The Coastal Star

A Coastal Star: Evidence of Hurd’s success has grown up all around her

Nancy Hurd sits with a few of children of the Achievement Centers. 2008 photo provided

By Rich Pollack
For 44 years, Nancy Hurd followed a simple guiding principle as she led Delray Beach’s Achievement Centers for Children & Families, a nonprofit organization that provides child care and educational services for families needing a helping hand.
    “I said that if I wanted something for my own two children, I wanted it for the kids at the center,” she said. “I looked at it as if all of those kids were mine.”
    Today, the flock of children whose care has been shepherded by Hurd numbers well into the thousands, perhaps into the tens of thousands with the center, started with just 20 kids in a spare room at a local church, today serving more than 700 children and 200 families each year.
    Now, however, Hurd is watching over the center from a little farther away, having officially retired as its executive director — a job she held from day one — in October.
    Still, she remains connected to the organization, serving as a consultant and working behind the scenes to pitch in whenever needed.
    “The agency is kind of like my baby. I’ll always be there for it,” Hurd says.
    Hurd, 66, says her decision to retire was a well-planned choice. She wanted to ensure that the transition for her successor, Stephanie Seibel — who led the center’s fundraising foundation for almost a decade — was a smooth one.
    “I’ve been around long enough to know that many people don’t know when enough is enough,” she said. “I didn’t want the good people who came after me to say ‘What are we going to do about Nancy?’ ”
    For Hurd, stepping away from her role of executive director means giving up her first — and only — job.
    “I’ve never had another job in my entire career,” she says.
    Hurd had graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in social work and had just gotten married when she and her husband, Bill, moved to Delray Beach to be near his family.
    While attending a service at the First Presbyterian Church with her in-laws, Hurd heard about a free child-care program a group of residents wanted to put together to serve working families. With a nonprofit organization formed in 1969, the group hired Hurd on the spot and soon the Community Child Care Center of Delray Beach opened in a spare room at the church, with just a handful of children from working families arriving by bus every day.
    Over the years, the program evolved and grew to meet the ever-changing needs of the community, with Hurd leading the charge to eventually move the center into its own facilities off of Lake Ida Road. Along the way, the name has also changed to better reflect the services provided by the agency.
    Accommodating children from 12 months to 18 years old, the center offers pre-school and after school programs. It also provides adult and family support services.
    Throughout the years, Hurd has stayed in touch with many of her former charges, including several who now work at the center.
“I hardly go anywhere where someone doesn’t come up to me and remind me that they were once in our program,” she said.
    Hurd says she is pleased to be leaving the center in good shape with full enrollment, a complete staff, no debt and a national accreditation at the highest level.
    “I always looked at this as a calling. I never looked at it as a job,” she said. “All of this ultimately was in God’s hands and I feel privileged to have been along for the ride.” 

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