Stokes Partnership for Children recently recognized Perry Carroll for his 15 years of service.
Carroll began working with the organization, led by local volunteers, designed to provide programs and services for families and children in Stokes, in 2002 and acted as board chair for 12 years.
Before retiring from Stokes County Schools in 1999, Carroll served as a local principal and spent 11 years at Nancy Reynolds along with stints at Walnut Cove Elementary, Mount Olive Elementary, London Elementary, Lawsonville Elementary and Germanton Elementary.
“Being an educator all my life, it was a continuation of trying to give children the best opportunity to be successful when they go to school,” he said.
In the past 15 years, Carroll has helped spread the word about the importance of Stokes Partnership for Children and the vital role it plays in the community.
“They once had a staff of around 15 and now, due to budget cuts, I believe there’s five people doing the same amount of work. Cindy (Tuttle) and the staff continue to go above and beyond to provide for families in the county. I hope parents of these young children appreciate all they do.”
Carroll is passionate about providing the best opportunities, education and enhancements to children from birth to five years old, making sure they’re prepared to enter kindergarten.
“There’s an education gap. You hear a lot of talk about it in Raleigh. You want children caught up by third grade, but that’s not always the case. We’ve had children come to kindergarten who can read and know their colors. Then, you have some who aren’t even potty trained and have never been out of Stokes County. You can’t catch up quickly. It happens eventually, but it takes time,” he said.
Stokes Partnership for Children helps aid teachers and parents with programs geared towards developmental success.
Carroll said an exciting program the county provides is the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
“This helps tackle the literacy issue. Our fundraising over the last few years has allowed us to sign up around 700 kids from birth to five-years-old,” he said.
Once children are enrolled in the program, books are mailed to their home each month. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library encourages reading along with parent and child interaction ultimately helping children enter kindergarten with established pre-literacy skills critical to later reading success.
“Sometimes we forget that there are many children in our county who don’t have access to any type of resources or books. The first day of school, compare that child to someone who has a shelf-full of books and parents who are interacting with them. There’s a big difference and it shows up in the classroom. In order to close the gap, we’ve got to begin early with children.”
At 70 years-old, Carroll said he’s enjoyed his time with Stokes Partnership for Children, but is stepping down to allow someone else the opportunity to be involved with the organization.
“You hope you made a positive impact, whether it’s through this or the school system. I really believe there’s no one more important to fight for than children. They deserve a quality education and as many opportunities as we can provide.”
Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.