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Ada Area Success by 6 has a new name - Ada Area Smart Start. It will continue to be the same program but will be expanded into Garvin, Johnston and Murray Counties.

Smart Start is Oklahoma's statewide early childhood initiative. Through a shared commitment, active collaboration and innovative leadership, Smart Start seeks to provide better opportunities for the state's children and families.

Its vision is that all Oklahoma children will be safe, healthy, eager to learn and ready to succeed by the time they enter school. The initiative focuses on four goals: parenting, health care, quality child care and school readiness for children from birth to age 6.

Locally, the program has been an initiative of Ada Regional United Way (ARUW). It now is a program of the Center of Continuing Education and Community Services at East Central University.

"Because of the required expansion of the initiative into additional counties, the ARUW Board made the decision to no longer act as the fiscal agent of the grant. The boundaries have outgrown our service area and it is now beyond our mission," said Latricia Bryant, ARUW executive director. "It is our goal to continue to be involved with Ada Area Smart Start and to help ensure its success in our community."

In addition to creating community awareness around early childhood issues, some of the projects Success by 6/Smart Start has brought to Ada include the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Raising A Reader (children's book program), Car Seat Safety Event, Walk this Way/Play this Way, Child Care Quality Improvement Grants, and Parent Education Resource Center at the Ada Public Library.

"We want the community to know that Success by 6 is not going away - just changing names and office location," said Cheryl Bell, ECU representative.

The Ada Area Smart Start Advisory Council includes approximately 40 members from the community. The Executive Committee consists of Cheryl Bell, Latricia Bryant, Michelle Key (Chickasaw Nation), Charlee Lanis, (ECU) and Sandra Poe (Ada City Schools). A community coordinator will be hired soon to lead the initiative.

For more information, contact Cheryl Bell at 559-5303 or any member of the Executive Committee.

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