Newsletter June 2011

First 5 San Diego

First 5 Commission of San Diego
Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, Chair
Carol Skiljan, Vice-Chair
Sandra McBrayer
Wilma J. Wooten, MD, MPH
Nick Macchione, MS, MPH, FACHE

Barbara Jimenez
The Director’s Corner
Barbara Jiménez

California’s ongoing economic crisis has led to much uncertainty about the future funding levels for First 5 commissions around the state, including First 5 San Diego. As part of the effort to address the state’s budget gap, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 99 into law in March 2011. This bill shifts a total of $1 billion away from state and local First 5 programs. Specifically, it requires local First 5 commissions to transfer one half of their fund balance to the state general fund by June 2012. For First 5 San Diego, this will mean a loss of about $88.4 million in funds that were already designated for programs and services for local children and families over the next several years.

A number of First 5 commissions and local county governments, including the County of San Diego, have filed lawsuits against AB 99, claiming that it goes against what the voters approved when they passed Proposition 10 in 1998. Prop 10, also known as the Children and Families First Act, placed a tax on tobacco products to be used exclusively for early childhood development programs, and resulted in the formation of First 5 programs in California. The legal challenges against AB 99 contend that the shift of funds to the state is not consistent with the intent and purposes of Prop 10 and that such a change can only be made if approved by voters.

Although several lawsuits have been filed, First 5 commissions must move forward to address the loss of funds in the event that AB 99 is upheld. The First 5 Commission of San Diego was forced to make difficult decisions at its May 9, 2011 meeting to address this potential fund reduction. The Commission voted to preserve funding for existing programs as much as possible, however with a four-year, 26.6 percent budget reduction, several new programs will not be launched as planned, and some existing programs are being reduced in scope.

As Prop 10 revenues continue to decline, the breadth and depth of services currently offered by First 5 San Diego will not continue without significant investments from other sources. A key objective of our strategic plan is to “Increase the public’s commitment to investing in services that support the healthy development of children ages 0 through 5.” This has become even more essential as funding for future First 5 services remains in jeopardy. First 5 San Diego will work with our partners and the community to continue to promote the importance of the first 5 years of life, and to support the healthy development of our youngest children so that all have the opportunity to reach their full potential in school and in life.

Barbara Jiménez

Father and Son

Recipe Re-Mix
Recipe Re-Mix

Healthy, Active Children

Starting early with healthy behaviors, such as eating nutritious foods and being physically active, is important for a child’s healthy development and well-being later in life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years, and overweight or obese children are more likely to be obese as adults. Establishing a healthy lifestyle early in life can play an important role in preventing serious health consequences in childhood and later in life.

Parents and other caregivers can have a strong influence on their child’s health and health behaviors. Children who see their parents make healthy food choices and regularly engage in physical activity are more likely to imitate these behaviors.

To help parents set a good example for their children and promote healthy lifestyles, First 5 San Diego offers the following tips:

  • Eat together. Eat meals with your child whenever possible. It is important that children see their parents enjoying fruits, vegetables and whole grains as meals and snacks.
  • Make healthy food choices. Instead of selecting junk food like chips and cookies, opt for healthier selections like low-fat yogurt or string cheese.
  • Limit sugary drinks. Drink a glass of water or skim milk as an alternative to soda, sports drinks and sugar loaded fruit juices.
  • Be active with your child. Take a walk with your child outdoors, play catch or bring your child to the park. Any activity that gets you and your child moving and off the couch is beneficial.

Recipe Re-Mix: MangOrange

As the hot days of summer draw near, try this delicious smoothie to keep your child cool in the sun and healthy too!

1 medium orange, peeled
½ cup mango, peeled, diced
3 tablespoons low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt
1 cup milk


  • Place all ingredients into a blender.
  • Blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
  • Pour into a cup and enjoy.

Cooking Tips:
Be creative and let your child choose his or her favorite fruits: strawberries, bananas, apples and more. Try out different flavors to discover your child’s favorite. Remember, the fruit and yogurt provide plenty of sweetness, so adding sugar or honey is not needed. Do not give a baby honey before age 1.

First 5 California offers a free mini cookbook available in English and Spanish – Yummy for Your Tummy – which has healthy, low-cost recipes for the whole family. To order your copy call 1-800-KIDS-025 or click here to download.

Alert:  Drowning Is Silent
Alert: Drowning Is Silent

As the season of sunshine and water activities approaches, parents, caregivers and childcare providers can take preventive measures now before the tragic unintentional incident of a child drowning. According to the California Department of Development Services, drowning is a leading cause of death and injuries in children age 4 and under, with all types of water sources as a hazard for small children There are NO WARNING SOUNDS or splashing sounds associated with a drowning accident. Multiple strategies of prevention can be used to protect infants and toddlers from swimming pools, open water areas, buckets and toilets. Layers of protection from drowning include adult supervision, fences, gates, latches, safety pool covers, alarms, education, throwing aids, rescue techniques and swimming lessons. Click here to find out more about how to prevent young children from drowning. To find tips on pool and spa safety, visit

Childhood Obesity Conference
Childhood Obesity Conference

Childhood Obesity Conference

First 5 San Diego is pleased to participate as a co-sponsor of the 6th Biennial Childhood Obesity Conference from June 28-June 30, 2011 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, Calif. The conference is the nation’s largest gathering of professionals dedicated to combating pediatric obesity with nearly 2,000 attendees from across the country expected to attend.

“As a partner in the County of San Diego’s Health Strategy Agenda, Building Better Health and Childhood Obesity Initiative, First 5 San Diego is a strong supporter of efforts to reduce and prevent childhood obesity,” said Barbara Jiménez, Executive Director of First 5 San Diego. “Collaboration on multiple levels is essential to ending the epidemic of childhood obesity.”

The conference will showcase the latest research, evidence-based practices and policy/environmental change strategies. Topics will include an emphasis on “Health-in-All Policies” through the built environment, transportation, and agriculture. Professionals who attend will have the opportunity to share strategies, develop partnerships and coordinate their efforts to reduce childhood obesity.

For more information and to register for the conference click here.

First 5 San Diego staff Rosa Lemus with sons Mario and Marco at Reach Out and Read San Diego's Read and Romp held at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego, Calif.
First 5 San Diego staff Rosa Lemus with sons Mario and Marco at Reach Out and Read San Diego’s Read and Romp held at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego, Calif.

Thing 1 and Thing 2
Thing 1 and Thing 2

Read and Romp

On May 14, 2011, First 5 San Diego was pleased to join with our community partner, the American Academy of Pediatrics, CA Chapter 3, as a sponsor for Reach Out and Read San Diego’s Read and Romp held at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Encouraging parents to read to their children and nurture their future of love of reading, the family-fun event included a meet and greet with the characters “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” from the famous Dr. Seuss book, “The Cat in the Hat.” The event also featured activities designed for young children such as face painting, snacks, live readings and other activities based on popular children’s books. All proceeds from Read and Romp 2011 benefited the pediatric literacy program of Reach Out and Read San Diego that partners with doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners to provide free books to young children. The event was sponsored in part by the Dr. Seuss Foundation. Other sponsors included Kaiser Permanente, Children’s Physicians Medical Group, the Brooke Foundation and Children’s Primary Care Medical Group. To learn more about Reach Out and Read click here.

First 5 California Hands-On Health Express
First 5 California Hands-On Health Express

The Russell family with daughters Cassidy and Jillian at the Fiesta del Sol event, Solana Beach, Calif., June 5, 2011.
The Russell family with daughters Cassidy and Jillian at the Fiesta del Sol event, Solana Beach, Calif., June 5, 2011.

First 5 California Hands-On Health Express at
Fiesta del Sol

On Saturday, June 4, 2011 and Sunday, June 5, 2011, First 5 San Diego joined First 5 California’s Hands-On Health Express at the 32nd annual Fiesta del Sol event held in Solana Beach at Fletcher Cove Park. The mobile exhibit, specifically designed for children ages 5 and under, featured games and hands-on activities that encouraged young children to be physically active and make healthy choices. San Diego was the third stop on First 5 California’s 2011 Hands-On Health Express summer tour, which officially kicked off on May 27, 2011 in Orange County, Calif.

The free two-day fiesta presented by the Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce attracted more than 50,000 people. The festival was a great opportunity for families to enjoy some fun in the sun in addition to live musical performances, arts and crafts exhibits, children booths, amusement rides and food.

Child care Provider Appreciation Day
Childcare Provider Appreciation Day

Child Care Provider Appreciation Day at Petco Park

On Sunday June 12, 2011, First 5 San Diego joined YMCA Childcare Resource Service, the San Diego Child Care and Development Planning Council and the San Diego Padres in recognizing the important work of child care providers. Every day, child care providers help to strengthen our community, working tirelessly to bring about meaningful, enduring change right in our neighborhoods. More than 1,000 child care providers from across the county were honored at the 3rd annual Provider Appreciation Day at PETCO Park. Child care providers and their families received discounted game tickets and gifts, and early childhood resources were distributed at the Park at the Park.

Add Your Event to Our Website

Our new website features an enhanced community calendar. Do you have a community event that you would like to add to the First 5 San Diego calendar? If your event focuses on children ages 0-5, parents, caregivers and/or expectant parents, offered at no or low cost, and sponsored by a non-profit organization, we want to share your event. Fill out our Community Event Listing Request Form.

For more information about First 5 San Diego services call 1-888-5 First 5. For updates from First 5 San Diego, please join us on Facebook.