Ready Region Southeastern is comprised of the counties of Accomack, Isle of Wight, Northampton, and Southampton as well as the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach.
This diverse and dynamic region is home to nearly 100,000 young children and represents a demographic, geographic, and socioeconomic diversity that’s a microcosm of the Commonwealth. Moreover, the region is home to countless organizations, coalitions, caregivers, and advocates who bring excellence and innovation to our early childhood system.
Everyone in Southeastern Virginia who is dedicated to helping young children and their families thrive should consider themselves part of Ready Region Southeastern. Day-to-day implementation will be driven by the organizations that represented the above-named counties and cities in the legacy Smart Beginnings network: EVMS Minus 9 to 5, Smart Beginnings Eastern Shore and Smart Beginnings Western Tidewater.
With the launch of Ready Regions, these three organizations will continue to operate as independent organizations to engage their many local partners, while also together collaborating to serve the whole of Southeastern Virginia.
EVMS Minus 9 to 5 has been selected as the hub of Ready Region Southeastern, and as such will oversee and administer the Unified Virginia Quality Birth to Five System (VQB5) and Mixed Delivery Program (MDP) grants and also serve as the main convenor of councils and committees related to these grants and programs in the region.
While each of the three implementing organizations will continue to operate under their current visions and missions, they will align their teams and activities under a shared framework.
Our PURPOSE is to strengthen Southeastern Virginia by fostering equity and opportunity for young children, their families, and all who are dedicated to helping them thrive.
The individual and collective work of the three organizations will focus on five pillars:
We put the hopes, needs, and voices of families at the center of everything that we do. We are building out a family engagement platform via a dedicated Family Engagement specialist and regional and local family councils. We also offer community-wide events and education, including the KIDS COUNT Forum on the Eastern Shore and promoting The Basics.
It’s never too early to support a healthy start. We support the earliest months and years of children's lives in many ways, including via distributing Go & Grow Starter Packs on the Eastern Shore, educating families about infant safe sleep efforts, offering parent workshops in Western Tidewater, and promoting resources and screening tools.
Supporting educators, classrooms, and centers in their pursuit of quality is crucial. We are excited to be able to bring the Unified Virginia Quality Birth to Five System (VQB5) to all publicly-funded birth-five classrooms in our region. In addition, we have built a shared-services model to help child-care providers work together and strengthen their businesses.
When providers who care for, nurture, and educate our children are connected to each other and to resources, our whole region is stronger. We promote resources and trainings, and bring organizations together via Community Connections, the Western Tidewater Early Childhood Collaborative, and the KIDS COUNT Forum on the Eastern Shore.
Policymakers and businesses play critical roles in creating the conditions for young children and their families to thrive. We engage these important stakeholders by building public will, promoting a family-friendly business toolkit, advocating for key policies, and curating and sharing key data points about early childhood in our region.
If you are already engaging with one of the three organizations that are implementing Ready Region Southeastern, we thank you and hope you will continue to help us strengthen Southeastern Virginia by fostering equity and opportunity for young children, their families, and all who are dedicated to helping them thrive.
Each of the three Ready Region Southeastern implementing organizations is committed to working closely with partners on the ground in their respective communities – while at the same time bringing a regional perspective to the work and connecting dots, people, and resources across Southeastern Virginia.
If you are newly interested in partnering with Ready Region Southeastern, please contact EVMS Minus 9 to 5 (Region-wide; Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach); Smart Beginnings Eastern Shore (Accomack, Northampton); or Smart Beginnings Western Tidewater (Franklin, Southampton, Isle of Wight) and they can help you identify ways to get involved. As you can see, there are opportunities for you to contribute your time, treasure, and talents in each of the five pillars.