Newsletter November 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

The Director's Corner
November 8, 2011 – Supervisor Pam Slater-Price (center) declares November as Family Literacy Month in San Diego County. Tara Milbrand (left), Program Director, Reach Out and Read San Diego and Meredith Kennedy (right), Chapter Executive Director, American Academy of Pediatrics San Diego proudly received the proclamation.

Barbara Jimenez
The Director’s Corner
Barbara Jiménez

November is Family Literacy Month, and literacy activities across the country are underway. I am delighted to start our Positive Parenting Campaign by partnering with the American Academy of Pediatrics San Diego Reach Out and Read initiative to promote Family Literacy Month and encourage families to read together.

The goal of our positive parenting campaign is to educate parents and caregivers about positive parenting practices that support the healthy emotional development of children, including reading to their child every day starting at birth.

A parent or caregiver can have a great impact on a child’s ability to read and to learn.  Reading aloud together for just 20 minutes a day can help develop a child’s love for reading, and a readiness to learn to read. It also benefits a child’s social-emotional healthy development; it develops basic language and communication skills and the special attention strengthens the relationship and emotional bond between the parent and child.  Books are also a great tool for teaching children positive behaviors like practicing healthy habits.  For example, Potter the Otter:  A Tale About Water encourages children to drink water rather than sweetened beverages.

Reach Out and Read works with doctors to prescribe books to help maximize a child’s healthy development and school readiness.  Last year, they provided literacy advice to more than 97,000 parents.  Through the month of November, they will be working with San Diego City and County libraries to spread the word about literacy opportunities available at local libraries for families to read and learn together.  This collaboration supports the County’s Live Well, San Diego! plan to build better health among our residents, including our very youngest.  The more families who read together, the happier and healthier children will be in San Diego County. 

Here are some tips for reading aloud to your child:

  • Remember, read to your child for 20 minutes each day. Even if it’s just for five minutes at a time, try to make sure the time you spend reading to your child adds up to 20 minutes for the day. 
  • Explore the pages of the book.  If time doesn’t allow you to read the entire book word for word, simply cuddling and exploring the pages with your child strengthens your bond.  Making up a story to go along with pictures in a book lets your child’s imagination soar.
  • Discuss the storyline and the characters in the book.  Your child will learn how to absorb and process information, helping them with critical communication skills.
  • Make storytime a part of your daily routine.  Daily routines help children know what to expect and makes them feel secure.  Reading a book at naptime and bedtime can help your child wind down and set forth the signal to fall asleep.

Parents and caregivers can receive a free Puppy and Friends book to share with their child in our Kit for New Parents.  To order your free Kit and for more information about the importance of reading aloud to your child, call 1-888-5 FIRST 5 (1-888-534-7785).

For more information about family literacy and a list of local libraries, visit the First 5 San Diego Read Early, Read Aloud webpage.  Click here to visit Reach Out and Read San Diego.

Happy Reading,
Barbara Jiménez

First 5 Commission of San Diego Appoints New Executive Director

Barbara Jimenez

The First 5 Commission of San Diego is pleased to announce Kimberly Medeiros as the new Executive Director of First 5 San Diego. Kimberly Medeiros has served the County since 1999 in various roles, most recently as the Deputy Director for the County Department of Human Resources.

“Kim brings an extraordinary amount of leadership and management expertise to this crucial role,” said Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, Chair of the First 5 Commission of San Diego. “Not only will she provide oversight to the many wonderful programs and services, but will provide support to the Commissioners as well.”

Prior to her position in Human Resources, Medeiros served in several capacities with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) where she worked for 10 years.

“We are pleased to have Kim back in the health and social services arena,” said Nick Macchione, Director of HHSA and First 5 Commissioner. “Her extensive knowledge of our programs is the perfect choice to help move this outstanding organization forward.”

Medeiros replaces Barbara Jiménez, who now serves HHSA as Deputy Director of the North Regions. Jiménez will continue to oversee operations until Medeiros’ appointment begins, effective December 5, 2011.

“Kim has a true passion for children 0 through 5 and their families,” said Jiménez. “I have the utmost confidence that under her leadership, First 5 San Diego will excel at achieving the vision that all children 0 through 5 are healthy, loved and nurtured, and enter school ready to learn.”

For the official press release, click here.

Baby Yoga Class, Photo Courtesy of San Diego County Library
Baby Yoga Class, Photo Courtesy of San Diego County Library

San Diego County Library: More than Books

There’s a new hot-spot in town. It’s an education center, museum, digital hub, community resource center, art space and provider of free and open access to information.  This is all in one place, right through the doors of the San Diego County Library.

The County library’s 33 branches have become more than just checking out books, CDS, and videos, but real community centers.  With some branches open up to 7 days a week, the libraries offer cultural programs such as musical performances and art exhibits, community-building classes, bilingual online tutors and job coaching, law advice, small business classes, resources and classes for job seekers, book clubs and social reading hours, healthy cooking classes and fitness classes. 

Families with young children can enjoy storytimes, available in English and Spanish and tailored to specific age groups – babies, toddlers, and preschool age children.  Library storytellers are trained to read using interactive learning techniques to encourage participation and develop school readiness skills.  Also, many storytimes are followed by playtime, where parents and children play with puppets, blocks and board books. 

The libraries offer Positive Parenting sessions in English and Spanish, and just released a new parent webpage for those of you who can’t get to the sessions.   

Check out the San Diego County Library Family Literacy Month and Parenting events for November (*Note:  Childcare available):

Bonita, 11/15, 6pm, Positive Parenting (for parents of babies-preschoolers) in Spanish*
Bonita, 11/21, 6pm, Positive Parenting (for parents of babies-preschoolers) in English*
Cardiff-by-the-Sea, 11/17,  6:30pm, Meal Planning for the Holidays
Del Mar, 11/23, 6:30pm, Pajama Storytime
Lemon Grove, 11/17, 11:30pm, Parent Education Series. 
Poway, Every Monday, 4pm, Spanish/English Bilingual Family Storytime
Poway, 11/16, 6:30pm, Pajama Storytime
Poway, 11/16, 10:30pm, Talleres Para Padres*
San Marcos, 11/21, 3:30pm, Spanish/English Bilingual Family Storytime
Spring Valley, 11/15, 2pm, Spanish/English Bilingual Family Storytime
Vista, Every Tuesday, 6:30pm, Spanish/English Bilingual Family Storytime

To stay updated on all of the great parenting resources the libraries have to offer, click here to subscribe to their newsletter. 

To find a Positive Parenting session or storytime that fits into your schedule, click here to see the library calendar of events. 

For more information on these programs, books or any other resource that the San Diego County Libraries have to offer, call (858) 694-2415 or visit

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to sign-up for a library card, too!

November 1, 2011 - Supervisor Pam Slater-Price (right) read Potter the Otter, A Tale About Water to children at North County Serenity House, a First 5 San Diego Preschool for All site.  Executive Director Barbara Jiménez read the book in Spanish.
November 1, 2011 – Supervisor Pam Slater-Price (right) read Potter the Otter, A Tale About Water to children at North County Serenity House, a First 5 San Diego Preschool for All site. Executive Director Barbara Jiménez read the book in Spanish.

Potter the Otter, A Tale About Water

Drink water for thirst, And you should know, Water is healthy, It helps you grow! – Potter the Otter

First 5 San Diego wants children to grow up healthy and strong, and we know that habits form early.  As a key partner in the County’s Live Well, San Diego! 10-year plan to build better health in the region, First 5 San Diego wants to teach children and their families about the healthy choice of drinking water. 

Meet Potter the Otter, who likes to drink water – and wants you and your young children to do the same.  The otter takes center stage in this preschool book and encourages families and their children to drink fewer sweetened beverages and drink more water.  The tale follows Potter as he goes on a picnic and teaches his friends (Toada who likes to drink soda, Moose and Goose who like to drink juice, Skunks who drink punch, and baby Kangaroos who drink juice pouches) about water along the way.  The bilingual book was created by First 5 Santa Clara County. 

Did You Know?
The average 4-5 year old consumes 17 teaspoons of added sugar a day – which amounts to 65 pounds of added sugar a year.  The majority of a child’s added sugar intake comes from fruit drinks, high-fat desserts, soft drinks and candy.

Figuring out how much sugar is in a drink or food can be tricky.  Check the label and remember the number 4!
Here’s a tip:  Grams of Sugar divided by 4 = Teaspoons of Sugar

For example:  For a 20 ounce soda:  69g of sugar divided by 4 = 17 teaspoons of sugar. 

Potter the Otter’s Tips for Healthy Kids

  • Drink water when you are thirsty.
  • Fill a pitcher with water and add fresh fruit slices for more flavor. 
  • Limit juice to 4 to 6 ounces per day (less than 1 juice box).  Even 100% fruit juice contains sugar and should be limited. 
  • Drink low-fat or non-fat milk with meals – it helps your bones and teeth grow strong. 
  • Prevent tooth decay – do not put soda or juice in a baby bottle or sippy cup. 
  • Make a milkshake using low-fat milk, ice and your favorite berry. 

For more tips and information and to order a book, visit

November 9, 2011 - Commissioner Nick Macchione at San Diego County Childhood Obesity Rate Press Conference.  Also in the photo Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and Executive Director Barbara Jiménez.
November 9, 2011 – Commissioner Nick Macchione at San Diego County Childhood Obesity Rate Press Conference. Also in the photo Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and Executive Director Barbara Jiménez.

San Diego’s Children in Better Health
New Study Reveals Obesity Rate Drops

San Diego County’s young residents are eating healthier and becoming more physically active.  A new study conducted by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA) revealed that the obesity rate among local children dropped by nearly four percent.

The CCPHA study compared collective obesity rates among 5th, 7th, and 9th graders between 2005 and 2010.  The report used data from the California Physical Fitness Test (also called Fitnessgram, which measures heights and weight data to calculate body mass index, the statistic used to determine rates of obesity.)

Last year, the childhood obesity rate in San Diego County was 24.5 percent, down from 35.83 percent in 2005, a 3.7 overall percent change.  The County ranked lower than both the statewide average of 38 percent and the southern California average of 38.78 percent.  Overall, 26 California counties, including San Diego saw a decrease in obesity rates. 

“The County’s aggressive efforts in obesity prevention are producing positive results,” said Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, who chairs the Leadership Team for the Healthy Works campaign, a component of the County’s Live Well, San Diego! initiative.  “We are determined to make the necessary changes which will give our County residents better access to healthy choices.”

The County’s Live Well, San Diego! 10-year plan to build better health in the region was built in part off of the successes of the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, funded in part by First 5 San Diego.  The mission of the Childhood Obesity Initiative is to reduce and prevent childhood obesity in San Diego County by creating healthy environments for all children and families through advocacy, education, policy development, and environmental change.  On November 7, 2011, the First 5 Commission of San Diego approved an additional $390,000 for three years to fund the initiative, with the intent to provide support for systems change to improve children’s health.

For more information about the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, visit
Click here to view the California Center for Public Health Advocacy report on childhood obesity.

First 5 San Diego Wins Top Public Service Announcement Award
First 5 San Diego Wins Top Public Service Announcement Award

First 5 San Diego’s Oral Health campaign recently received the top Public Service Announcement (PSA) award from the Public Relations Society of America in recognition of its efforts to promote good oral health care for pregnant women and children ages 0 through 5. Dental disease is the most prevalent childhood diseases in the nation, yet it is 100% preventable. Studies show that one-third (36.4%) of children ages 5 and under in San Diego County have never visited a dentist. Good dental health is important for pregnant women too, as bacteria from the mother’s tooth decay can affect the health of her unborn child.

The PSAs are a component of First 5 San Diego’s Oral Health Campaign, which ran from February to June 2011. First 5 San Diego’s Oral Health PSAs, available in English and Spanish, highlight the importance of practicing good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups for pregnant mothers, infants, toddlers and preschoolers, as well as the First 5 San Diego Oral Health Initiative which provides free dental checkups and referrals for young children and pregnant women.  Key messages in the PSAs include “Good Oral Health Habits Impact a Child for a Lifetime” and “A Mom’s Oral Health Affects the Health of her Unborn Child”. To watch the PSAs, visit

First 5 San Diego’s Oral Health Initiative (OHI) provides free dental screenings and referrals for treatment for pregnant women and children 0 through 5.  For oral health care tips and information about First 5 San Diego’s Oral Health Initiative, visit  To get connected to oral health care services, call 1-888-5 FIRST 5 (1-888-534-7785). 

Study Shows Text 4 Baby Making a Difference for Moms in San Diego
Study Shows Text 4 Baby Making a Difference for Moms in San Diego

On November 2, 2011, Text4Baby San Diego released its evaluation results and concluded that Text4Baby is making a positive impact for expecting and new mothers in San Diego County.  The study was conducted by the National Latino Research Center at California State University, San Marcos and the University of California, San Diego Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology with support from the Alliance Healthcare Foundation.  38 women were interviewed in-depth and 122 participated in a phone survey.  Overall, women reported that they liked the messages and found them to be helpful, useful and thorough.
Highlights from the survey include:

  • 63.1% of respondents reported that Text4Baby helped them remember an appointment or immunization that they or their child needed
  • 75.4% of participants reported that Text4Baby messages informed them about medical warning signs of which they were not aware
  • 71.3% of participants reported talking to their doctor about a topic that they read on a Text4Baby message
  • 38.5% of respondents reported that they called a phone number they received in a Text4Baby message
  • 53.3%of respondents without health insurance reported calling a service number

Text4Baby San Diego was recognized for being the first in the nation out of more than 650 partners to conduct an evaluation.  Click here to read about the evaluation results featured on the White House Blog.

Text4Baby, is the free national mobile information service that provides health information to mothers from the beginning of their pregnancy through their baby’s first year.  First 5 San Diego provided the San Diego Medical Society Foundation, the lead agency of the Text4Baby Coalition, funding to assist with public outreach for the service. 

To sign up for Text4Baby, text BABY or BEBE (Spanish) to 511411 or visit

October 8, 2011 - First 5 San Diego staff Naomi Chavez and Marco Lemus at the Hope in the Park event.
October 8, 2011 – First 5 San Diego staff Naomi Chavez and Marco Lemus at the Hope in the Park event.

Hope in the Park

First 5 San Diego joined the San Diego Domestic Violence Council and the San Diego County Commission for Children, Youth & Families in their annual Hope in the Park event on Saturday, October 8, 2011 at Balboa Park.  Those who attended the “family violence-free” day received information about local health and social services and had the opportunity to participate in a variety of fun activities.  The event featured a variety of food and live music, a rock climbing wall and other activities for children.

The event was a community effort to prevent domestic violence and promote safe and healthy families and communities.  Families had the opportunity to listen to some very powerful presentations about domestic violence issues in San Diego.  Police officers accepted awards for their heroic efforts to curb domestic violence in the community by risking their lives to respond to domestic violence incidents.  A candlelight vigil was held to remember those that have been affected by domestic violence.  For more information or to get involved in Hope in the Park, email or visit the San Diego Domestic Violence Council website.

Speaking of Women’s Health Conference
Speaking of Women’s Health Conference

First 5 San Diego is pleased to co-sponsor the “Speaking of Women’s Health” conference hosted by Sharp Healthcare at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina on Saturday, November 18, 2011 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Speaking of Women’s Health™ is a national women’s health education program whose mission is to “educate women to make informed decisions about their health, well being and personal safety for themselves and their families.” The one-day conference helps women learn to make these important decisions through a fun and entertaining format. The day’s events include two motivational keynote addresses and a broad range of breakout sessions that focus on the whole woman – from cancer and diabetes education to nutrition and stress management. A featured parenting session will provide tips and tools for a loving, peaceful home. Approximately 850 women are expected to attend. For more information and to register, visit

Father Joe's Villages 15th and Commercial Building Completed.
Father Joe’s Villages 15th and Commercial Building Completed

Father Joe’s Villages Grand Opening

Father Joe’s Villlages will be holding a grand opening and ribbon cutting event for its unique new complex at St. Vincent de Paul Village in San Diego’s East Village neighborhood on December 8, 2011.  Sister Tricia Cruise, board members, and funders will be present, including First 5 San Diego.

The innovative 12-story complex on 15th and Commercial will serve three very different populations under one roof.  It will house a range of services to help end the cycle of homelessness including a child development center, long-term transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing.  The $60 million complex broke ground in May 2010. 

First 5 San Diego provided $6.7 million dollars to fund the construction of the child development center.  The Center will provide every homeless child ages 0 through 5 residing at the family shelter with improved therapeutic child care services to better equip them for school readiness.  The program’s goal is to serve more than 200 children ages 0 through 5 annually, more than doubling the current capacity of 34.

For more information about St. Vincent de Paul Village, visit

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.