December Newsletter
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Looking to 2017: Policy Opportunities, New Awareness Materials and More...

2016 was a year of learning, evolution and transition for Bright Beginnings. Throughout the year, we designed personal marketing materials for each Collaborative Action Team (CAT), brought in various training opportunities based on community feedback including nationwide experts, and launched the Porque Me Amas Campaign trainings based on feedback. In the spring, the number of community Collaborative Action Teams grew when Gonzales signed on as a partner.  

In 2017 we’re excited for several opportunities on the horizon:

Collaborative Action Teams: We will continue supporting the great work done within the communities towards improving the lives for children and families in Monterey County.

  • In Pajaro and Salinas, local parents are working in strong partnership with organizations to make their community vision a reality.

  • In Greenfield, there is a strong group ready to lead the charge on improving kindergarten readiness with specific activities, tailored for their community.

  • North Monterey County will continue to work hard on supporting their entire cradle to career initiative, especially in the early care and education section through rigorous data incorporation.

  • The Gonzales CAT discussions have emerged around supporting family, friends and neighbor caregivers to get students ready for school.

  • The Seaside/Peninsula team has rallied around ensuring their preschool slots are filled within the school district and how to build more awareness around the importance of early childhood development.

Shared Measurement: We’re looking to bring on and strengthen our data collection methods including a regular, annual kindergarten readiness assessment and shared community outcomes and indicators dashboard in partnership with Impact Monterey County.  

Local and State Policy: 2017 will be a big year for policy, both locally and at the state level. We’re looking forward to putting together a team for the Women’s Policy Institute - County program to focus on early care and education, along with support participation from Monterey County residents in state legislation.    

Advocacy with the Board of Supervisors

Every year, Bright Beginnings presents an update to the Board of Supervisors through the Monterey County Children’s Council’s Annual Report. This is an opportunity for Bright Beginnings and partners to share strengths and challenges that are having an impact on children and families with local leaders. At the presentation earlier this year, organizations and parents involved with Bright Beginnings spoke during public comment about the importance of focusing on the early years. Elsa Martin, a Salinas CAT parent participant, noted:

“These programs are necessary and it is made possible by you. It is for us and so we can be better directors for the kids. These programs help us to make a big difference with parents. There is no perfect parent. We get to know ourselves and our kids.”  

The Supervisors especially appreciate the opportunity to hear from parents. “These mothers that came here are the bright leaders, the future leaders in our community and I am very grateful for them being here. We will continue to support these programs for you no matter where you come from.”  — Supervisor Fernando Armenta

Mark your calendars for this opportunity to share about experiences happening in your community:

Bright Beginnings’ Presentation to the Board of Supervisors

January 24, 2017 at 10:30am

Monterey County Board Chamber

168 W. Alisal Street, 1st Floor

Salinas, CA 93901

If you are able to participate and speak to the great work happening in your community around early childhood development, please contact Nina Alcaraz at

Radar Alert: CA State Policy Opportunities

The California legislature has begun work on framing the legislative and budgetary priorities for the upcoming 2017-18 session. There will be many bills that will be relevant to our field, but we want to pay particular attention to a bill that did not go through last session, but will have a major impact for child care in Monterey County.

AB 60 (Santiago & Gonzalez) - Subsidized child care and development services: eligibility periods.  
This bill would establish an initial eligibility and redetermination periods of not less than 12 months. Additionally, this bill will establish ongoing income eligibility to mean that a family's adjusted monthly income is at or below 85 percent of the state median income, based on the most recent data on state median income published by the United States Census Bureau, for a family of the same size.

Ordering Marketing Materials: Bright Beginnings and Porque Me Amas

One of the most frequent tool requests we’ve heard from communities are materials to talk about Bright Beginnings and early childhood development.  

Porque Me Amas

As a reminder, Bright Beginnings has launched the Porque Me Amas Campaign in partnership with Monterey County Violence Prevention Initiative, the Literacy Campaign for Monterey County, and First 5 Monterey County. The campaign encourages parents to engage with their children everyday. Not only does playtime benefit children by providing a fun and educational experience, but parents benefit too.  It’s not too late to order materials!

Click here to learn more and watch video clips about the importance of the Porque Me Amas campaign.

Bright Beginnings New Data Postcards

The data for our community has changed and in order to reflect the most recent differences, we’ve designed a new handout and postcards with recommendations of how people can support early childhood development. To view the new data and order postcards for distribution, visit our website and view  our Bright Beginnings Data. Click on the each data point to learn more and view the postcard.

To order copies of the new Bright Beginnings postcards, please contact Karen Gorman,

We now have available a Cause-Specific One Page PDF document that can be printed or ordered for distribution. Click here to print or contact to order.

Policy Advocacy Network: Advocacy Day, January 31 

Please mark your calendars and set aside January 31, 2017 to come to Sacramento for Advocacy Day. We will begin with a morning kick off breakfast, located in the Capitol Basement. A networking lunch will provide attendees an opportunity to connect with First 5 leadership from across the state. Throughout the day, attendees will visit legislators and their staff to share information about who we are and what we do for children 0-5 and their families in detail.


This is a wonderful opportunity for families to get involved at the state level to advocate  for funding and policies that will affect Monterey County. Please contact Karen Gorman at or 831-444-8549 by December 31, 2016 to express your interest.

Who won the Amazon gift certificates?

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Bright Beginnings Mid-Year Evaluation Survey. As a thank you for your time, two participants were randomly drawn to receive an Amazon gift certificate. The winners are Jayanti Addleman from the Monterey County Free Libraries and Francine Steward with Monterey Peninsula Unified School District and the Seaside/Peninsula CAT.  Congratulations and thank you everyone.

Spark Policy Institute, our evaluators, are still analyzing the results to help inform the next stage of the initiative. We will share the results next month.

SAVE THE DATE: CAT Convening February 24, 2017

Our next CAT meeting will focus on peer to peer learning for each of the CATs and next steps for a shared data measurement system. Please save the date and details will follow shortly. If you have any questions or recommendations for topics, contact Nina at or 831-444-8549.

To learn more and to RSVP to join us, please click here.

Check out the Google Calendar!

Interested in learning about upcoming Bright Beginnings CAT and Network meetings?  Events around the county to get involved with?  Want to post what you are doing so Bright Beginnings can help promote your event through our various channels?  Check out our Google Calendar and send an e-mail to

News + Updates

Local Policy Work in Action 

We are excited to highlight this year's Women’s Policy Institute (WPI) County fellows to share their experiences and encourage other women from our community to form a WPI-County team for 2017.
Read full story here.

Bright Beginnings Staff Transition - reminder

Please help us find a new wonderfully, talented individual to step into the Bright Beginnings Manager role.

MORE INFORMATION: Please see the position description on the First 5 Monterey County website.  

DEADLINE: Please note resumes are due by Friday, December 30th.

Click here to read full story and see how you can help.

Copyright © 2016 Bright Beginnings, All rights reserved.

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