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Changing Family life used to be much easier. Parents didn’t have to work so hard to make ends meet. Grandparents and other family members lived down the street. If you needed someone to watch the kids, or if you had a question about measles or misbehavior, help was always nearby. Today, many parents face longer work hours, frequent moves, blended families, and relatives living far away. We truly love our children and want the best for them. But some days it’s a struggle to give them all the care and attention they need in order to succeed later in life.

Vision All Mendocino County children will be born healthy, thrive in a supportive, healthy, nurturing and loving environment, enter school eager to learn, and become capable, contributing members of our community.

Mission FIRST 5 Mendocino shall use its resources to establish, fund, coordinate, evaluate and advocate for programs that promote the health and development for young children in Mendocino County.

Proposition 10 In 1998, California voters passed Proposition 10, creating the First 5 movement, to help families raise children in a new and changing world. Using tobacco tax money, FIRST 5 Mendocino now invests in healthy child development – because if we don’t, we’ll eventually spend much more on at-risk students, substance abuse, health care, and crime prevention.

To Be

Healthy Children

Healthy Kids Mendocino Health care costs have skyrocketed. In the last 10 years the average premium for a family has more than doubled, making it harder for families to afford their children’s health care expenses. Launched in 2006, Healthy Kids Mendocino ensures that every child in the county has access to affordable health insurance coverage. Enrolling children into health insurance prevents chronic illness. It also benefits the local economy by reducing the amount of school children miss, increasing revenue in schools and saving money in uncompensated hospital care. Healthy Kids Mendocino brought more than $1 million into Mendocino County in 2007, improving the community and economic health.

When Julia was two years old, she developed a complex blood disorder that left her pale and always tired. Without health insurance, Julia’s parents were unable to find a specialist willing to care for her at an affordable cost. Although Julia’s parents were both working, the care they could afford to provide was simply not enough. Julia grew increasingly weak with each passing year. Once Julia was enrolled into one of the Healthy Kids Mendocino programs, she was taken to see a pediatric specialist for the diagnosis and treatment. With tears in her eyes, her mother told us, “My daughter is like a new person. I am so grateful to see her healthy, and to this community for helping us.”

Healthy Kids Mendocino Partners & Funders: Alliance for Rural Community Health, Anderson Valley Health Center, the Community Foundation of Mendocino County , the Baristas at Ukiah Natural Foods, County of Mendocino, Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital, Fetzer Vineyards, Friedman’s Home Improvement, Good Buy Clothes, George and Ruth Bradford Foundation, John and Nancy Buechsenstein, Laytonville Healthy Start, Long Valley Health Center, Mendocino Community Health Clinic, Mendocino Coast Children’s Fund, Mendocino Coast Clinics, Mendocino County Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency, Mendocino County Office of Education, Nuestra Casa, Potter Valley Community Health Center, Redwood Coast Medical Services, Safe Passage, Suzanne and Robert Hardie, T.R. Eriksen Foundation, Ukiah Valley Medical Center, United Way of the Wine Country, and many other funders and private foundations.

To Be

Healthy Children

Pediatric Dental Initiative The average 4 year-old consumes 65 pounds of sugar a year. Sugar consumption combined with inadequate dental care can lead to advanced dental diseases. Families used to travel as far as Atwater, 230 miles away, to gain access to proper dental care for their children. Pediatric Dental Initiative (PDI), a public-private partnership, celebrated the opening of its very own self-sustaining surgery center in Windsor, CA. A partnership with FIRST 5 Mendocino, First 5 Marin, First 5 Sonoma, First 5 Lake and many other funders has been formed to ensure efficient use of resources. Over 200 Mendocino County children received care at the Pediatric Dental Initiative and are back to playing and smiling.

Nutrition and Fitness Research shows that one in three California children is at risk of being overweight. Physical fitness and good nutrition are essential for healthy child development, which is why we support numerous initiatives dedicated to this effort.

Safe Play Areas Unstructured play is essential for creativity, exploration, imagination, friendship and adventure among children. This year we granted $75,000 towards public playground areas in Round Valley, Anderson Valley, Potter Valley, Redwood Valley, Point Arena, and Whale Gulch.

SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids) SPARK is an innovative physical activity program that has been honored as an “Exemplary Program” by the U.S. Department of Education. Since Fall 2006, we’ve trained more than 200 local child care providers in SPARK and provided equipment to 65 facilities. SPARK ensures that no child loses and everyone learns a non-competitive approach to physical activity.

Indoor Playground This summer our county was threatened by more than 100 wildfires throughout our community. In response to the poor air quality, FIRST 5 Mendocino partnered with Ukiah Unified School District, Alex Rorabaugh Center, and Healthy Kids Mendocino to provide a smoke-free indoor playground for children.

Community Gardens Children are more likely to make healthy eating choices when they are taught the nutritional benefits of growing their own food. This year North Coast Opportunities Community Garden Project received $75,000 to initiate five Head Start and State Preschool Family Gardens where children and families learn how to grow, prepare and enjoy fresh, nutritious produce.

Nutrition & FItness Grantees: Anderson Valley Unified School Districtl, Redwood Valley Lion’s Club County Park, Potter Valley Youth and Community Center, Whale Gulch School, Arena State Preschool, Round Valley Head Start, NCO Community Gardens Project, UC Cooperative Extension.

Raise & Shine Parents love their children, but the way our lives are structured in today’s busy world makes it difficult to develop the parent-child relationship. With the limited time parents have to spend with their children it is important that it is quality time. Raise & Shine helps families with children ages 0-5 find positive solutions to common behavior problems such as disobedience, whining, and lying by using evidence-based approaches. This year, Raise & Shine served a total of 758 children whose parents have been counseled through workshops, individual sessions and college courses.

Steve’s four year old son had been misbehaving, especially in school. With a flip of a switch he was hitting, throwing things and became angry if he was ever disciplined. His behavior worsened to the point where Steve couldn’t even control his son at home. Steve and his son needed help. Steve attended positive parenting sessions where he learned new approaches to help improve his son’s behavior. Now his son helps with the laundry, dresses himself every day, participates in preschool, and stands proud for his father’s recognition.

Raise & Shine Partners: Action Network Family Resource Center, Anderson Valley Health Center, Baechtel Creek Medical Clinic, The California Endowment, Consolidated Tribal Health Project, Long Valley Community Health Clinic, Mendocino College, Mendocino Community Health Clinic, Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency, Mendocino County Youth Project, New Morning Montessori Preschool, North Coast Opportunities—Head Start, Redwood Children’s Services— Children’s Therapeutic Services, Tapestry Family Services, Ukiah Valley Primary Care Medical Group, WEAVE & WISH Special Needs Project, and independent providers throughout Mendocino County.

Kit for New Parents Kit for New Parents is a free toolkit of resources that enables parents to promote their children’s health, safety, learning and development. More than 50 organizations help distribute 1,100 kits per year within Mendocino County.

Smoke Alarms One of the simplest and most effective ways to save lives in residential fires is to install smoke alarms. Through a partnership with local fire districts, FIRST 5 Mendocino provides free smoke alarms to families with young children. Our goal is to ensure that all children in Mendocino County are living in homes with working smoke alarms.

Turn Off TV~Turn On Life A one year old in the U.S. watches an average of six hours of television per week, yet the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zero hours per week for children 2 and under. FIRST 5 Mendocino promotes Turn Off TV~Turn On Life Week throughout the county. We encourage caregivers to spend more time interacting with and nurturing young children and less time in front of the television and other video screens. This year we granted $4,000 to Reach Out and Read medical providers and distributed over 2,000 books to promote an alternative to screen time.

“The fire department came over and put detectors all through the house, one in every bedroom and in the kitchen and wherever else they needed to. I feel safer now. And I definitely want my boys to be safe.� -Jennifer Frew

To Be Children Special Needs Project Every child is unique and some children need extra help to develop in a healthy way. FIRST 5 Mendocino funds free developmental screenings for every child ages 0-5 in Round Valley and Willits. The screening checks the child’s physical, cognitive and emotional development, helping parents learn what is typical and what needs a second look. This early detection will save resources later in life. Through this program 20% more children with special needs have been found and treated before kindergarten.

School Readiness The goal of our School Readiness project is to help children arrive at kindergarten happy, healthy and already engaged in learning. We focus these efforts on four elementary schools: Hopland; Round Valley; Brookside in Willits; and Nokomis in Ukiah. Each school has a full-time Parent Advocate who connects parents, nearby preschools, and child care providers with services to help transition children smoothly into kindergarten. They also help families enroll children into health insurance, teach them how to use their local libraries and host fun activity nights for the community. This year they distributed 250 School Readiness backpacks customized to fit the needs of the child preparing for school.

Mendocino County’s Special Needs Project is part of a First 5 California effort in ten demonstration counties. Mendocino County Office of Education administers this project, known as WEAVE (We Encourage & Value Education) in Covelo, and WISH (Willits Inclusion Services for Healthy Development) in Willits.

To Attend Child Care Comprehensive Approaches to Raising Educational Standards (CARES) Child care remains one of the lowest-paid professions in the state. High turnover rates among providers and an aging workforce threatens the future availability and quality of child care services in California. In Mendocino County the median wage in 2002 for a new hire in the child care field was just $11,635. Research shows that the quality of child care is directly related to: •

Consistency of care by one provider

Level of the provider’s compensation

Level of the provider’s education

CARES stipends for child care providers address all three factors. FIRST 5 Mendocino recognizes that supporting the provider, supports the child. CARES encourages providers to increase their education and awards stipends on tier levels according to the extent of education and training achieved. This year, FIRST 5 Mendocino awarded $215,000 directly to 102 child care providers. We also invested over $71,000 in training and education opportunities through our local colleges and other training organizations.

CARES Partners: Mendocino County Child Care Planning Council, the California Department of Education, First 5 California, Redwood Empire Association for the Education of Young Children, Mendocino Coast Association for the Education of Young Children, North Coast Opportunities Rural Communities Child Care, Mendocino College.

To Benefit from a Family Resource Center Network


Family Resource Centers (FRC) are friendly places where families can go for help with all kinds of issues. FRC’s offer parenting classes, help families get health insurance, emergency housing, and transportation. This year we granted $150,000 to help Family Resource Centers offer services that are proven to make a difference for families. These grants will also help the centers save money by encouraging their working together through a newly formed FRC Network. The networks goal is to increase efficiency among centers, because when it comes to functions such as payroll, fundraising, and staff training, there is indeed strength in numbers.

Family Resource Network: Anderson Valley, Round Valley, Nuestra Alianza, Potter Valley Youth & Community Center, Safe Passage, Action Network, Laytonville Healthy Start, Nuestra Casa.

To Use Services that Prior Expenditures 2004 2005 2006 2007

$1,869,097 $1,379,429 $1,643,478 $1,893,545

Fiscal Year 2007-2008 Beginning Balance Revenue Expenditures End of Year Balance

$3,000,399 $1,694,027 $2,369,639 $2,324,787

Administration Evaluation 6% Nurturing 2% Community 3%

Healthy Children 21%

Quality Child Care 16%

Ready to Learn 33%

Knowledgeable, Nurturing Parents 19%

166 Gobbi Street, Ukiah, CA 95482 Tel: (707) GO CHILD (462-4453) Email:

FIRST 5 Mendocino Commissioners

David Colfax, Ph.D., Board of Supervisors, 5th District, Mendocino County Mary Elliott, Children and Family Branch Director, Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency Alison Glassey, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Mendocino County

FIRST 5 Mendocino Staff

Anne Cecile Molgaard, Executive Director Candace Pomilia, CARES Program Assistant Kirsten Logan, Administrative Manager Lydia Lopez, Office Assistant Maya Stuart, Raise & Shine Program Manager Menaka Olson, Program Assistant

Jim Levine, Community Activist and Youth Advocate

Natalie Swiencki, Community Outreach Coordinator (VISTA)

Jeremy Mann, M.D., Chair, Pediatrician

Pam Ivey, Executive Secretary

Diane Pauli, Philanthropist and Small Business Advocate Lucresha RenterĂ­a, Director of Adminisrative Services, Mendocino Coast Clinics, Inc. Tammy Scott, Director, New Life Preschool Paul Tichinin, Superintendent, Mendocino County Office of Education Special thanks to former Commissioner Betty Smith for her commitment to the Commission and to young children and families in Mendocino County.

Nicole Bransford-Smith, Nutrition & Fitness Advocate (VISTA) Sabra Lugthart, Program Manager

2008 Annual Report  

FIRST 5 Mendocino Annual Report