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All grown up: North Carolina Smart Start holds 25-year event

(AP) — North Carolina’s groundbreaking Smart Start program, which helps prepare children for kindergarten, is all grown up now.

The North Carolina Partnership for Children — the parent organization for dozens of local nonprofit Smart Start groups — held a 25th anniversary Smart Start gala on Saturday night in Raleigh. Singer Dolly Parton and Gov. Roy Cooper were among the special guests.

Then-Gov. Jim Hunt championed the program when it began in 1993. The public-private partnership provides health screenings, parent training and high-quality child care to families so their children are ready for school.

Smart Start’s partnerships promote Parton’s “Imagination Library,” which mails books to the homes of young people. The state legislature allocated money to help administer Parton’s program.

The gala was rescheduled from September because of Hurricane Florence.

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