Newsletter September – October 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

Kim Medeiros The Director’s Corner
Kim Medeiros

From the moment you step into parenthood, your needs often come second to the needs of your child. Taking care of YOU becomes a difficult task. Your priorities change; and your own physical and mental health just doesn’t seem as important as the attention you give to your child. In honor of October as Emotional Wellness Month, First 5 San Diego reminds parents and caregivers that taking care of your own health and well-being is an important step towards being the best parent you can be. This is critical to improving our region’s overall health, safety and success – the goal of Live Well, San Diego!

Here are some tips for taking care of your physical, emotional and mental health:

  • Eat healthy – Make sure you eat balanced, nutritious meals and snacks each day. Fill your plate with plenty of fruits and vegetables, but also include a whole grain, dairy product and lean protein like chicken or fish.
  • Exercise – Fit exercise into your daily routine. Exercise is not only good for your physical health, but helps with your emotional and mental health too. Exercise helps to boost confidence and reduces stress and anxiety. Don’t feel like you have to exercise for long periods of time either. It’s the quality not the quantity. Experts say that with just a 15-20 minute workout, you can achieve great benefits.
  • Get sleep Sleep is often the first thing you may lose out on once you become a parent. When you have a newborn or an infant, try to sleep when they sleep. Once your child is sleeping independently, try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Take time out for yourself – Whether it’s to read a book or go for a walk, take some “me” time each day. You may even try waking up early before everyone else to have some time alone, gather your thoughts, and plan your day accordingly.
  • Build a support system – Creating a strong support system of family and friends is critical. If you don’t have family nearby, establish a quality network of friends who you can trust to help take care of your child and give you a break every now and then.

First 5 San Diego provides resources for parents of children ages 0 through 5 including a no-cost Kit for New Parents, which consists of an Advice for New Parents guide and DVD. To order your Kit and have it delivered to you, call our warmline 1-888-5 FIRST 5. Our Healthy Development Services (HDS) program offers bilingual Parent Education, Support, and Empowerment workshops at various locations throughout the County. Topics range from Positive Parenting Techniques to How to Deal with your Child’s Difficult Behavior. To find a HDS service near you, visit

Listen to Myesha (English) and Ruby (Spanish) tell their story about how First 5 San Diego has educated, supported and empowered them as parents (Click images to play):


As you can see from the stories above, First 5 continues to make a difference in the lives of San Diego’s young children and families.


Kim Medeiros

Self-Confidence: A Building Block to Success
Self-Confidence: A Building Block to Success
Nurturing children’s emotional development from birth

During early childhood, one of the most important things a parent, teacher or caregiver can do is nurture a child’s self-confidence so they learn to gradually become more independent. Studies show that children who have high self-esteem are more likely to succeed in school and in life. 

First 5 San Diego offers some general tips to help build self-confidence in young children and foster healthy social and emotional development:

  • Focus on relationships – Through loving relationships that offer security, comfort and encouragement, children gain confidence to explore the world around them. Spend quality time with your child every day and show affection. This lets them know they are loved and teaches them relationship-building skills. It is also important to provide opportunities for your child to develop connections with other children close in age. Children learn how to share and resolve conflict by interacting together.
  • Give positive feedback – Acknowledge children’s efforts to learn new skills and face challenges at different periods of development. Praise your child for doing a good job during all stages of their early life – when they start crawling and walking to forming words and counting. This reinforces self-worth and increases a child’s sense of satisfaction. Also, support your child’s efforts to tackle a new activity and learn from mistakes. When facing a challenge, encourage them to try again and offer help only if they need it. 
  • Nurture independence – Provide opportunities for your child to accomplish tasks on their own and nurture their own sense of curiosity. This helps them become more secure in their abilities and in themselves. Give your child age-appropriate responsibilities, such as picking up toys or setting the table. When they learn to master or finish a task, their confidence will grow. Also, encourage your child to explore a range of creative activities, like painting or telling a story. This helps them become more comfortable in expressing ideas and feelings.
  • Be a good role model – Children learn by watching adults and imitating their behavior. If you are confident in your abilities, your child will learn to be confident too.  If you’re too harsh on yourself or overly pessimistic, your child may eventually mirror this behavior. In addition, show respect to your child by listening to them, looking them in the eyes when having a conversation, and speaking kindly – all behaviors that help reinforce a child’s sense of self-worth.

For more tips and advice for nurturing your child’s self-confidence, visit or

New Way to Understand Your Baby's Crying
New Way to Understand Your Baby’s Crying

The “Period of PURPLE Crying”, more commonly known as “colic”, is the new term used to describe the developmental stage of increased crying during the first few months of a baby’s life. The phase typically begins at about 2-weeks-old and may continue until about 3-4 months of age. When told their baby has colic, many parents feel confused and concerned because it sounds like an illness or something is wrong, when actually it is a normal developmental phase. Thus, the term “Period of PURPLE Crying” provides an easier way to help parents understand what their babies are experiencing. This is not because the baby turns purple while crying. PURPLE is an acronym to describe the characteristics of the stage:

  • Peak of crying – Your baby may cry more each week; the most at 2 months, then less at 3-5 months.
  • Unexpected – Crying can come and go and you don’t know why.
  • Resists soothing – Your baby may not stop crying no matter what you try.
  • Pain-like face – A crying baby may look like they are in pain, even when they are not.
  • Long lasting – Crying can last as long as five hours each day, and on some days more.
  • Evening – Your baby may cry more in the late afternoon or in the evening.

During this period of a baby’s life, many parents or caregivers often feel frustrated and discouraged. In fact, the Period of PURPLE Crying is the number one trigger for parents shaking and abusing their babies, likely to cause bodily injury and even death. To avoid such feelings, the best thing parents and caregivers can do is to ask a loved one to take care of the baby for a while. If someone is not available, place your baby in a safe place and take a minute or two to calm down in another room. For more information on the Period of PURPLE Crying, visit For information about Shaken Baby Syndrome, visit

A Healthy Start for the School Year
A Healthy Start for the School Year

We know that children learn better when they are healthy. One way to prepare your child for another year of learning is to make sure they are up-to-date on needed medical services and dental check-ups, and their health information is current.

The 100% Campaign, in partnership with the California School Health Centers Association, developed the “Starting Healthy” back-to-school checklist to help parents identify what to do to ensure their children are healthy and ready to learn when they go back to school.

Please download this new guide, available in English and Spanish, and share it with other parents in your networks so that all children can start the school year off right.

With each school year, knowing what to expect as your child grows can reassure you that your child is developmentally on track or help you identify potential concerns. Click here to learn some developmental milestones to watch for as your child begins preschool or Kindergarten.

City Heights Gives Incoming Kindergartners a Boost
More than 900 Hoover Cluster incoming Kindergartners received free backpacks with supplies and educational materials, including a Potter the Otter book donated by First 5 San Diego, City Heights, Calif., August 27-31, 2012

City Heights Gives Incoming Kindergartners a Boost

From August 27-31, 2012, the City Heights Partnership for Children hosted free developmental screenings for incoming Kindergartners at 10 Hoover Cluster elementary schools. Parents were given the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) to help them assess their child’s development and identify developmental delays or special needs. More than 900 children in attendance received a free backpack and school supplies, donated by JPMorgan Chase. First 5 San Diego also provided each child with a “Potter the Otter: A Tale About Water” book to encourage them to read every day.

Spearheaded by Price Charities, the City Heights Partnership for Children is a broad coalition of residents, non-profits, businesses, philanthropies, and public agencies that aims to provide long-term support for neighborhood children “from cradle to career.” Among the partners are the United Way of San Diego, The California Endowment, the San Diego Foundation, San Diego State University, City of San Diego, and the San Diego Police Department.

City Heights is a diverse community, with approximately 78,000 residents living in roughly three square miles. Almost all of the children in the area live below or near the federal poverty line.

First 5 San Diego Awarded More than $10 Million Grant
First 5 San Diego Awarded More than $10 Million Grant

First 5 San Diego announced it has received an award of more than $10 million for First 5 California’s Child Signature Program to ensure quality early childhood education in the county.

“Funding for early childhood education has faced dramatic cuts over the last couple of years,” said Supervisor Bill Horn, Chair of the First 5 Commission. “As a result, families in San Diego with the greatest need face limited access and lower quality of services.”

First 5 California approved more than $65 million to be allocated to eight First 5 County Commissions for the Child Signature Program, with the goal of increasing quality in early childhood education programs for preschool-aged children. The program provides a common framework of quality standards for each commission to implement through their preschool programs.

In San Diego, the $10,363,875 award will be leveraged through the First 5 San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative (QPI) – a new early education initiative – which invests more than $55 million in the community over the next three years. First 5 San Diego will also use a federal grant for the same purpose:  Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC), which may bring in more than $4 million to San Diego over the next four years. This prestigious award went to only nine states in the country.

“First 5’s investments are key to the County’s Live Well, San Diego! initiative, which aims to achieve healthy, safe and thriving communities,” said Nick Macchione, First 5 Commissioner and Director of the County Health and Human Services Agency. “Quality early care and education impact a child’s healthy development well into adulthood as they are more likely to do better in school, graduate from college, get better jobs and are less likely to commit crime.”

Set to begin this fall, QPI will provide high-quality preschool services to three and four-year-old children in 12 communities throughout San Diego County – Borrego Springs, Central San Diego, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Escondido, Lemon Grove, Mountain Empire, National City, San Ysidro, South Bay, Valley Center/Pauma, and Vista. First 5 has contracted with the San Diego County Office of Education to coordinate the initiative.

“These funds will help us continue quality services that families with children ages 0 through 5 rely upon to raise healthy, Kindergarten-ready children,” said Kim Medeiros, Executive Director of First 5 San Diego.

2012 Staff Development Summit
Nancy Page gave an overview of First 5 San Diego’s Healthy Development Services (HDS) program at the 2012 First 5 Staff Development Summit, July 20, 2012, Rancho Cordova, Calif.

2012 Staff Development Summit

Representatives from First 5 Commissions across the state attended the “2012 Staff Development Summit: A Statewide Voice for Child Well-Being.” The summit was held July 18-20, 2012, in Rancho Cordova, Calif. In addition to peer-to-peer discussions and Commission leader meetings, the summit featured keynote presentations by Diana Dooley, Secretary of the California Department of Health and Human Services Agency, and Daniel Weintraub, Editor of

Gloria Corral, Assistant Executive Director of First 5 San Diego, served on the panel “Race to the Top – First 5s Taking the Lead.” The four-person panel focused on the Race to the Top funding and its role in spurring broader cross-county conversations about defining, supporting, and measuring preschool quality.

The summit ended with a county showcase, highlighting some of the most impactful First 5 county commission programs from across California. First 5 San Diego’s Healthy Development Services (HDS) was among the 15 programs featured. Nancy Page, First 5 San Diego Health Projects Coordinator, presented an overview of HDS and some of its key elements:

  1. System-wide screening and assessment tools
  2. High-quality treatment services
  3. Comprehensive approach
  4. Experienced subcontractors and extensive partnerships
  5. Integration of Services
  6. Parent education, support and empowerment
  7. Countywide coordination

For more information about the summit, visit

Summer Movies in the Park Wraps Up
First 5 San Diego was a proud sponsor of the County’s Summer in the Park series held at various locations throughout the region. Above, families gathered at the 4S Ranch Sports Park, June 2, 2012

Summer Movies in the Park Wraps Up

 “… And that’s a wrap!” That is, for the County’s 2012 Summer Movies in the Park program, which featured more than 50 family-friendly outdoor flicks for free. More than 13,000 residents enjoyed films like “Cars,” “The Muppets,” and “Despicable Me” at various locations throughout San Diego County.

The County’s Department of Parks and Recreation, working with the cities of San Diego, El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, National City, Oceanside, and Poway, put together the largest free movie event in the region. First 5 San Diego was a sponsor, along with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, and other local business and organizations. 

First 5 San Diego Executive Director Kim Medeiros was on hand at the U.S.S. Midway on July 3 as 1,200 moviegoers watched “Captain America.” Prior to the film, Medeiros spoke to families about the importance of spending quality time together.

“Summer Movies in the Park fosters a positive environment for families, helping to promote a young child’s healthy social emotional development,” said Medeiros.

The event runs through the end of September. To find remaining dates and locations, visit

Fiesta del Sol San Diego
First 5 San Diego sponsored Fiesta del Sol San Diego’s Children’s Pavillion, August 11-12, 2012, San Diego, Calif.

Fiesta del Sol San Diego

First 5 San Diego was pleased to co-sponsor the 7th annual Fiesta del Sol San Diego event held August 11-12, 2012, at Cesar Chavez Park on San Diego Bay. Presented by Justice Overcoming Boundaries (J.O.B.), more than 75,000 people attended the free two-day festival in celebration of the history and diversity of the region’s rich cultures while honoring Latino communities’ contributions to San Diego.

The event featured live entertainment, food, art, vendors, and activities for all ages. The fiesta also provided community resources, education and advocacy opportunities at themed pavilions – Education, Youth Zone, Health and Wellness, Green Tech Zone, and Community Action. First 5 San Diego sponsored a Children’s Pavilion that provided educational resources, arts and crafts, and games for young children. Other sponsors included Pepsi, Cricket Wireless, Toyota, Ford, Viejas, Recuerdo 102.9, La Nueva 106.5, Port of San Diego, San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, and other local businesses and organizations.

J.O.B. is a non-profit organization whose mission is to invest in the development of community leaders so they may address issues affecting families. For more information about J.O.B., visit

Lantern Festival Lights Up City Heights
First 5 San Diego partnered with Price Charities at their child development booth, City Heights Lantern Festival, August 17-19, 2012

Lantern Festival Lights Up City Heights
At night, more than 6,000 lanterns lined El Cajon Boulevard

Lantern Festival Lights Up City Heights

First 5 San Diego participated in the 4th annual San Diego Lantern Festival held August 17-19, 2012, at the Little Saigon District in City Heights. The multicultural family event was hosted by the Little Saigon Foundation and the community-at-large in an effort to revitalize City Heights through cultural and economic empowerment.

The Lantern Festival is an ancient Vietnamese tradition that dates back more than 2,000 years. Each night, more than 6,000 silk lanterns lit up El Cajon Boulevard while thousands of visitors enjoyed carnival rides and games, live music and entertainment, and authentic cuisine.

First 5 San Diego partnered with Price Charities at their information booth to promote the importance of a child’s healthy development.

Neighborhood Healthcare Offers Free Dental Clinic
A tooth fairy visited children at the Summer Bash event and gave away First 5’s Sesame Street Dental Kits, Escondido, Calif., September 8, 2012

Neighborhood Healthcare Offers Free Dental Clinic

Children and pregnant women received free dental screenings, sealants, and fluoride varnish September 8, 2012. The free dental clinic was hosted by Neighborhood Healthcare, in partnership with North County Dental Task Force, Share the Care, San Diego Dental Society, and First 5 San Diego.

Patients were also provided with a review of their immunization cards and access to community resources. Other activities included arts and crafts, games, and an educational presentation about bacteria given by the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.

Neighborhood Healthcare is a service provider of First 5 San Diego’s Oral Health Initiative, which provides dental screenings and referrals for treatment for children under age 5 and pregnant women.

Featured First 5 Contractor - Neighborhood Healthcare
Featured First 5 Contractor – Neighborhood Healthcare

Founded in 1969, Neighborhood Healthcare is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) community health organization with the mission “to provide quality health care and promote wellness to everyone in our communities, focusing on those most in need.” The organization provides 270,600 medical, dental and behavioral health visits to 66,500 people annually. 

Services include medical care for all ages, prenatal care, family planning, HIV testing, dental and behavioral health services, health education, and pharmacy and lab services. Other health programs include:

  • Enrollment assistance for Healthy Families and Medi-Cal
  • Parenting classes
  • Lactation education and support
  • Peer driven services for teen pregnancy prevention
  • Dental health education and outreach to promote dental health in children
  • Case management for homeless patients
  • Outreach to isolated monolingual senior Latinos conducted by senior Promotores to identify Latino seniors at risk for depression
  • Interventions for overweight children

Neighborhood Healthcare began as an all-volunteer neighborhood clinic in Escondido and now has 10 health centers located throughout San Diego and Riverside counties. Service areas include Escondido, San Marcos, Valley Center, Pauma Valley, Pala, El Cajon, Lakeside, Santee, La Mesa, Spring Valley, Lemon Grove, Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, and surrounding communities. 

Neighborhood Healthcare provides First 5 San Diego’s oral health services at its Escondido and Pauma Valley clinics.   For more information about Neighborhood Healthcare, visit

Upcoming Community Events

Kids Care Fest
Sept. 22, 2012
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Briercrest Park
9001 Wakarusa St., La Mesa, CA 91942

Sharp Women’s Health Conference
Oct. 6, 2012
7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina
1380 Harbor Island Dr., San Diego, CA 92101

Fil-Am Fest
Oct. 6, 2012
11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Paradise Valley Road, San Diego, CA 92139
(between Woodman Street and Gilmartin Avenue, next to Paradise Hill’s Park)

Hope in the Park
Oct.13, 2012
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101
(on Sixth Avenue, south of Laurel Street)

Serra Mesa Community Fair
Oct. 20, 2012
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cabrillo Heights Neighborhood Park
8308 Hurlbut St., San Diego, CA 92123

Operation Parenthood
Oct. 31, 2012
Time TBD
Camp Pendleton, CA

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.