First 5 supports El Dorado County children |

First 5 supports El Dorado County children

Provided to the Tribune

In a triumph for local children, the First 5 El Dorado Children and Families Commission approved $77,000 to fund projects that serve children ages 0 to 5 and their families throughout the country. The funding approval, along with the decision to hire Richard Alford as the commission’s community program coordinator, was announced after the June 14 commission meeting.

“This funding allows us to continue making a difference in the lives of El Dorado County children and their families,” said Steven Thaxton, M.Ed., executive director of First 5 El Dorado Children and Families Commission. “The funded programs all work toward our goals of keeping our children healthy, creating strong families and preparing children to reach their greatest potential in school and in life.”

The one-time short-term grants are awarded annually and range from $1,000 to $7,500. Of the grants approved, 10 were new applicants.

To help manage the newly funded programs as well as First 5 El Dorado Children and Families Commission’s ongoing projects, Alford will officially join the staff Aug. 1. He has extensive experience in grants management and data collection and is bilingual in Spanish. The California State University, Sacramento, graduate and his family will relocate to the greater Sacramento area from Shasta County, where he is employed by the Shasta County Department of Social Services.

“The children and families of El Dorado county and our commission will benefit greatly from the addition of Richard,” said Lynn Lucas, commissioner of First 5 El Dorado Children and Families Commission. “His insights and expertise will only improve our efforts to serve the diverse needs of the children in our community.”

Research shows that a child’s brain develops most dramatically in the first five years and what parents and caregivers do during these years to support their child’s growth will have a meaningful impact throughout life. Based on this research, California voters passed Proposition 10 in 1998, adding a 50 cents-per-pack tax on cigarettes to support programs for expectant parents and children 0 to 5.

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