First 5 San Mateo County understands we cannot do it alone. In order to have the greatest impact on children and families, we must leverage our resources and create strategic community partnerships. We build needed infrastructure to support our investments and develop broad-based coalitions to drive sustainable change.
On December 17th, First 5 San Mateo County (F5SMC) celebrated its 20 Years of Community Investment Celebration at the San Mateo City Hall. Many community partners, officials, former and current Commissioners attended the celebration including the former and first F5SMC executive director, Kris Perry.
F5SMC presented the Spotlight on Excellence Awards to Carolina Balladares, Manager of Watch Me Grow and Family Resource Center at Gatepath, and to the Learning Wheels, On the Road to Reading Program from SSF Public Library. The Spotlight on Excellence Award is presented for exceptional contributions made to San Mateo County children prenatal through age 5 and their families, by a group or individual.
F5SMC also presented community partners awards to San Mateo County Health and Human Services Agency, San Mateo County, and also acknowledged departing Commissioners, Michael Garb and Anne Campbell.
All of us have been watching the news of the Camp Fire with concern and sadness for those affected. In response, First 5s across California and their early childhood partners are stepping up to aid affected families with babies and young children. These devastating fires have left families, schools, and child care providers without the basic necessities they need to care for our youngest children.
To that end, The California Children and Families Foundation, the sister organization of the First 5 Association of California, has established a relief fund to support First 5 counties in their rebuilding efforts.
In the coming weeks and months, these funds (100%) will be directed to counties for recovery services, such as: mental health support for evacuated families, supplies for damaged family childcare homes and preschools, additional family programs to support children affected by the fires, and temporary child care supports. All donations to this specific fund will be used by First 5s in their communities for recovery efforts focusing on the needs of children 0-5 and their families. Click on the link or the image above to donate.
From all of us at First 5 San Mateo County, we thank you for your support.
November 1 was a magical day, as First 5 San Mateo County staff gathered with partners and friends to celebrate two decades of thinking bigger – finding innovative ways of prioritizing children and families. With the help of the First 5 Express, Potter the Otter and our special guest Senator-magician Jerry Hill, we were able to have an unforgettable event filled with laughter, wonder and collaborative spirit. Thank you to all of the partners who joined us to celebrate. Our work is only possible through partnership, cooperation and a shared vision for children’s success, and we appreciate everyone who has been part of that.
2018 marks 20 years since California voters passed Proposition 10, the California Children and Families First Act, adding a 50-cent tax on tobacco products to create a guaranteed revenue stream for children, and establishing First 5’s in every county. Since 1998, we have invested over $150 million in local programs, served nearly 100,000 children from birth through age five, and funded services for more than 8,000 parents and primary caregivers.
While we recognize there is work to be done, this event helped us commemorate 20 years of helping children and families in our county succeed. We look forward to many more years of supporting children ages 0 to 5 in San Mateo County and ensuring that their every need is met, their families are supported and their future is a priority.
Photos: Scott Bushman