Wendy Dickens describes what first five means to her.

What is your county doing in order to increase school readiness?

So, a couple things that are happening in Shasta County that I’m really proud of, are all of the Aces work and the Strengthening Families Collaboration. One of the key pieces of that work is pulling together a variety of different entities within the county to work on adverse childhood experiences. We also focus on five protective factors to make sure we’re building within families and strengthening those families. We want to help them understand how they can change outcomes in the future for both themselves and their children.

What does First 5 mean to you?

First 5 is an amazing organization and has wonderful opportunities in regards to the variety of things we’re able to do. This conference reminds us how similar our initiatives are within our diverse states. We have similar challenges and can draw from each others strengths to expand on within our own counties. Great ideas float around and you can take them and modify them to fit within your counties culture. You also get to see how you can be of assistance to others and how to further support the vision and mission of First 5. We need to make sure that children are at our center and that they have a solid foundation so that they become productive community members later on.

What are you most looking forward to at this conference?

I’m really proud of the work all the First 5’s are doing and I look forward to hearing more about what everyone does. I think, moving forward, we’re going to need to make our voice and approach stronger. I look forward to seeing that happen over the next 5-10 years and see what comes to fruition from that.

First 5 Shasta