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Looking to 2017: Building a Movement

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” - Helen Keller

With our ever changing world, building a movement has never been more important. There is strength in numbers and in our commitment to starting all children off with a bright beginning.    

What can we look forward to as a Bright Beginnings movement?  

  • Each of the six CATs have identified strengths and opportunities for growth, along with potential activities for 2017;
  • More opportunities to participate in policy at various levels: school, county, state and nationally;
  • Higher visibility of early childhood issues to develop more champions; and
  • Shared measurement systems across the county and initiatives.

In this newsletter you can see how now is our time to:

  • Lean on each other - Register now for the February CAT Convening
  • Learn from one another - Read about the great work happening in North Monterey County; and
  • Make our voices heard - See Bright Beginnings CAT partners speak before the Board of Supervisors.

CAT Convening Feb 24,2017 - Register now!

Great things have been happening all over the county through the CATs. With all the momentum gathering everyone seems eager to share and learn. Based off of the feedback that we have received, the February convening will focus on:
  • CAT Strengths and Challenges: Peer-to-peer learning exercises
  • Updated local CAT data
  • Applying data to strategy and activities
Click here for the tentative agenda: February CAT Convening Agenda.

February CAT Convening
Friday, February 24, 2017
8:30 am - 11:30 am
Harden Ranch Bunkhouse
1636 Ercia Street, Salinas, 93906

Click here to register: February CAT Convening Registration

If you have any questions, contact Nina at or 831-444-8549.

2015-2016 Board of Supervisor's Presentation

As an initiative of the Monterey County Children’s Council, Bright Beginnings presents annually to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors to highlight accomplishments and goals for the upcoming year. The most powerful portion of the presentation is the availability for public comment. Salinas and Greenfield CAT members were in attendance discussing the benefits of Bright Beginnings and what they would like to accomplish in the upcoming year - especially Preschool for All.

Beatrice Garza, a Salinas parent CAT participant, noted, “I think it is quite ridiculous that the system requires a child to have a good level of literacy by 3rd grade, but at the same time allows for there to be so many obstacles for 3 yr old children to enter preschool, such as income, work or place that they live. For that reason I ask you to support the Bright Beginnings group. I firmly believe in the importance of supporting and pushing this project universal preschool. My 3 children are an example that preschool boosts the development of the child, creates love of knowledge, love of reading and sharing and forming a strong relationship with parent and child. It promotes a culture of learning.” 
Parent participants from the Salinas CAT spoke to the Board of Supervisors about the importance of preschool and early education for all.

Supervisors noted their individual support of early childhood development. Specific comments include:

“I really appreciate this report and all the work that the Monterey County Children’s Council has done and has been a leader in violence prevention because of the impacts on health… I really like the collective impact model that Bright Beginnings is following and I see that some of these indicators are starting to show improvement.” - Supervisor Jane Parker

“I think fundamentally if our board here is not addressing ECE they are not addressing the fundamental causes of poverty, crime, violence and kind of quality that is in the crisis mode here in our county.  I commend all of you for that work.  We know that when our children start from behind, it’s hard for them to catch up.”  — Supervisor Luis Alejo

“I appreciated all your help and support. I think we are all starting to realize how much emphasis we need put on ECE and development and how critical it is that we invest there. It pays off so much in the long run.  Learning education of the parents, and the needs for them so they are partnering with our educational system and the development of their kids is critical, so thank you!.”  — Supervisor John M. Philips

“First of all thank you to the parents that came and provided testimony.  It shows the importance of ECE and the effect BB is having in the lives of your children…. We have to be mindful it has to be community based and parent based. Its going to take everyone.” Supervisor Simón Salinas

“Thank you very much to the people who have come here and sacrificed your time and work to be here today to make your presentation.  I value that very much..I am happy to see the good work that you are doing and happy to see that BB and BF are partnering on this.   It is a critical part to all of this.  It doesn’t matter if you are a parent or a teacher or a board member or a community member the thing that all of us can do with any child we have the opportunity to interact with is remember those 3 things.  A caring relationship, high expectations, and meaningful opportunities.  If we did this to every child we encountered I think our children would thrive.” — Chair Supervisor Mary Adams

For a full video of the presentation and comments, click here.

News + Updates

CAT Spotlight - North Monterey County

Noemy Loveless has been a part of the Bright Beginnings’ North Monterey County (NMC) Community Alliance Early Years Collaborative Action Team (CAT) from the very start.

As the Director of Student and Family Services of the Castro Plaza Family Resource Center at North Monterey County Unified School District, she is dedicated to helping parents and children thrive in our community.

For the last year and a half, the North Monterey County Community Alliance has worked together to create a strategic plan that focuses on cradle to career. “The cradle to career strategic plan works towards supporting children and their families from the prenatal stage through their young adult life,” explains Loveless.

Click here to read the full North Monterey County CAT Spotlight.

Action: Letters of Support ASAP

Governor Jerry Brown released his FY17-18 budget at the beginning of January. The budget offers some support for families struggling to make ends meet through California's earned income tax credit, an increase in the minimum wage, implementation of last summer's repeal of the Maximum Family Grant for public aid recipients, and expansion of health care coverage.

But there are also some major concerns. For instance, as of January 1, 2017, via the increase in the minimum wage with no change in policy proposed, parents and providers will be harmed. A two parent household with both parents earning minimum wage will no longer be eligible for a child care subsidy. If our families can’t afford child care and are unable to work, our whole economy suffers.

What can you do? - Make your voice heard!

We are asking for organizations and individuals to sign on to a letter showing our support of the California Legislative Women's Caucus's (CLWC) priority to fund child care and hold the Administration to their promise of continued funding.

Budget hearings have already begun. Send in your support as soon as possible.

Click here to see a current copy of the letter.

Click here to read CLWC press statement on the budget.

Click here to sign on and send your logo.

This week representatives from Monterey County will be in Sacramento to meet with local legislators about early childhood in Monterey County. They will be reminding the legislators about the need for greater support in the budget and with policies that support Monterey County children and families especially the need for more, quality childcare in Monterey County.

You can read more on early childhood in the Governor’s budget on the First 5 Monterey County blog.  Stay tuned for more updates and action items in the next couple of weeks.

Think Babies - National Campaign

Now more than ever, we need to be advocating for the causes we believe in. As advocates, we need to be encouraging legislators whether considering the tax code, infrastructure, the economy, or education, infant-toddler advocates know what Congress must do to build a better future for our country – Think Babies.

The first few months of a new Congress often moves at a rapid pace, with critical decisions being made on many different issues. Zero to Three designed a campaign for social media called Think Babies.

The Think Babies campaign was designed to promote enriching early experiences and a strong foundation for development from the start. Here is an easy way to tell Congress through Twitter and Facebook why they should always Think Babies when developing legislation. When we Think Babies, we build a better future for all.

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


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