LaWanda Wesley describes what first five means to her.

What does First 5 mean to you?

First 5 California originally came around via Prop 10 funding. It was looking at the Tobacco industry to fund birth to five healthcare issues, but we were able to capture early childhood education as a part of that funding. Since it’s been around, we get to have a laser focus on serving children who are furthest from opportunity academically and socially. We get to think about the different aspects and complexities of children who are sometimes left out of the picture and don’t have the same playing field as their peers. First 5 helps us think together as providers, parents, and experts to say what’s best for our children.

What are you looking forward to for this conference?

This conference really starts to tackle that because we have researchers who are presenting on concepts. We have practitioners who are strong in what they do, telling us that there are deeper systemic issues occuring. This Summit in particular addresses systems, so it helps us understand how we lift up early care and education in the system instead of doing individual tactics that don’t end up working.

What have been some highlights of the conference so far for you?

When I come here, I get to see and hear from people I wouldn’t normally get to converse with, because we work in our respective counties. Because of conferences, we’re now friends within our county and we get to have exposure to statewide and national experts. They help us think more critically about how to best serve children and families.

First 5 Alameda