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First 5 LA Promotes Importance of Early Learning Opportunities for Kids and Families at Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

First 5 LA Will Highlight Importance of Talking, Reading and Singing to Children, and Offer Breastfeeding and Diaper Changing Stations On-site for Parents Along with Fun Activities for Kids

LOS ANGELESFirst 5 LA today announced its sponsorship of the 2017 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the largest literary festival in the United States. To promote the importance of engaging families in early literacy, First 5 LA will feature “Talk, Read, Sing” activities for children and will provide helpful on-site resources for parents in partnership with BreastfeedLA and Jumpstart USC, part of the USC Alliance for Civic Engagement.

The Festival of Books will be held on April 22 through April 23 on the University of Southern California campus and is a free public event that will feature live performances, more than 500 authors, celebrities, musicians, artists, and conversation panels.

“Each year the Festival of Books brings together people of all ages and families to celebrate the importance of literacy, music and the arts,” said Kim Belshé, Executive Director at First 5 LA. “This marks our eighth year as a proud sponsor and partner. We look forward to connecting with families to provide them with helpful on-site resources, along with information on the importance of engaging in meaningful ways with their children from the moment they’re born. Years of research have found that talking, reading and singing can significantly help children develop critical language, math and social-emotional skills.”

During the festival, First 5 LA will help parents address a critical need when taking infants and young children to outdoor events. In partnership with BreastfeedLA and Jumpstart, the First 5 LA event booth will feature two tented breastfeeding and diaper changing dedicated areas located conveniently on each side of the campus. Each station is equipped with padded rocking chairs, changing tables, along with breastfeeding coaches from Breastfeed LA and skilled volunteers from Jumpstart, who will lead activities with kids in a dedicated play area.

“BreastfeedLA is honored to join First 5 LA as a committed community partner to help bring a baby feeding lounge for parents to access comfortably,” said Arissa Palmer, MHS, Executive Director of Breastfeed LA. “This year, we also look forward to sharing the exciting news with the festival community that we are launching four new donor milk collection sites all over L.A. County. At the First 5 LA booth you will be able to learn more about where people can bring their pumped breast milk to be donated to babies in need.”

In addition to the breastfeeding and diaper changing areas, First 5 LA will host an activity booth with educational games, resources and information for parents, including materials from the national campaign “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing,” which promotes early brain and language development by encouraging parents to engage in language-rich activities with their young children starting at birth.

Kids under age 5 can play games to win a free book (while supplies last), and parents can take capture moments in a lively photo station. Jumpstart volunteers also will be at the activity booth, engaging both kids and parents with interactive reading circles and sing-a-longs.

“Jumpstart USC Corps members are always excited to serve alongside First 5 LA staff to engage hundreds of young children and families who attend the event and to help promote a general early love of literacy and books,” said Truyen Tran, the Senior Director of Programming at Jumpstart. “This is our sixth year collaborating with First 5 LA since the festival came to the USC campus. We believe the partnership has been so successful because of our shared mission and commitment to the potential of every child in L.A. County.”

The First 5 LA breastfeeding and diaper changing areas will be located at booth #566 and #2239, and the children’s activity booth is #722. For a map of the festival area, USC Campus parking and more information, visit events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks.

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ABOUT JUMPSTART

Jumpstart is a national early education organization working toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed. By participating in Jumpstart’s yearlong program, children develop the language, literacy, and social and emotional skills they need to be ready for school, setting them on a path for lifelong success. Since 1993, Jumpstart has trained 45,000 college students and community volunteers to transform the lives of 100,000 preschool children nationwide. Jumpstart is a proud member of the AmeriCorps service network. Learn more at jstart.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @Jumpstartkids.

ABOUT BREASTFEED LA

BreastfeedLA is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of infants and families through education, outreach, and advocacy to promote and support breastfeeding. BreastfeedLA advocates for lactation accommodations at the state and local level and has aided in the adoption of lactation accommodation policies throughout Los Angeles County, including the County and City of LA and Kaiser Permanente. We provide technical assistance to hospitals to improve breastfeeding outcomes and to employers and schools to help implement strong lactation accommodation policies and programs. We work to increase the number of employers with lactation accommodation policies and support legislation to provide greater protection to breastfeeding mothers. We also assist mothers who have been discriminated against for breastfeeding in public to take action to assert their rights. 

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