What a wonderful evening of delicious food and beer and great company and conversation! This was an amazing night for supporting the children and families of Buncombe County. Verner Center for Early Learning relies on the support of the community to continue to do its work.
The evening began at Yesterday Space's in the renovated dairy barn where delicious hors-de'oeuvres and summery drinks were served. Guests were able to mingle with Verner staff and faculty that were in attendance. When dinner was about ready to be served, guests were able to take a tractor ride up the hill to where a long table was set between the trees. Marcia Whitney, Verner's president and CEO, shared words of thanks to those in attendance and to the generous partners that put the event together. As the first beer pairing was being served, chef John Fleer of Rhubarb explained how he started this dinner and why he chose for it to benefit Verner for another year. Each course was served family style and paired with a Catawba beer. The decadent dishes were thoughtfully crafted with local ingredients from Gaining Ground Farm. Many guests raved about the strawberry rhubarb pie that was served for dessert. As the sun set, the guests with their full bellies were greeted by fireflies.
The event brought together these amazing collaborative partners:
Chef John Fleer of Rhubarb
Gaining Ground Farm
Thank you to all the teams that farmed, planned, cooked, poured, and served!
Please feel free to download and share photos from the album on the Verner Facebook page. Help us spread the word about Verner by liking, commenting on, and sharing the album and photos.
We look forward to seeing you at next year's Gaining Ground Farm Dinner and other Verner events. Thank you!
Verner is a nonprofit agency providing high quality, affordable early care and education to over 300 children – birth to five years old – throughout Buncombe County, North Carolina every year. Verner also has an extended impact on families and the community through the countless programs offered and the economic impact of the education we provide.
Reports from the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs (and other sources, too), show that for every $1 invested in prenatal and early childhood development yields a $7 return into society. We invest in educational and developmental resources for all families to provide equal access to successful early development. Focusing on this development allows children to develop cognitive and social skills early on – in the first 2,000 days – when it matters most.
Focused early development allows children’s brains to function and participate in effective education and learning through adulthood. When children and adults are more capable or learning, society gains more capable, productive and in-demand citizens that make positive contributions, passed down for generations to come.
In the recent years, the studies showing the importance of development in the first 2,000 days of life have become abundant. We now know further about why the human brain develops more rapidly between birth and age five than during any other subsequent period.
The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families compiled the following research about the neuroscience of brain development unfolding: “(1) the way a brain develops hinges on the complex interplay between the genes a person is born with and the experiences a person has from birth on; (2) it actually takes up to 12 years for the brain to become fully organized, with parts of the cortex still to become organized through the later teen years; (3) the quality of an infant’s relationship with his or her primary caregivers has a decisive impact on the architecture of the brain, affecting the nature and extent of adult capabilities; and (4) early interactions directly affect the way the brain is “wired,” and do not merely create a context for development.”
We know more about why the first 2,000 days are crucial, but how exactly is Verner making a difference during this time of development? Our nine core values are listed and explained below. These values are present every day in every interaction between Verner the children and families of Buncombe County and the surrounding areas.
• Diversity: we believe that a rich learning environment is created when all types of people join together with a common vision.
• Play: we believe that play ignites curiosity, enables us to become better explorers and problem solvers, builds stronger relationships, and leads to transformation.
• Respect: we believe that each person has the right to be treated with dignity, always.
• Community: we believe that by providing a safe, welcoming environment, all who enter here feel they have a place where their time, knowledge, experiences, and needs are valued.
• Communication: we believe that trustworthy partnerships are only built through authentic and consistent communication.
• Excellence: we believe it is the product of an unyielding passion for our mission combined with intentional professional development, hard work, diligence, and consistency which can be emulated by others.
• Collaboration: we believe that through strong partnerships we build trust, increase effectiveness and resources, and are more impactful in our work.
• Integrity: we believe in an uncompromising commitment to a high code of honor supported by strong ethical principles.
• Caring: we believe that expressing genuine concern about the needs and feelings of others is a key component of a strong community.
Want more specifics about Verner, our programs, curriculum, nutrition program, locations or anything else? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Mountain Xpress
"Over the protests of Republicans, who expressed concern that the allotment would place too large a burden on taxpayers, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved a multimillion dollar investment in early childhood education on Oct. 30.
Starting in fiscal year 2020, the county will annually budget $3.6 million for investments in early education. The baseline $3.6-million appropriation will increase 2 percent per year. The money will be allocated to community organizations by the Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Joe Belcher said every board member has a soft spot for early childhood education. “I’m just not in support of earmarking 1 percent in a future budget when you look at … all the other needs,” he said. “There’s just so many.”
In a 6-1 split, with Commissioner Mike Fryar casting the dissenting vote, Belcher and Commissioner Robert Pressley reluctantly voted to approve the funding.
“There’s nobody going to support early childcare as much as me,” Pressley said. Having cared for his grandkids, Pressley said he’s noticed the disparity between kids who have access to childcare at an early age and those who don’t. “My granddaughter started school, and she is so far ahead of the first-graders she’s with,” he said. “And what that comes down to is, if these kids had early childcare, she would not be so far ahead. She’d be right there with them.”
Although he said he’s a major proponent of early childhood education, Pressley said it would have been ideal for the board to reach a compromise to lessen the impact on the county budget. “This is going to be a big burden on the taxpayer,” he said.
Belcher suggested that commissioners reduce the allotment to $1 million while retaining the 2 percent annual funding increase. “If you will do that, then tonight we can lock arms in a 7-0 vote with a $1 million investment, which has never been done in Buncombe County,” he said, “and maybe we’ll end up increasing it substantially. But it gives us an opportunity to start.”
Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara said she could not support that change. “Frankly, $3.6 million is not enough,” she said. “But $3.6 million is enough to move the needle in significant and systemic ways.”
Taking into account a $200,000 funding appropriation approved for the Children and Friends Enrichment Center earlier in the meeting ($79,000 of which will be paid for using savings on other projects), Buncombe County’s FY 2019 investment in early childhood education is about $950,000.
Hypothetically, Beach-Ferrara said, a $3.6 million addition to the budget would represent an approximately $25 increase on the tax bill of the average taxpayer in Buncombe County. “The answer is not nickel-and-diming it, the answer is not investments only when there’s a crisis,” she said. “The answer is significant, permanent investments.”
The funding for childhood education in the FY 2019 budget is just a Band-Aid, said Commissioner Ellen Frost. “Our kids deserve more than a Band-Aid,” she said. “So as much as I enjoy our votes of togetherness and locking arms, I can’t accept that, because to me it doesn’t show what we hold in our kids.”
During public comment before the commissioners’ discussion, several leaders of local organizations expressed support for the resolution.
Jim Barrett, the executive director of Pisgah Legal Services, said his organization has missed out on employees it was trying to hire from other counties because the prospective workers could not find childcare.
Without reliable access to childcare, Barrett said, parents have difficulty dividing their time between work and home. It’s also an economic development issue in that it can keep parents from going back to school or advancing their careers, he said.
Local officials, he said, have put in a lot of effort to narrow the achievement gap between children from low-income households and those who come from more affluent families. “One of the things we’ve got to try now is early childhood education,” he said. “The science is behind that; it will make a difference; it’s a great investment.”
Referencing concern over a potential $5.4 million shortfall in the FY 2020 budget and revelations that the county has used money set aside for A-B Tech capital projects to balance its budget, Fryar questioned the size of the proposed investment in early childhood education. “We’re looking at $3.6 million that we don’t have,” he said. “So do you think that me, I’m going to ask the taxpayer for a penny in taxes to do this?” (During the planning period for the FY 2019 budget, former County Manager Mandy Stone said a one-penny adjustment in the property tax rate equals roughly $3.7 million in county revenue.)
Fryar said he would support some funding for early childhood education and expressed support for Belcher’s $1-million alternative, but said $3.6 million was too much. “I want to support the children,” he said, “but I want the families to support them first.”
Drawing from numbers provided by NC Child, a group that compiles data on the well-being of children across the state, 46 percent of children in Buncombe County lived in poverty or in low-income families in 2016. In 2015, about 22 percent lived in food-insecure households. Supporters of the funding believe robust early childhood education programs could help offset the negative impact of economic disadvantages.
“If we are going to move this process forward,” said Board Chair Brownie Newman, “the investment has to be a significant enough increase that we really are able to scale some things up to make a real difference.”
Even a $3.6-million investment falls short of ideal, Newman said, but he’s hopeful that the county’s commitment will spur investment from the private sector. Echoing a hope Belcher had expressed earlier in the meeting, Newman said a potential partner could be the Dogwood Health Trust, the foundation that will be created to receive the proceeds of a sale of nonprofit Mission Health to HCA Healthcare if N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein approves the transaction.
“We always have tough budget choices to make,” Newman said. “But we should make this commitment first, because it does go to the core of what I think our responsibilities are.”
See the original article here.
"Celebrate Verner" was an evening of fun to welcome our new executive director, Marcia Whitney, thank our donors, and celebrate Verner's work in the community. This was a free event held at Celine and Company in downtown Asheville.
Genie Gunn, our Food and Nutrition Manager, has received the top Culinary Creations Award given by Premier Inc., a leading healthcare improvement company, in a nationwide recipe contest.
Gunn was named the winner at the Culinary Creations Dinner during Premier’s annual Foodservice Forum, held in conjunction with its 2018 Breakthroughs Conference and Exhibition, which drew more than 4,000 providers and suppliers to Nashville, Tennessee June 19-21. Her dish "What's Pho Breakfast" had many supporters.
Four contest finalists were determined. These finalists then prepared and served their individual dish to 450 foodservice members and suppliers. The members voted and determined Gunn’s recipe to be the top recipe in the nation.
This year’s theme, Breakfast All Day, challenged foodservice members to create recipes that maximized fresh ingredients, used minimally processed foods and followed healthier guidelines, while incorporating modern sauces, bold flavors and maintaining an appetizing appearance.
“We are proud to recognize Genie Gunn for her culinary expertise. Her recipe was selected as the overall winner in the nationwide culinary creation contest,” said Debby Kasper, RDN, LDN, SNS Director of Clinical Nutrition and Wellness Program Development, Premier. “The Culinary Creations Contest is an opportunity for Premier’s Foodservice members to honor their peers by selecting who they consider to be top chefs in the foodservice industry.”
Premier operates the industry’s largest foodservice purchasing program, offering savings to providers across all 50 states. The program provides aggressive contracts with foodservice manufacturers, industry leading value-added services and educational opportunities.
Twelfth Night Dinner
Rhubarb's at 7 SW Pack Square in Asheville
This was a fantastic evening shared with everyone!
Thank you to John Fleer for his amazing menu!
Thank you to Rhubarb staff for helping to make this a magical night!
Thank you to Catawba Brewing for all of their fabulous beers and amazing staff!
Thank you to all who attended! We sincerely appreciated getting the opportunity to get to know you better! :)
This was a FANTASTIC event that featured a perfect setting at Yesterday Spaces, phenomenal food from Rhubarb, delicious fresh vegetables from Gaining Ground Farm, amazing beer from Catawba Brewing AND great company by all who attended!
70 people came out to make the night magical!
Thank you Catawba Brewing, Gaining Ground Farm, Rhubarb and Yesterday Spaces for providing the perfect combination to make this a really great evening for everyone! :)
ASHEVILLE, NC (May 19, 2017) – Verner was recently awarded a Janirve SUN grant for $5,747 for car seats and harnesses that were desperately needed to maintain compliance for licensing and most importantly to keep the children safe when traveling on the buses or in the vans.
Children will also be able to go on field trips and be exposed to a whole host of exciting learning experiences that they might have otherwise missed.
“Thanks to the Janirve SUN Grant, the new car seats and harnesses will allow our children to go on exciting field trips and experiential adventures for hands on learning opportunities,” commented Chris Tucker, Director of Programs. Tucker continued, “With this grant, we are able to offer this really important piece of our programming, keep our summer camp running AND keep the children safe.”
Verner provides comprehensive, high quality, affordable early care and education to nearly 300 children throughout Buncombe County. They use the buses and vans to transport the children on field trips, to social evenings with their parents, and to help the children who receive services in their homes come to the center for group activities. To learn more about Verner, go to www.vernerearlylearning.org, or call (828) 298-0808.
Funding was provided by a Janirve Sudden and Urgent Needs grant from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. The Community Foundation is a nonprofit serving eighteen counties in Western North Carolina. The Foundation is a permanent regional resource that facilitates more than $14 million in charitable giving annually. CFWNC inspires philanthropy and mobilizes resources to enrich lives and communities in Western North Carolina. More information can be found at www.cfwnc.org.
Published 2:15 p.m. ET April 24, 2017 |
ASHEVILLE - Verner Center for Early Learning hosted a public event Thursday at the Diana Wortham Theatre. The lecture focused on the value and impact of early childhood education, titled, From Seed to Oak: The First 5 Years Change EVERYTHING!
Beginning with the lovely reception that had great food from Corner Kitchen Catering, Rhubarb, French Broad Chocolate, wine from Biltmore Wines and beer from New Belgium, all of the attendees had a great time, chatting with one another and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere.
This was followed by great speakers, including an introduction by Charlie Owen, and a video message from Governor Roy Cooper. The Keynote Speaker, Dr. Kathleen Gallagher was absolutely engaging and informative, spending nearly 45 minutes revealing to the audience how early childhood education impacts not only the child, but the family members, their neighbors, the community and ultimately, society.
One of her biggest points was that low-income children hear about 30,000,000 (yes, that's MILLION) fewer words in their first 5 years than their peers of greater economic means.
While Dr. Gallagher spoke mainly on a national level, there was a panel of five local experts int he field of early care and education to discuss the issues in North Carolina, and specifically, Western North Carolina.
Sheila Hoyle, Greg Borom, Amy Barry, Philip Belcher, and Jennie Eblen all spoke to the issues related to limited funding in this area, a shortage of high quality teachers in the area, and the low pay rate that is keeping schools from having an early care and education curriculum, as well as limiting people's ability to remain in this profession. All of this is impacting parents who want to return to work or school, since there are not enough slots available for children to receive early care and education. This is thus, impacting our economy in a serious way.
Gallagher was a long time professor at UNC Chapel Hill and is currently the Endowed Chair of Early Childhood Education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She has conducted early childhood education research for more than 30 years.
“We hope this educational forum will increase public understanding of the critical importance of the first 2000 days of a child’s life while outlining some of the challenges and possible solutions regarding quality, access and availability of early care and education in WNC,” said Verner Executive Director Jacque Penick in a statement. “The quality of early experiences a program provides can enrich the life of any young child, but for children living in poverty, it can be transformational, and we have reached a critical tipping point in Buncombe County.”
Verner Center for Early Learning is a early childhood education program serving nearly 300 children birth through 5 years in Buncombe County. It focuses on evidence-informed, innovative practices, highly trained teachers, and engagement of families and community. Visit www.vernerearlylearning.org.
CHICAGO -- Kids who were overweight in kindergarten were more than five times as likely to be obese by the time they entered eighth grade as classmates of normal weight, according to a new analysis of data from a large nationally representative longitudinal study.
The Early Child Longitudinal Study showed that 31.8% of kindergartners who were overweight were obese at age 14 versus 7.9% of kids who were normal weight in kindergarten, Solveig Cunningham, PhD, of Emory University reported at the American Diabetes Association meeting here.
"Overweight kindergarteners account for 45% of obesity incidence between kindergarten and eighth grade," she said. "After adjustment, they are at 5.3 times the risk of being obese at age 14 as normal-weight kindergarteners."
"Kids who were born large -- over 4,000 grams (8.8 lbs) -- are at really high risk of becoming obese if they are overweight at age 5," Cunningham added.
Specifically, those high birthweight babies who were overweight in kindergarten had a 41.2% chance of being obese in the eighth grade. In contrast, high birthweight babies who were normal weight in kindergarten had only an 8.1% chance of becoming obese by age 14.