Breakfast for Children's Champions

Breakfast for Children’s Champions

Each year, Smart Start of New Hanover County celebrates and recognizes members of our community who provide exceptional service to young children and/or their families in New Hanover County during children’s first 2000 days of life, from birth to age five.


2024 Nominees

Honorees included Victoria Carrai, Bobbi Fitzsimmons, Edna Lancaster, Janice Padron, J’Vanete Becton Skiba. Steve McCrossan, and Allison Wine. All are individuals who have provided exceptional service to young children ages 0-5 and/or their families in New Hanover County.


Nominate a Children’s Champion!

Children’s Champion Nominations are open from November through early January. Please check back for more information.


2024 Children’s Champion Winners

At the Smart Start Breakfast for Children’s Champions, Allison Wine was named as the 2024 Children’s Champion.  Steve McCrossan received the Starfish Public Advocacy Award.

Other honorees are Victoria Carrai, Bobbi Fitzsimmons, Edna Lancaster, Janice Padron, and J’Vanete Becton Skiba. All are individuals who have provided exceptional service to young children ages 0-5 and/or their families in New Hanover County.

2024 Children’s Champion: Allison Wine

Allison’s nominator calls her presence a guiding light in the pre-school classroom. By helping teachers create a supportive and nurturing atmosphere, Alison helps children feel more secure and confident as they navigate their first school experiences.  She empowers both teachers and parents to understand and respond effectively to each child’s unique needs.  Her role has expanded to over 50 pre-k classrooms in 9 schools where she helps lay the foundation for a positive life-long attitude towards learning. The impact of Allison’s work is evident in the increased social competence and emotional resilience of the children she serves.  Her collaborative approach ensures a cohesive and comprehensive support system that permeates the entire educational environment. It is her heart and her dedication that makes Allison our Champion.  Allison has continued to help a few children she met as four-year-olds who are now teenagers.  She has taught them to swim, enrolled them in extracurricular activities, and driven them to basketball practice.  Allison works with families to gain their insight and ensure they have the resources needed at home because we know how important consistency is and how important our investment is in every child and family we serve.

2024 Starfish Public Advocacy Awardee: Steve McCrossan

Dedicated, driven, enthusiastic, change maker- those are words that his nominator used to describe Steve, Executive Director of Nourish NC.  Steve is passionate about ensuring the dignity of clients from greeting them kindly, to respecting privacy, to offering culturally appropriate foods. Steve was especially moved when one parent said “My son thinks he won a prize for being good every time he gets a black grocery bag. I love that it’s done in a way that he has no idea it’s because we are struggling, and he has no shame in getting the bag.”  He knows that for children to show up at school healthy and ready to learn, they need to have not spent the weekend hungry.  Hungry children are sick more often, slower to recover, have lower math and reading scores, and greater rates of tardies and absenteeism.  Steve says “NourishNC is part of an ecosystem which provides children with the services they need to live happy and healthy lives. If our community’s children are to reach higher levels of health, education, and wellness, then we must meet their most basic needs first.” NourishNC addresses children’s nutritional needs so that families and 100 plus partner organizations can more effectively educate, heal, and nurture our children.

Each year Smart Start of New Hanover County hosts the annual Breakfast for Children’s Champions as an opportunity to recognize New Hanover County citizens, nominated by their peers, for their outstanding efforts on behalf of young children.

The Breakfast serves as a wonderful opportunity for us to highlight the great work that professionals are doing on behalf of children and families in our area, and the impact that Smart Start of New Hanover County is making in our area.

Breakfast for Children's Champions
2023 Breakfast for Children's Champions


Questions? Email Jennifer Gallo or call (910) 815-3731 x1028

Smart Start of New Hanover County envisions every child entering school with the health, family support and early education necessary to succeed.

How You Can Help

1. Register to attend the Breakfast for Children’s Champions Fundraiser

By attending, you’ll learn more about Smart Start’s important work in New Hanover County. You’ll also meet our award nominees, learn about their selfless work, and connect with other commuity members.

2. Support our efforts with a financial gift

Let your customers and your community know that you support early childhood education and vital services for children and families! Please email us for more information regarding sponsorship and corporate giving opportuities.

3. Share the message

Let your friends and collegues know about Smart Start’s work by sharing our message – become a table host, share social media posts, or have conversations in the community.


 To learn more about Children’s Champions award winners and nominees from past years, please click here.