LUMBERTON — Beginning Monday, residents will be tasked with crowning the cutest infant in Robeson County when voting begins for the Beautiful Baby Contest on The Robesonian’s website.
Dozens of proud parents uploaded photos of their babies during the registration period, which kicked off on April 13 and ended Tuesday.
Proceeds from the competition benefit the Robeson County Partnership for Children, a nonprofit that provides developmental programs and activities for children under the age of 5.
Founded in 1993, the organization oversees the day-to-day operations of the Exploration Station in Lumberton and helps to prepare children for public school through its Smart Start initiative.
This marks the Robeson County Partnership for Children’s seventh annual installment of the Beautiful Baby Contest. Last year, the organization raised nearly $12,000 through the contest. Its goal for this year is $15,000.
“RCPC relies on private donations and fundraisers to sustain operational expenses of our early childhood system,” Executive Director Jessica Lowry said. “Studies have indicated intervening in a child’s life with early education and other services provides a return of as much as $17 for each dollar invested in a high-quality, early learning environment for children.”
There are a number of ways to cast your vote in the contest. You can make your selections at the Robeson County Partnership for Children building in Lumberton by cash, check, debit or credit card; mail the vote to the office at 210 E. Second St., Lumberton, N.C., 28358; or cast it online using PayPal through the website robesonpartnership.org. Each vote costs $1 and the deadline is June 5.
The winners will be published in The Robesonian on Father’s Day, June 16.
Two first place winners, one male and one female, will receive $100, a parade magnet, a trophy, and a crown or tiara. Second- through sixth-place winners will also receive trophies. The top 12 babies will be featured in the Robeson County Partnership for Children’s 2015 calender, which will be released in the fall.
“Support of the Beautiful Baby Contest shows us that our community recognizes the importance of a child’s first years,” Lowry said. “There are only 2,000 days between when a child is born and when that child enters kindergarten. This fundraiser allows us to promote our services and further our mission of every child in Robeson County entering school prepared and ready to succeed.”
“This contest is a reminder that every child is beautiful and deserves to reach his or her full potential,” said Lori Noonan, the organization’s fund development and communications specialist.
Jaymie Baxley can be reached at 910-272-6146, or on Twitter @Jaymie_Baxley.