Ronnie Robinson, section manager systems and communication, reads to an attendee at F5SB's Play Zone held at the Perinatal Equity Initiative's Community Day.

Recently two important conferences reflecting F5SB’s investment areas of systems and education were held, one furthering the importance of early education for young children, and the other focusing on the perinatal disparities within Black and African American women with an emphasis on how to provide culturally safe care. 

The 13th Annual Preschool Services Conference, hosted by San Bernardino County’s Preschool Services Department (PSD), was held in Ontario on August 25.  In the conference exhibit area, F5SB provided 3,240 Potter the Otter books to preschool professionals attending the conference.  “The teachers were so appreciative, it was wonderful,” said LuCretia Dowdy, F5SB’s community engagement specialist.  Other supplies provided included 1,000 F5SB ‘hand pens,’ tissues and oral health wipes, Dowdy added. 

Additionally, the Perinatal Equity Initiatives (PEI) Summit held September 16-17 was an essential priority for the Inland Empire, as it allowed opportunities for Black and African American families, perinatal providers, behavioral health providers, midwifes, doulas, funders, policy makers and advocates to connect and discuss critical strategies to positively impact the perinatal disparities that exist within our region.  Held on the campus of California Baptist University, F5SB participated in the Community Day by providing a children’s play zone and resources to families and conference attendees alike.  “It’s always a pleasure to engage with the community and be able to connect the families to needed resources,” said Alexa Gutierrez, staff analyst II.  “People are grateful to have the space to learn, interact and to also see their kids learn in their own ways.  It is beautiful to see the difference we can make in so many lives,” Gutierrez concluded. 

Karen Scott, executive director of F5SB, noted the distinguished panel of speakers and the participation by these highly trained professionals is an indicator of the level of commitment PSD and PEI have to young children and their families.  “It’s wonderful to see these organizations, and a host of community partners, working hard to provide opportunities and changing the narrative.  Truly they are making a difference,” Scott concluded.