Darbi Hunt’s mission to help children reach their full potential goes beyond her position as the birth to five learning specialist at the South Dakota Statewide Family Engagement Center (SFEC). It’s due to her being surrounded by a strong support system and family of elementary school teachers and librarians.
Hunt’s mother was an elementary school teacher, and a stay-at-home mom at the time when she discovered her daughter’s interest in reading.
“I learned my letters by watching Sesame Street...and my mom didn’t really realize that it was exactly how I did it. One day, I told her I was going to write a letter, and she showed me how to write it,” said Hunt.
Her interest in reading and expanding her knowledge grew with every book she read, and every trip to her local library. Hunt said her mother was very involved in making sure she had enough books to read, and opportunities to expand her knowledge.
Her passion for helping others became apparent as young as elementary school when she made efforts and advocated for her fellow classmates to have a fair and equal chance at opportunities.
“My mom told me that it was almost annoying how worried I was about making sure everyone had a fair chance in school. I really wanted those kids and families that didn’t get the resources and opportunities to reach their full potential," said Hunt.
United Way of the Black Hills
United Way of the Black Hills first hit Hunt’s radar when she enrolled her twins, Jericka and Gaven, in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program. The program mails an age appropriate book each month to children between the ages of birth to five.
“I saw the value of the Imagination Library for my children that I decided to donate to United Way,” said Hunt.
Hunt started off as a donor, participating in jeans day and giving to the Imagination Library fund. As Hunt grew in her career, she met coworkers and staff who were also involved with United Way of the Black Hills.
After observing the impact the programs United Way of the Black Hills offered on her children, she became an advocate and board member for United Way of the Black Hills in Sturgis.
“I appreciate that United Way looks at a variety of potential agencies and determines the needs in the community. We are trying to bring agencies together – not trying to reinvent the wheel,” said Hunt.
Hunt enjoys exploring new opportunities to promote third grade level reading literacy and to help children reach their full potential through educational opportunities.
“It is said that children learn to read until third grade, then they read to learn. It is essential that children should be reading proficient by third grade so they can expand their knowledge,” said Hunt.
Hunt encourages anyone interested in volunteering or becoming advocate to consider what he/she is passionate about, and their strengths to determine the right fit. She also encourages those to call the 2-1-1 helpline for opportunities (a UWBH funded agency.)
“Everyone needs to give in different ways. If we all did the same thing, it wouldn’t help as much,” said Hunt.
We are so thankful to have Darbi Hunt as an advocate for United Way of the Black Hills and our Black Hills community. Please join us in thanking and recognizing Darbi’s efforts in our community.
If you are passionate about helping young children reach their full potential like Darbi, we highly encourage you to join us in our mission.
We fight for the education and success of youth in our community through support of many local agencies, as well as our own programs to expand childhood literacy. Whether that be volunteering with Black Hills Reads, donating to our mission or simply liking our Facebook page and sharing our content, we need you!
To donate to United Way of the Black Hills, please visit our donate page.
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