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What We’re Doing: A Roundup of First 5 LA Events and Activities

Discussing ACEs: First 5 LA joined the LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment and other funders earlier this month to co-host a conversation with author and founder of The Center for Youth Wellness, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris. Dr. Burke Harris is most known for her 2015 Ted Talk on Adverse Childhood Experiences, and more recently her book "The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity." The event, held at The Skirball Cultural Center, featured a conversation between First 5 LA Vice President of Programs Christina Altmayer and the doctor, followed by a panel discussion with other leaders in the field, also moderated by Christina. Dr. Burke Harris thanked First 5 LA for the event on Twitter - follow the tweet and the conversation at #TraumaInformedLA. 

Speaking of Trauma and Resiliency: The Center for Collective Wisdom has released a new report summarizing lessons from “year two” of First 5 LA’s Trauma and Resiliency-Informed Systems Change Initiative. The new publication, released in August, builds on the initial report, “Trauma and Resiliency: A Systems Change Approach,” released last July, which laid out a framework for implementing a trauma and resiliency-informed approach in L.A. County; the guiding principles of which are:

  • Safety
  • Trust and transparency
  • Peer support
  • Collaboration and mutuality
  • Voice, choice, and self-agency
  • Culturally, historically, and gender-identity appropriate.

To move beyond one-off trauma-informed care training, the new report posits that trauma and resiliency-informed systems change efforts must be inextricably linked to improving priority results for children and families. In making a strong connection with long-term outcomes for children, an institutional commitment to be trauma and resiliency-informed can unfold that is both authentic and impactful.
The Health Systems Department has been exploring opportunities to integrate the trauma and resiliency-informed framework into First 5 LA’s work across outcome areas and has partnered with the Communities Department to adopt the framework across their three strategies.

Promotion Celebration: First 5 LA’s Becca Patton recently joined the Programs Division as the new director of Early Care and Education. In her new role, Becca will lead the implementation of the early care and education (ECE) strategy to increase the quality and accessibility of ECE, with an emphasis on workforce development, and expanding access to quality settings. Becca joined First 5 LA in June 2017 as a senior policy strategist leading our state and federal policy advocacy work to improve access to quality early learning. In this position, she led the implementation of the ECE Policy Advocacy Fund, a five year, $15 million grantmaking effort to advance a local and statewide cohesive policy agenda. She also led First 5 LA’s work with the State Early Care and Education Coalition which was critical to achieving the ECE successes in this year’s State Budget. The Program and Policy Strategy divisions are excited with the strengthened collaboration and cross-divisional integration opportunities that Becca will promote in this new role. Congratulations Becca!

“A Star is Born”: Strategic Partnerships Manager Jennifer Cowan, alongside 16 other community leaders, was recently nominated to participate in the City of Santa Monica's “We Are Santa Monica” campaign, designed to encourage city residents to get involved in issues such as homelessness, diversity and early education. Jennifer serves as the face of early childhood leadership for the campaign, and will soon have her picture and inspiring quotes on promotionals throughout the city (including on the side of the Big Blue Bus). She shares her story on the campaign website, including how she works to give kids the best possible start in life at First 5 LA. Last week the city held a launch event for the campaign, a celebration joined by First 5 LA leadership. Visit the campaign website at

Swearing in at the Cube: Senior Government Affairs Strategist Jamie Zamora and Communities Program Officer Brandi Sims attended Assemblymember Luz Rivas’ district swearing-in ceremony at the Discovery Cube in Sylmar on Saturday. The event was an opportunity for community members to recognize Rivas (D-Arleta), who was elected to the State Assembly in a June 2018 special election. During her remarks, Rivas expressed the importance of the recent State investment in early care and education and increasing child care slots in the 39th Assembly District she represents, which includes the communities of North Hollywood, Pacoima, San Fernando, Sunland-Tujunga, Sun Valley and Sylmar.

Kicking Off Latino Heritage Month: Members of the Community Relations Department recently joined Los Angeles City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and thousands of others from throughout Southern California for the kickoff of Latino Heritage Month at the city’s free public festival celebrating El Grito de Dolores. Also known as “El Grito”, the celebration marks the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence from Spain. First 5 LA was one of several sponsors of the event, held on the historic steps of L.A. City Hall.  Additionally, First 5 LA Executive Vice President John Wagner and Community Relations Director Rafael González attended L.A. County First District’s Hispanic Heritage Month Reception, which honored individuals who have provided significant contributions to the area. First District Supervisor Hilda Solis partnered with the L.A. County Hispanic Managers Association and the Chicano Employees Association to host the event, held at the Hall of Administration in downtown Los Angeles.

Lady Power Hour: First 5 LA associates recently spoke at the United States of Women (USOW) Kickoff Town Hall Forum at the WeWork Building in Downtown Los Angeles. Hosted by the health-equity focused organization, iDream (a project of Community Partners), and led by USOW Ambassador Lindsey Alvarezzo,  the event welcomed a wide cross-section of women's rights advocates and served as a networking opportunity for those interested in maternal health and other vital women’s issues. First 5 LA was a sponsor for the United State of Women Summit in May of this year. Click here for more information about the event, or click here to learn how to get involved.

Collaborating in Pasadena: Members of the Community Relations Department recently visited Families Forward Learning Center in Pasadena. Families Forward Learning Center is part of a collective effort that includes First 5 LA and Pasadena nonprofits to identify local revenue streams in the City of Pasadena to support early childhood wellbeing. Other organizations participating in the collaborative are Pacific Oaks, Pacific Clinics, Altadena Children’s Center, Hillsides, Abriendo Puertas, Children Now, Children’s Defense Fund and Los Angeles Preschool Advocacy Initiative (LAPAI).

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