Susan Nixon, director of the Chowan-Perquimans Smart Start program, has enjoyed her job for 20 years. On Monday, Feb. 25, she enjoyed it even more as she ate barbecue with Edenton Lions and thanked them for past contributions of time and treasure.

A 1989 graduate of Campbell University, Nixon, who has a business administration degree, says her program enables children from birth through age 5 to be successful in school.

The icing on this cake is the “Positive Learning Program” designed for parents. Many parents mean well, but they don’t know what they don’t know. What might save this opportunity? One way to increase readiness is through exposure of children to books. Lots of books! Free books. When children are excited and encouraged to read and write at an early age, questions erupt day and night!

A special week is the event known as the Young Child Children’s Festival. Held annually in Perquimans County, it is for children and their parents plus those from Chowan County. It is held in the recreation center in Hertford, which is on waterfront property. This facilitates teaching safety about the role of water in our lives at different ages. Ample parking eliminates any excuse for not attending with your child.

Edenton Lions test young vision for problems such as “lazy eye.” Painless and accurate readings using the Spot Vision Screener point out the medical corrections needed. Referrals to professional caregivers follow.

Nixon also noted that car seats are essential to her program. Infant seats may begin at $80. convertible seats (face front of back) may cost nearly $200. Each has an expiration date of eight years from date of manufacture. She made a blockbuster observation — no where in Edenton or Chowan County can one buy a car seat.

Closest retailers are mass merchandisers 35-40 miles away.

Smart Start have made real progress in the past eight years. It has more to do. Edenton Lions welcome all wishing to help Smart Start Susan as we do.

John Mitchener is past president of Edenton Lions, 2010-11.