By Stephanie Skordas, Director of Marketing & Communications
Guilford Child Development is a nonprofit organization that provides educational and social services to help young children and families reach their full potential and achieve future success.
“Guilford Child Development is one of the best kept secrets,” says CEO Maria Layne-Stevens. “We have our own little ecosystem in a sense, where we’re focusing on children prenatally, and pregnant moms, and we have ability to support our families from conception through children entering kindergarten. Founded in 1967, Guilford Child Development (GCD) provides services to more than 6,000 children and families a year. The organization’s six programs are Head Start/Early Start, Regional Childcare Resources & Referral, Catering for Kids, Nurse-Family Partnership, Learning Together Family Literacy Program and the Family Success Center.
The organization’s efforts to empower families also come with making parents and caregivers aware of their role and responsibility to ensure that the program is being implemented with fidelity. In the Head Start Policy Council for example, families play a pivotal role in being advocates for themselves and their families, but also in providing input into the program’s design and management, ultimately contributing to the success of the program.
The organization creates opportunities to encourage parents and caregivers to foster their own development, build their advocacy skills, and continue their education while supporting their children’s development and learning.
With more than 350 employees, Guilford Child Development is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in Guilford County.
“Engaging parents in training designed to promote personal development and build soft skills improves their readiness for gainful employment, empowering parents to move their family out of poverty. This is a critical, life-changing element of the services we provide,” Layne-Stevens says. “We’ve been fortunate to partner with incredible local organizations to carry out our mission in helping children and families reach their full potential.”
Layne-Stevens points to the commitment the organization made to address early childhood teacher compensation. “We made a commitment to our teachers to address teacher pay, a significant challenge in the early childhood services industry. We got creative, cut costs, and addressed teacher compensation. While this is one step forward in our journey, we are demonstrating to our staff and the community the importance of early childhood education and our teachers who are making such a difference in the lives of young children.”
Guilford Child Development was one of Ready Ready’s first partners, heavily involved in the 100-day challenges that helped coalesce the community effort into the growing nonprofit organization we are today.