Children's Voice - January 2019
Blanca Alvarado, Former FIRST 5 Commissioner, Recognized for Her Dedication to Young Children and Families
On Thursday, January 17, in recognition of the 20th anniversary of the creation of FIRST 5 Santa Clara County, the FIRST 5 Commission and community partners, recognized former Supervisor and Commissioner Blanca Alvarado for her lifetime of public service and dedication to the children and families of Santa Clara County. Alvarado served as a FIRST 5 Commissioner from April 1999 to January 2009. She served as Chair of the Commission for four years.
Alvarado was instrumental in making early childhood development a priority in the county prior to the passage of Proposition 10. As the Chair of the Board of Supervisors in 1998, she initiated the formation of the Early Childhood Development Collaborative (ECDC). The ECDC drafted the first strategic plan for FIRST 5, embodying the community’s vision and commitment towards making young children a priority in the county.
As a result of her leadership, more children are prepared to succeed in school, more children live in safe and stable homes, more children lead healthier lives, and more families are strengthened and supported.
FIRST 5, Reentry Resource Center Hold Holiday Resource Fair
In December, San Jose’s Reentry Resource Center in partnership with FIRST 5 and the San Jose Sheriff's Department, hosted a holiday resource fair for local children and families who have been touched in incarceration. Children and their parents/caregivers received resources, information, and giveaways. We thank everyone who came together to strengthen local families!
Family Resource Center Program Connects Kids with Nature
“Seeing my son get excited about something new like gardening has been very rewarding. We are both looking forward to future gardening programs at the FRC."
- Cecila M., Family Resource Center parent
With the addition of new garden beds, the Rita Chavez-Medina FRC has been able to create new opportunities for children and their parents/caregivers to learn and grow through gardening. Valley Verde, a local organization that assists Silicon Valley’s low-income residents in growing organic vegetables, provided soil and seeds. At the FRC, children and their parents/caregivers planted seeds such as cherries, tomatoes, and cucumbers in the new garden beds.
Children and their parents/caregivers returned weekly, eager to water seeds and tend to the growing vegetables. Once the fruits and vegetables were harvested, parents/caregivers prepared healthy snacks with their children. Parents/caregivers also brought leftover vegetables and fruits home where they prepared healthy meals with their children.
Overall, this program has allowed parents/caregivers to engage their children in the natural curiosity and wonder of gardening while also encouraging their young learners to see the growing process first-hand.
San Miguel FRC Holds SEEDS Family Childcare Provider Open House
Late last year, the San Miguel FRC held an open house for over 80 SEEDS family childcare providers and their families. FIRST 5 implemented SEEDS (Sensitivity, Encouragement, Education, Development through Doing, and Self-Image) to support providers and ensure young children in their care learn in language-rich environments. At this event, providers networked with their peers, and shared perspectives with fellow providers. A big thank you to the FRC staff and guests who came together to make this event successful!
FIRST 5, SVCN Hosts Early Childhood Provider Discussion
On January 10, in partnership with the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits (SVCN),FIRST 5 hosted an Early Childhood Provider Discussion that brought together early childhood advocates and leaders to discuss the critical issues related to early childhood education.
Susan Ellenberg, Santa Clara County Supervisor, reiterated the need for community investments in families and young children. Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, County Superintendent of Schools, highlighted guiding principles of the Early Learning Master Plan and moderated comments from the audience. Other topics included the pay/benefit gap for early childcare workers and system building so that all children are kindergarten ready.
In addition, participants engaged in a discussion of SVCN’s #ChooseChildrenSV campaign, a collaborative public relations effort dedicated to leveraging important messages throughout the county to ensure early childhood education remains top of mind. We are so pleased to be a part of this campaign and are eager to help spread the word about the importance of early childhood.
FIRST 5 Holiday Drive Gives Back to Local Families
In December, FIRST 5 hosted an Adopt-A-Family Holiday Drive at the Race Street FRC in San Jose. FIRST 5 staff collected gifts based on family and caregiver needs. Strollers, clothes, and art supplies were wrapped and distributed at the drive. During the event, parents/caregivers received information about FRC programs and services. We thank everyone who participated! From gift wrapping to gift donations – thank you for making the holiday season brighter for local families.
Raising A Reader Blue Bag Ceremony Held at Josephine Guerrero FRC
Late last year, the Josephine Guerrero FRC hosted a Raising A Reader Blue Bag Ceremony, celebrating program graduates. Throughout the program, children and their parents/caregivers learned about the importance of reading routines and practiced book bag rotations in weekly book borrowing at the FRC. In addition, children and their parents/caregivers were connected to their local libraries.
As part of the graduation ceremony, participants received blue library bags to keep at home for future use. The blue bags serve as a helpful reminder for parents/caregivers to continue borrowing books at their local libraries and maintain the book sharing routines that their children developed during the program.