Staff members of First 5 San Mateo

Community Partner of the Year: First 5 San Mateo

First 5 is one of the largest investors in young children in the State of California. Funded by Proposition 10 in 1998, First 5 transforms tobacco taxes into support for young children in the areas of health, early learning, family engagement, and in larger system-wide changes. State-wide, First 5 has invested more than $10 billion in young children and their families. In 2018, First 5 San Mateo will celebrate 20 years of investment in San Mateo County children.

The partnership between First 5 and Peninsula Family Service began in 2005, and has adapted over the years to meet the most pressing needs of local families. “Our current grant supports two Therapeutic Child Development Centers that Peninsula Family Service runs in collaboration with LifeMoves. This initiative provides early childhood education for homeless toddlers and preschool age children,” said Kitty Lopez, Executive Director for First 5 San Mateo.

More than a decade later, Peninsula Family Service and First 5 San Mateo continue to work together, providing quality Early Learning education for 450 children every day and ensuring that their development is not halted by life’s circumstances. As Kitty stated, “Together we are working towards providing support and education for our county’s most vulnerable and at-risk children. Peninsula Family Service has been a great community partner and co-advocate for children and families in San Mateo County.”

Early development and intervention are crucial for the future of a child. “Studies show that 90% of the brain is developed during the first five years of life. As a society, we have an obligation to do all we can during those first five years to make sure all children get the very best start”, says Kitty. First 5’s long term goal is clear: “Our main goal is for San Mateo County to give priority to young children and their families. We are confident that with Peninsula Family Service as our partner, we can make this goal a reality.”

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