Newsletter May – June 2012

First 5 San Diego

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

Good Start Reading

Good Start Eating

The Director’s Corner
Kim Medeiros

Our Positive Parenting Campaign is well underway and you may Kim Medeiroshave seen our ads across the County and/or heard our Public Service Announcements on television and radio stations with the messages “Eating together strengthens families” and “Read to your child every day starting at birth.” The campaign is part of First 5 San Diego’s broader effort to increase parents’ knowledge and use of positive parenting practices that promote early learning and their child’s healthy development, so that their children will be ready for school and prepared for educational success. This supports the County’s Live Well, San Diego! 10-year plan for achieving a County that is Healthy, Safe and Thriving. A parent who follows stable and nurturing routines at home provides a key foundation for a child’s health and well-being.

First 5 San Diego recommends starting with these daily positive parenting routines:

  • Eat healthy meals together.  Family meals provide an opportunity to promote essential communication and social skills as well as foster a sense of belonging. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)  says that sharing meals together as a family prevents childhood obesity, as meals prepared at home are more likely to be healthy and nutritious.
  • Read to your child. Reading aloud to your child for 20 minutes each day is the easiest and most effective way to develop your child’s love for reading and readiness to learn to read. Reading together ensures quality one-on-one time. Sitting your child on your lap and cuddling at story time shows your child they are cared for and safe.
  • Engage in physical activity. As a parent, you can help your child’s attitude towards physical activity. The best way to start is by scheduling at least one hour for activities like taking a walk together or playing active games. Limiting your child’s screen time – TV, computer and video games, and cell phones – makes room for more active and creative play. AAP experts recommend less than one hour for children ages 3-5 and no screen time for children ages 2 and under.
  • Make time for yourself. It’s easy for parents to always put their children’s needs first. But remember your physical, social and emotional health is just as important. Make it a priority to do something for yourself each day – wake up a little earlier than usual to get your thoughts in order, take a brief walk, or read a book. 

First 5 San Diego provides no cost parenting workshops that offer tools and resources to help them develop effective parenting skills. To find a parenting workshop near you, call our warmline at 1-888-5 FIRST 5 (1-888-534-7785).

Click the images below to watch the First 5 San Diego Positive Parenting Public Service Announcements.

Public Service Announcement        Public Service Announcement


Kim Medeiros

USDA Introduces New MyPlate
New USDA “My Plate” Dietary Guide Graphic

USDA Introduces New MyPlate

To help parents guarantee their child is getting the right amount of fruits and vegetables, protein, whole grains, and dairy, the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) has replaced the My Pyramid with a new My Plate. 

The new dietary guidelines released last year by the USDA prompted the agency to re-evaluate the pyramid, developed in 1992. The pyramid shows the foods that should be eaten less at the top such as fats, oils and sweets and those that should be consumed more at the bottom, including fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.

USDA officials said that the My Pyramid was complex and tried to convey too many nutritional facts. They developed the My Plate to show that eating nutritious meals can be simple and to convey the message that it is important to be mindful of what you are eating.

The new “MyPlate” is a simple circle divided into quadrants that contains fruits, vegetables, protein, and grains. For more information about the new My Plate, visit

Breastfeeding Gives a Baby the Best Start
Breastfeeding Gives a Baby the Best Start

Breastfeeding is the best gift a mother can give to her newborn child. It’s nature’s way. A mother’s milk contains special antibodies and other valuable ingredients that best promote a child’s health. Studies show that breastfed babies are smarter and have a lower risk of obesity, cancer, and allergies. Breastfeeding is also the best way to develop the emotional bond between a mother and her new baby. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for at least a newborn’s first six months of life, followed by a combination of breastfeeding and introduction of baby food up until a baby is 12 months old. Afterwards, it is up to a mother and child to mutually decide when to stop breastfeeding. 

Here are a few breastfeeding tips to help mothers give their child the best start in life:

  • Do not worry if breastfeeding is not easy at first. Give it a chance. Both you and your baby have to learn how to do it. 
  • It is easiest to nurse if you can do so in a comfortable position where you are as relaxed as possible. 
  • Before you go home from the hospital, you can ask the nurse caring for you and your baby for helpful tips on making breastfeeding a success. Once you are home, you may want to consult a breastfeeding expert if you have questions or concerns.

In honor of Mother’s Day, the County of San Diego’s Nurse-Family Partnership Program in partnership with the Boppy Company’s Mother’s Day Support Program gave more than 200 first-time, low-income mothers a new Boppy Pillow, which can be used when feeding babies and can support infants during their first year of life. 

There are many other local resources available to breastfeeding mothers. To learn more, visit the San Diego County Breastfeeeding Coalition at

New First 5 California Parents' Website
New First 5 California Parents’ Website

First 5 California recently launched a new website for parents. The site is designed to connect parents and caregivers of children ages 0-5 with the resources and information they need to ensure their kids are healthy and thriving.

The new interactive and user-friendly site features a Health Center where parents can find tips for their child’s oral health such as how to make brushing teeth fun,  information on physical activity, nutrition, health checkups, what do when your kids get sick, and how to handle special needs. A Learning Center teaches parents how to access information on preschool and reading to their children. Parents can also order Kits for New Parents and find information on how to quit smoking.

The site features many fun interactive activities such as quizzes, photos, videos and downloads including books, recipes and bookmarks. To access the site, visit

Día del Niño (Day of the Child)
Chula Vista Day of the Child April 21, 2012

Día del Niño (Day of the Child)

Every year on April 30, families mostly of Mexican and Latin American heritage worldwide celebrate Día del Niño (Day of the Child) to honor young children. This year, First 5 San Diego was excited to join in the festivities throughout the County.

First 5 participated in the 12th annual Day of the Child at Memorial Park in Chula Vista on April 25, 2012. More than 4,000 participants attended the event and enjoyed two stages of great music and entertainment, as well as a guest appearance from Senator Juan Vargas. 

On April 28, 2012, First 5 was on hand at the second annual Día del Niño celebration at Grape Day Park in Escondido, presented by the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum. The goal of the event was to provide information on positive family programs. More than 2,000 parents and their children enjoyed an afternoon of music, games, and performances.

First 5 San Diego also shared in the San Diego County Library’s “El Día de los Libros” (Book Day), in which they celebrate “Día” all month long. Each of the 33 branches hosted a variety of multi-cultural activities for children to promote the importance of literacy, including special author visits, story times, scavenger hunts, puppet shows, crafts, and performances.  First 5 San Diego donated 2,000 copies of the book, “Potter the Otter: A Tale About Water” to encourage families to read together and make healthier choices.

Día del Niño is a celebration of family,” said Kim Medeiros, Executive Director of First 5 San Diego. “Our goal was to share the importance of family so their children can succeed in school as well as educate parents about the many resources available in the community.”

First 5 San Diego Reaches out to Military Families

First 5 San Diego Reaches out to Military Families
First 5 San Diego Community Engagement Team

First 5 San Diego Reaches out to Military Families

The Kids First Fair is held each year at Camp Pendleton in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Department of Defense Military Child Month. First 5 San Diego participated in the 17th annual event.

The fair highlighted military children and promoted positive parenting, family interaction, children’s safety, family fun, and community spirit. More than 5,000 people enjoyed live music, entertainment, food, games, and community resources for children.

“Military families are an important part of San Diego communities,” said First 5 San Diego Chair Supervisor Bill Horn. “Many of the families are here in San Diego away from their extended families and support system. Our military families have a great need for services and often don’t know where to turn to and First 5 San Diego helps fill that gap.”

The fair was also the first visit in San Diego for First 5 California’s 2012 Hands-on Health Express Tour. First 5 San Diego partnered with the mobile exhibit to inspire families to eat right and stay active.

“Events like the Kids First Fair at Camp Pendleton provide an opportunity to hear first-hand about the needs of our military families with young children,” said Kim Medeiros, First 5 San Diego Executive Director. “We were able to provide information on exercise, health and safety, and First 5 San Diego services.”

More than 70,000 parents and children reside at Camp Pendleton. To learn more about family programs at the military base, visit

For information about the Hands-on Health Express Tour, including visits to the South Bay Family Resource Center on May 23rd, City Heights Farmer’s Market on May 26th, and Vista Strawberry Fest on May 27th, follow them on Facebook

Live Well, San Diego! Summit
Live Well, San Diego! Summit

Live Well, San Diego! Summit

In an effort to build a healthy community among all young and elder residents, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) is pleased to present the first annual “Live Well, San Diego! Summit: Building a Healthy Community for All Ages”.

Actor Richard Dreyfuss will be the keynote speaker. Dreyfuss is most notable for his role as the teacher in Mr. Holland’s Opus, of which he was nominated for a Golden Globe and Academy Award.  He won the Best Actor Oscar for The Goodbye Girl and starred in Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Participants of the Live Well, San Diego! Summit will explore using intergenerational approaches to solve our community problems and needs, particularly health issues.

The main event will be held at the Town & Country Convention Center, 500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego 92108.

Webcasts will be held at four other locations throughout San Diego County:

  • East – Ronald Reagan Community Center, 195 E. Douglas, El Cajon 92020
  • North Inland – California Center for the Arts – Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido 92025
  • North Coastal – Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa, 5480 Grand Pacific Dr., Carlsbad 92008
  • South – Chula Vista Middle School, 415 5th Ave., Chula Vista 91910

Registration is required. Please call the AARP Registration Line at (877) 926-8300 or visit for more information.

Upcoming Events

County of San Diego Summer Movies in the Park
Summer 2012 (Dates and locations TBD)

Add Your Event to Our Website

Our 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.