For people who haven't heard about First 5 California, probably the best way to describe it is by stating its goal: "To ensure that more children are born healthy, raised in nurturing homes and ready to succeed in school."
It is in the first five years of a child's life when his brain develops most dramatically. It is at this stage when caregiving has the most impact on the way a child thinks, learns, and behaves for the rest of his life. First 5 California has a variety of programs aimed at children aged 0 to 5 years, designed to strengthen the parent-child learning experience, and helps ensure that more children are ready to succeed in school.
First 5 California was created in 1998 when voters passed Proposition 10, which adds a 50-cent tax to each pack of cigarettes sold. First 5 California distributes funds to local communities through the 58 individual counties in the state. Each year, approximately $550 million is collected from the tobacco tax. Twenty percent of this is used to fund First 5 California statewide programs. Last year, First 5 Contra Costa received $10.6 million in local Proposition 10 revenue. For a detailed information on funding, visit the First 5 California website
First 5 California Centers
First 5 Contra Costa has 5 strategically placed centers. The centers are located in Antioch, Bay Point, Concord, San Pablo, and Brentwood. Each center has a contractor, and each contractor has a volunteer Community Advisory Council, an advisory board made up of parents, caregivers, and community members. They assist in program planning and outreach by ensuring that the programs reflect the community's needs. To learn more about the centers, visit the First 5 Contra Costa website.
Delta First 5 Center
The center located in Brentwood is called Delta First 5 Center. Its contractor is the Mt. Diablo Region YMCA. This center has been operational for 6 years and has a staff of five – the Program Director, 2 Program Coordinators, and 2 other highly trained staff who are responsible for sibling care. According to the center's Program Director, Mandy Snyder, the center's goal is mainly to support the whole family by offering programs that promote bonding between parent and child.
Every year, Delta First 5 applies for a grant through First 5 California. This grant pays for all the programs of the center and everything the center utilizes. The programs that are funded by First 5 Contra Costa are aimed to develop child health, child development, family functioning, and systems for families. For a list and description of all the programs available, click here.
Aside from the center staff, there are parents, caregivers, and community volunteers who in their own way contribute to making a difference in the center.
Delta First 5's Outreach
Ms. Snyder mentioned that their marketing agenda is more like an outreach program. They join programs of, and collaborate with, other organizations such as the Contra Costa Library and the Village Community Resource Center. Recently, a magic show sponsored by the Brentwood Library was held at the Delta First 5 Center. They also join community events like the Brentwood Cornfest and Hometown Halloween.
Inside the Center
As you step inside the Delta First 5 Center, you will instantly feel comfortable. The overall set up of the room and the friendly and courteous staff contribute immensely to this relaxed feel. There are a couple of rooms where the programs are held, an area for the staff office, a place to read where children can sit on bean bags or on the couch, a room to eat snacks, and a playroom.
The play room is open Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 1:00pm. A vital part of supporting healthy development is allocating time for a child to play. This is what the playroom is for. The area offers a wide selection of puzzles, blocks, dress-up, dolls, soft toys for infants, kitchen and kitchen toys.
If you are a parent of a child aged 0 to 5, you may want to take advantage of the great opportunity that the center offers. Pre-registration is strongly advised at the Delta First 5 Center and this is done during the week the new calendar becomes available. New calendars are available approximately every six weeks. You can view the current calendar at www.firstfivecc.org or www.mdrymca.org. Once classes start, registrations are subject to a waitlist. The parent and child have the opportunity to be enrolled in one class per calendar session.
Location, Hours, and Contact Information
Visit the Delta First 5 Center and check out what they have to offer. The center is located at 760 First Street in Downtown Brentwood. They are open from Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (closed 1:00-2:00 for lunch), with occasional programs held during evening and weekend hours. For inquiries, you can call 925-516-3880.
Page created in February 2010 so some information may be outdated after some time. Send us a message here if you want to use some of our content for your own site.
By Lorraine Sayson