up to volunteer:

volunteers needed for community health assessment

Immigrant/Refugee Health Coalition Quarterly Meeting

Meetings focus on racial equity work, immigrant/refugee justice, and achieving the vision of a safe and healthy world for each every one of us.

TOPIC: Rumors, Reality and Resources: Supporting Clients and their Families in the era of ICE. 

When: May 23 from 8:15-11:15 am

Where: Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Rd. Chapel Hill Rooms A/B

For Teens: Coping after Mass Violence

Mass violence incidents, where several people are injured and killed, affect everyone in the community. Coping with mass violence can be very stressful. You or your friends might have been physically injured; you may have been worried about the safety of family and friends, or lost a loved one. You may have been interviewed by the police. It can be difficult to figure out where to begin when trying to understand what happened. Over time, most people begin to feel better and return to normal routines, but knowing about the impact of mass violence can help you take care of yourself and others. Learn more here with information for teens about common reactions to mass violence, as well as tips for taking care of themselves and connecting with others.

Upcoming events hosted by Compass Center

Compass Center
Compass Center


Book Review by Susie Wilde

Another, written and illustrated by Christian Robinson (Atheneum, ages 3-7)
This wordless book features a smiling young heroine so energetic and cheery you can almost hear the click of the many beads in her braids. The story begins when her red-collared cat wakes and notices a white oval that’s appears in the wall of her bedroom. In that oval is another black cat with a blue collar.  What can the girl’s cat do, but follow? And what can the girl do when she sees her cat headed through the mysterious oval? She must follow as well. So begins her adventures in a upside-down, topsy-turvy world that is puzzling and surprising and lots of fun!

  • Do you think the little girl is dreaming or not?
  • What part of her adventure do you think is the most fun? Why?
  • If a mysterious hole opened in your bedroom where would you hope it would go?

Choosing Child Care
Meet the Staff
Events at the Library

Make the most of the Orange County Public Library’s SEA (Student Easy Access account)

Orange County Schools
If your child is in the Orange County Schools district but does not have a SEA account, please contact your school’s media center specialist and they will help your child get an account set up. Once they have a SEA account, you and your child can come to any Orange County Public Library location and check out books, movies and more. And your child can access any of the library’s digital resources from home. 

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
If your child is in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools district they already have a SEA account. This means you and your child can come to any Orange County Public Library location and check out books, movies and more. And your child can access any of the library’s digital resources from home. 

Find out everything you need to know about SEA accounts here

Hora de Espanol

Reading Opportunities at the Library

Hora de Espanol
Main Library, Second Tuesdays @ 4:30 p.m.
Join ISLA (Immersion for Spanish Language Acq uisition) for 45 minutes of stories, games, songs and great fun! Native and non-native Spanish speakers are welcome. Best for children ages 3-7 and their families.
Vengan para 45 minutos de cuentos, canciones, y juegos en espanol para ninos y sus familias. Ideal para ninos de 3-7 anos.

More Reading Opportunities in January:



racial equity commission logo

Our Vision:

Break the cycle of poverty so that ALL children and families in Orange County thrive in school, jobs, and life. 

Our Mission:

Through collaboration on shared goals, connect families in poverty to resources and uncover their power in driving equity and systems change.

Want to know more? 
Read the FSA Strategic Plan

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family success alliance logo

Family Success Alliance

300 W. Tryon St., Hillsborough, NC 27278

FSA backbone staff work at the Orange County Health Department.

Director of Programs and Policy: Coby Jansen Austin
(919) 245-2070 or

Program Director: Meredith McMonigle 
(919) 245-2071 or

Manager of Family Engagement: Dana Crews 
(919) 245-2458 or

Zone 4 Navigators
Angela Clapp - (919) 695-2158 or
Antonia Cortes Sanchez - (919) 695-5982 or
Claudia Yerena - (984) 209-3864
Rhonda Morales -  (919) 698-3925 or

Zone 6 Navigators
Erika Cervantes - (984) 209-3723 or
LaKaya Craig - (919) 695-2271 or
Mariela Hernandez - (919) 695-6969 or
Ling Oy - (919) 257-9960 or
Jena Dolby -  (919) 698-9152 or

Community Outreach Specialist: Dominika Gazdzinska
(919) 245-2468 or

Communications Manager: Kristin Prelipp
(919) 245-24662 or

Communications Specialist: Zannie Gunn
(919) 245-2410 or

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