First 5 Hosts Successful Inaugural Gala

The inaugural First 5 Alameda County Gala was a roaring success! On Thursday, April 27th over 200 people gathered at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley to honor five “Community Heroes” who have made babies and young children central to their work. Thank you to all who attended! 

We were thrilled that so many officials and public servants attended, with Mayor Libby Schaaf, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, Supervisor Keith Carson, County Administrator Susan Muranishi, Superintendent of Schools L. Karen Monroe and Supervisor Wilma Chan all mingling with the who’s who of early childhood champions in the county. Staff from the office of Supervisor Richard Valle were also in attendance. The Gala Dinner benefitted two special First 5 programs, Alameda County Diaper Bank, Supply Bank, and the Alameda County Fatherhood Corps.

The five honorees were:

- Mialisa Bonta, Founder & CEO, Literacy Lab

- Rob Bonta, California 18th District, Assembly Member

- Clarissa Doutherd, Executive Director, Parent Voices Oakland

- Barbara Lee, Congresswoman, 13th District of California

- Bernard J. Tyson, Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals

Janis Burger, CEO, First 5 Alameda County adds, “First 5 Alameda County has been around for nearly two decades building a strong early childhood community. We’re thrilled to have hosted our first Gala celebrating the local heroes that work tirelessly on behalf of our youngest residents. It was a wonderful evening to remember.”


First 5 Adopts Resolution to Support All Families Regardless of Immigration Status


On April 20, 2017, the First 5 Alameda County Commission adopted a resolution affirming our commitment to stand up for young children and families whose safety and wellbeing are threatened by recent anti-immigration policies. We see firsthand the devastating effects these recent federal immigration measures have on family stability, such as families becoming less likely to enroll in the entitlement programs they need to provide for their families. We envision and work to create an Alameda County where all families and children feel safe, supported, and valued by their community. First 5 Alameda County embraces our diverse community and remains dedicated to providing quality early childhood education and concrete supports to young children and families, regardless of immigration status.

First 5 Alameda County joins additional Bay Area cities, local governments, community based partner organizations and school districts in supporting vulnerable families with young children and wholeheartedly opposes immigration policies that separate families and perpetuate prejudice. First 5 Alameda County is part of a strong, united effort to protect and advocate for families affected by recent immigration protocols and will work to train service providers on immigration resources, support sanctuary city and safe haven policies throughout the county, educate the early childhood community on immigration concerns, promote equitable programs and policies, and advocate for just immigration policies. 

Read the Resolution here.


CSSP’s New Guide on Early Learning Communities Profiles Two Alameda County Initiatives 5 Alameda County


The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP)’s Early Childhood Learning and Innovation Network for Communities (EC-LINC), recently released a guide called: “Early Learning Communities: Building Blocks for Success.”  Over the past year, First 5 Alameda County joined nine EC-LINC communities and seven cities to contribute to the guide. “It’s designed to help cities, counties and communities better understand what it takes to promote healthy child development and family well-being. We’re proud that two of our local efforts are included as snapshots of exemplary early learning community efforts,” says First 5 Alameda County’s CEO, Janis Burger. 

The report gives a snapshot of a successful neighborhood approach to early childhood by profiling a Family Resource Hub called Room to Bloom. Located in the Castlemont corridor area of East Oakland, Room to Bloom provides families with young children access to drop-in playgroups, wellness classes, economic self-sufficiency and mental health support. Families are also connected to parenting education, parent cafes and referrals to community resources such as entitlement programs and public health services. 

The CSSP report also profiles Oakland’s Brilliant Baby in their section on innovative early childhood policy.  The Brilliant Baby pilot, spearheaded by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf provides $500 college savings accounts to babies born into poverty. In addition, new parents can also receive parenting support, financial coaching and financial awards as they take steps to promote their child’s wellbeing. The initiative will start with 250 babies this fall, with the goal of reaching all babies born into poverty in Oakland within the next decade.  

Check out the full guide and read about all the exciting work in early learning communities across the country. We’ll keep you posted as our work with EC-LINK continues. 


Congratulations to Kiwi Pediatrics-Screening Champions!

First 5’s Help Me Grow Alameda County recognizes Kiwi Pediatrics for outstanding support for early identification. In 2016 alone, Kiwi Pediatrics completed over 400 screenings, referring 36 children to the Help Me Grow phone line. While working with Kiwi Pediatrics over the years, they have demonstrated a strong commitment to support the learning, development and behavior of the children they serve by following the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines for screening at the 9-month and 18-month well-child visit.

Developmental screenings help raise awareness of a child’s development – recognizing important milestones and identifying possible developmental concerns as early as possible. Regular screenings help ensure that children get the services and support they need to thrive and get ready for school.

Read more about Help Me Grow and our efforts to collaborate with agencies, families and providers across the county to help ensure children ages birth – 5 years reach their optimal development.

It takes a dedicated team to ensure that all children are screened and we want to thank each and every staff person at Kiwi Pediatrics for their effort to give children in Alameda County the best start.