Pictured L-R: Administrative Assistant Marcy Banuelos; Payroll & Accounts Payable Assistant Marie Estrella; Writer/Editor Anastasia Howard; Financial Planning & Analysis Manager Daisy Lopez; Early Care & Education Program Officer Kevin Dieterle; Family Supports Program Officer Christine Tran; Geoffrey Canada; Communications Manager Violet Gonzalez; Administrative Assistant Samantha Estrella; Payroll & Accounts Payable Coordinator Marcy Puente; Financial Planning & Analysis Analyst George Demirchyan; Director of Family Supports Barbara Andrade DuBransky; Kim Belshé; Strategic Partnerships Manager Kim Milliken Hayden.

Literacy for Life: First 5 LA grantee Heluna Health, administrators of the Little By Little School Readiness Program, hosted their annual Literacy for Life Celebration at the iconic Central Library in downtown Los Angeles. Little by Little provides high-quality, age-appropriate books and handouts to WIC families. The event celebrated the achievements of the program, which include serving 317,000 unique participants and providing over 1 million books in L.A. County. The keynote speaker was renowned Geoffrey Canada, the founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone, who gave a remarkable speech about the importance of prenatal development and early childhood education as well as the impact of literacy within that period of life. In addition, First 5 LA was honored with the “2019 Literacy for Life Award” for its support and partnership in addressing the risks of literacy failure and to foster school readiness. Our Executive Director Kim Belshé received the award. Click here to read our story covering the event.

Pictured L-R: Vice President of Policy & Strategy Kim Pattillo Brownson; Deputy Secretary of the CA HHSA for Early Childhood Development and Senior Advisor to the Governor on Implementation of Early Childhood Development Initiatives Kris Perry; Senior Policy Advisor for Early Childhood in the Office of the Governor Giannina Pérez; Executive Director of Early Edge California Patricia Lozano; First 5 California Deputy Director of External and Governmental Affairs Office Erin Gabel [Middle] Executive Director Advancement Project California John Kim; Executive Director of the California Teachers Association Toby Boyd; Executive Director of California for Justice Taryn Ishida; Vice President of Policy and Strategy Kim Pattillo Brownson [Bottom] First 5 California Executive Director Camille Maben.

Water Cooler Conference: Several colleagues attended the the Advancement Project’s Annual Birth to Twelfth Grade Water Cooler Conference in Sacramento. This year’s conference focused on designing comprehensive education policy that focuses on closing California’s opportunity gap, starting from birth and extending through high school. The event brought together policy leaders and organizations from across the field of education, including ECE and K-12 stakeholders representing preschool and infant/toddler care providers, administrators and elected officials. First 5 LA’s Vice President of Policy and Strategy Kim Pattillo Brownson served on a panel titled “Invest In Our Teachers, Students and Our Future—Schools & Communities First” alongside the Executive Director of the California Teachers Association Toby Boyd, and the Executive Director of California for Justice Taryn Ishida. Additionally, First 5 California Executive Director Camille Maben provided the welcome and introduction on Day 2 of the event. “Celebrating its 10th year, the Birth to Twelve Water Cooler Conference has always been a critical space to vet ideas, create conversations and work together on a collective agenda toward equity in education,” said Maben in her remarks.

Pictured L-R: Community Leader and Actor Mike Gomez; Mayor Pro Tem of the City of El Monte Jerry Velasco; School Boardmember of El Monte Union High School District Maria Morgan; Executive Director of SGVCC Danny Oaxaca; Community Relations Director Rafael González; School Boardmember of El Monte City Unified School District Lizzette Mendez; School Boardmember of El Monte Union High School District.

Conservation Corps: First 5 LA Director of Community Relations Rafael González attended the San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps (SGVCC) 16th Anniversary Gala at the Grace T. Black Auditorium in El Monte. The SGVCC works to develop and transform disadvantaged youth in the San Gabriel Valley by providing academic, vocational, and leadership development while also employing them to provide valuable services to improve their communities and the built environment. The fundraising event recognized and honored L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, Chino Commercial Bank President and CEO Dann Bowman, and Pomona Unified School District Superintendent Richard Martinez for their service and dedication to the San Gabriel Valley community. SGVCC is a partner of Best Start South El Monte/El Monte. First 5 LA sponsored the event.

Pictured L-R: The Whole Child Parents As Teachers Program Director Rocio Parra; Welcome Baby Program Manager at Citrus Valley Hospital Rachel Aguilar; Family Supports Senior Program Officer Leticia Sanchez; Welcome Baby Program Manager at Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Lynnette Bello.

Masquerade Gala: Family Supports Senior Program Officer Leticia Sanchez recently attended BreastfeedLA’s 25th Anniversary Masquerade Gala, honoring the organization’s 25 years of dedication to improving the health and wellbeing of infants and families through education, outreach and advocacy to promote and support breastfeeding. Held at Pickwick Gardens in Burbank, the sold-out event welcomed healthcare professionals from throughout Southern California including nurses, doulas, physicians, and hospital staff and administrators.

Pictured: Pritzker Fellow Melissa Franklin and Programs Vice President Christina Altmayer with United States Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams and colleagues from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health and other health and public agencies.

Surgeon General Visit: Programs Vice President Christina Altmayer and Pritzker Fellow Melissa Franklin joined colleagues from other health and public agencies in welcoming United States Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams to Los Angeles. The meeting took place at the L.A. Department of Public Health building in downtown Los Angeles and was an opportunity for Dr. Adams to learn about the work that L.A. County is doing to combat the African American Infant and Maternal Mortality crisis. Dr. Adams also shared details about his recent guidelines and releases with the group, such as the impact of marijuana on the developing brain. To learn more about Dr. Adam’s recent guidelines, click here.

Pictured L-R: [Top] InnerCity Struggle Associate Director Henry Perez, InnerCity Struggle Executive Director Maria Brenes, Community Relations Director Rafael González [Bottom] Communities Program Officer Roberto Roque, InnerCity Struggle Academic Services Coordinator Deycy Hernandez, Communities Program Officer Michelle De Santiago, Communities Programs Officer Breanna Hawkins

Adelante Awards: Staff from the Communities and Community Relations departments attended InnerCity Struggle’s 2019 Adelante Awards. Taking place at the Center at Cathedral Plaza, the event provided an opportunity to celebrate InnerCity Struggle’s 25 years of movement building for kids and families on the Eastside of Los Angeles. InnerCity Struggle has been an integral partner of First 5 LA’s work in Best Start East LA for nearly a decade. Their work with communities is aligned with First 5 LA’s strategic priority to advance and leverage community experience.

At the event, InnerCity Struggle recognized three trailblazing community leaders striving for justice and opportunity. The honorees included Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Service Employees International Union Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias and “Vida” Creator and Executive Producer Tanya Saracho.

Pictured L-R: Senior Government Affairs Strategist Jamie Zamora, Senator Lena Gonzalez, Executive Director Kim Belshé, Policy and Strategy Vice President Kim Pattillo Brownson

Senator Lena Gonzalez: Executive Director Kim Belshé, Policy and Strategy Vice President Kim Pattillo Brownson and Senior Government Affairs Strategist Jamie Zamora met with Sen. Lena Gonzalez (SD-33) at her Long Beach district office. Topics of discussion included First 5 LA’s state policy agenda priorities, along with how First 5 LA supports families in the 33rd Senate District and Los Angeles County. Senator Gonzalez shared how, as a working mother of three, she understands the challenges families face, which is why she is making early childhood development one of her leading policy priorities in 2020.

Sen. Gonzalez was elected to the State Senate in June 2019 and has been an early champion for children during her short tenure. She voted in support of a state budget that invested over $2.8 billion in early childhood priorities, and supported AB 1004 (McCarty), the First 5 LA sponsored legislation related to developmental screenings, by voting for it in the Senate Health Committee and presenting the bill on the Senator Floor before passage. She also recently spoke at the Learners Today, Leaders Tomorrow Ready Nation Business Leader Reception, where she discussed why businesses should support family friendly workplace policies. She represents the communities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lakewood, Long Beach, South Los Angeles, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, Signal Hill, South Gate, Vernon and Walnut Park.

Pictured: [Top] Senior Government Affairs Strategist Jamie Zamora, ECE Senior Program Officer Marcy Manker, Sen. Lena Gonzalez and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Boardmember Jackie Goldberg with colleagues from Child360 and LAUSD. [Bottom] Sen. Lena Gonzalez reading to children at Escalante Early Learning Center.

ECE Story Time: Senior Government Affairs Strategist Jamie Zamora and ECE Senior Program Officer Marcy Manger attended an early learning site visit for Senator Lena Gonzalez (SD-33) and LAUSD Boardmember Jackie Goldberg (District 5) at the Jaime Escalante Early Learning Center in the City of Cudahy. The visit was hosted by Child360 and LAUSD and highlighted the center’s work supporting children between ages 2 to 4. During the tour, Senator Gonzalez read to students and engaged them with her experienced storytelling, as she is mother herself to a 4-year-old!

Pictured L-R: Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Maria Salinas, Community Relations Director Rafael González, Strategic Partnerships Director Jennifer Pippard, Community Relations Officer Alejandra Marroquin, Strategic Partners Manager Kim Milliken Hayden

ACCESS L.A.: Jennifer Pippard, Kim Milliken Hayden, Alejandra Marroquin, Rafael González and Joaquin Macias attended the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce’s ACCESS L.A. City Hall day –– an annual event dedicated to creating dialogue between business leaders, organizations and L.A. City elected representatives. First 5 LA was one of this year’s sponsors.

During the first part of the event, leaders from the L.A. Area Chamber shared findings from a recent report on economic trends occurring throughout L.A. with elected officials at the L.A. Council meeting. Later, the Chamber hosted a reception, where First 5 LA staff had the opportunity to share with Chamber members and public officials key areas of work. Topics included First 5 LA’s support of the governor’s budget, including his commitment to expand policy that provides families and caregivers the opportunity to bond with children during the early years. First 5 LA staff also had the opportunity to ask members of the Council to continue supporting Councilmember Paul Krekorian’s motion for a report on what it would take to bring back child care centers once operated by the L.A. City Department of Recreation and Parks and other family-friendly policies such as advocating for affordable, quality childcare.

Pride Month 2023: All Out with Pride

Pride Month 2023: All Out with Pride

June 2023 All Out With Pride! Words and sentiments to celebrate in 2023, as Los Angeles County lifts-up this year’s Pride Month theme in recognition of the contributions made, culture celebrated, challenges faced, voices shared, those lost, and the activism of allies...