Chief Correspondent, Southern California

First 5 LA launches awareness campaign

LOS ANGELES – First 5 LA, a leading public grantmaker and early childhood advocacy organization, launched a new, innovative Family Strengthening Public Awareness Campaign and Parenting website on July 7 at the City Terrace Park here. The first phase of the multiyear campaign focuses on raising awareness and understanding of parenting challenges, helping parents and caregivers in Los Angeles County build social connections. Caregivers will be encouraged to implement positive changes in their day-to-day interactions with their child, social networks and community.
First 5 LA (www.first5la.org) was created in 1998, by California voters to invest Proposition 10 tobacco tax revenues in L.A. County.

In partnership with others, First 5 LA strengthens families, communities, and systems of services and supports so that all children in L.A. County enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life. The organization believes that the first five years of life establish the foundation for the future success of our children. First 5 LA has invested more than $1.2 billion in efforts aimed at providing the best start for children from prenatal to age 5 and their families.
“Parents and caregivers are at the heart of a child’s development,” said First 5 LA executive director Kim Belshé, “and we want them to know that they are not alone in their efforts.” The campaign, she added, is built on research about what type of resources the parents and caregivers of L.A. County would find beneficial and would support the positive outcomes we all want for L.A.’s kids.
The new parenting website (www.First5LA.org/Parenting), also launched July 7, was built with mobile users in mind, making all of the features accessible and easy to use on smartphones and tablets. (Most parents use smartphones far more frequently than laptops, desktops or tablets to receive information.)

The site is an online resource hub designed for parents and caregivers. It features a calendar with free and low-cost family-friendly events, exclusive coupons for kid-friendly venues such as the L.A. Zoo and California ScienCenter, and originally-written and researched articles on a variety of early childhood development topics. The website also offers an “Ask a Parent Coach” feature where parents and caregivers can submit questions and get advice tailored to their needs on 20 topics.
“All parents and caregivers want information they can trust and depend on,” stated First 5 LA Board of Commissioners vice chair Judy Abdo. “We also know young parents look to the internet and social media for guidance and support. This campaign offers information parents can trust and its mobile-friendly version makes it even more accessible.” She asserted that reaching younger parents is a critical part of their work and “the launch of this campaign and website is an important step for us.”
Research shows that parents and caregivers rely on both personal sources such as friends, family, pediatricians and digital sources such as parenting sites, sites sponsored by trusted organizations, and Facebook to receive information about parenting. Parents learn about reliable digital sources from

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