South Carolina First Steps is a state agency and nonprofit committed to ensuring that all of South Carolina’s children are prepared for success in school. As the leader of the state’s Early Childhood Advisory Council, with nonprofit affiliates in every county, Georgia Mjartan is linking public, private and nonprofit systems to ensure whole families are supported in their efforts to become successful in school, work and life. Previously, she served for 12 years as the Executive Director of Our House, a nationally-recognized social services agency in Arkansas that successfully moved homeless and near-homeless families and individuals out of extreme poverty by taking a two-generation approach. She was a George Mitchell Scholar, graduating from the University of Ulster (UK) with a MSc. in Political Communication and Public Affairs. She is a graduate of the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program.
Services and systems that are disconnected and difficult to navigate so often provide tremendous barriers to families and children in their efforts to move out of poverty and toward economic stability. Siloed interventions in the realm of early childhood, employment, or adult education do not have the long-term impact and leveraging effect that taking a two-generation, an integrated approach can have. In my work on the front-lines for over a decade developing, piloting and sharing the model of a two-generation approach to ending family and child homelessness, I saw the measurable impact that a holistic approach can have.