Spartanburg city leaders discuss major initiative to help kids in the community thrive

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty, help Spartanburg City families prosper and make the local economy even stronger. It’s a tri-fold approach city leaders believe will be a valuable use of some of their American Rescue Plan funds.

Good parks, exceptional schools and nice weather. Jordan Fritz told 7 News, those are three leading forces that brought his family to the City of Spartanburg.

“Moved here two months ago, love it so far,” said Spartanburg Dad, Jordan Fritz.

It all adds up to what families in the area call, an overall feeling of inclusion for growing families and their kids.

Spartanburg City leaders are working to strengthen that even more by using $1.5 million of the American Rescue Plan Funds they were allocated, for a mission years in the making.

“The question becomes, what can communities do to support parents in the early years so that children reach the schoolhouse door thriving,” said Spartanburg City Manager, Chris Story.

Spartanburg City Manager, Chris Story told us it’s part of what they’re calling, the ‘Hello Family Early Childhood Initiative’ or a plan to support all families in the city. Story told us research shows having access to community resources during early childhood development, can help a community thrive.

Bryan Boroughs is a force behind that research with the Institute for Child Success.

“Right now, young families are struggling more than they have been. COVID has been a financial strain, a health strain, it has been a logistic nightmare,” said Bryan Boroughs with the Institute for Child Success.

He has been working alongside city leadership like Story to iron out how this all can be done. That includes community doula programs for young moms, universal nurse home visits to every mom who gives birth in the City of Spartanburg, along with parenting support and education.

“The research on these programs show the impacts like reduced stays in the NICU, reduced cases of abuse and neglect, improved birth weight, improved kindergarten readiness scores. The impacts are pretty broad and pretty impressive,” Boroughs said.

A plan to help children thrive, that’s something all Spartanburg City Council members are getting behind. Same goes for Spartanburg parents and grandparents.

“I think that’s great. The more options, the better,” said Spartanburg Grandma, Michelle Gunn.

It’s all part of an investment, Story told us, they will see a long-lasting return on.

“We think it’s important to use our limited resources in ways that pay dividends for a long, long time. Data shows this set of supports for families, will pay dividends for the child’s entire life,” said Story.

Story told us, they’re hoping to officially roll all of this out come January.

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