Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. The center partners with family support organizations in San Luis Obispo County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority.

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  • Meet Yesenia, a Nurse Family Partnership success story

    Nurse Family Partnership provides first-time moms with support and mentoring Meet Yesenia, a very smart but also very shy girl who graduated from high school at age sixteen. Pregnant at… Read more…

  • The Success of Nurse-Family Partnership

    SLO County’s Amazing Hero-Nurses for First-Time Moms The Nurse-Family Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (NFP), is a tremendously successful maternal and childhood health programs for low-income first-time mothers. As a national… Read more…

  • CFS Promotes Staff Member

    Center for Family Strengthening promotes Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia to Director of Promotores Collaborative. “We are thrilled with Erica’s accomplishments in driving the growth and success of Promotores Collaborative,” said Lisa Fraser,… Read more…

  • CFS Welcomes New Program Coordinator

    Gwendolyn Garcia has joined Center for Family Strengthening as Program Coordinator for CFS’ major programs: Parent Connection, Kidz Tool Box for personal safety, Promotores Collaborative, Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition and… Read more…

  • CFS moves to new location

    Center for Family Strengthening has moved its corporate headquarters to 3480 South Higuera, Suite 100, San Luis Obispo. Affiliate agency ALPHA Pregnancy and Parenting Support is also moving its corporate… Read more…

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Meet Yesenia, a Nurse Family Partnership success story

Nurse Family Partnership provides first-time moms with support and mentoring

Meet Yesenia, a very smart but also very shy girl who graduated from high school at age sixteen. Pregnant at age nineteen, Yesenia was still very shy and had not yet acquired important life skills critical to becoming a good mom. The turning point for Yesenia to become a loving, successful mom would be her enrollment into the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) of San Luis Obispo County.The NFP is a national evidence-based nurse home visitation program that provides first-time moms and their families with emotional, practical support and mentoring throughout their pregnancy and until their baby reaches two years of age. The Center for Family Strengthening (CFS) is the Advisory Board to NFP.

Yesenia, son Noah and NFP nurse Nancy Goldsmith, PHN

Community Health Centers (CHC) of San Luis Obispo County suggested that Yesenia enroll in the NFP program. Being less than seven months pregnant, Yesenia qualified for the program. Nurse Nancy Goldsmith, PHN became her home visiting nurse. I sat in observation of Yesenia and Nancy during one of their home visits so I might learn more about the NFP program, what it meant to Yesenia and how it helped change her life in learning how to be a good mom.

Yesenia suffered from depression before and after the birth of her son Noah. Noah had jaundice and respiratory distress at birth and needed to stay in the Sierra Vista Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for one week before coming home. Yesenia was very fearful about bringing Noah home. Nancy had been working with Yesenia before Noah’s birth and was there during this difficult time to provide her the critical guidance and emotional support she needed.

With Nancy’s help, Yesenia learned that Noah would quickly pick up what she is feeling and that it is so important to develop a healthy personal outlook herself to assure the well-being of her baby. Yesenia describes Nancy’s help during this time as simply amazing and is certain that her and Noah’s life would be very much different without the help of an NFP nurse.

Yesenia said that Nancy changed everything for her. She wanted to be a good mom and believes Nancy helped her to learn what it takes to care for Noah as well for her family. Nancy visited Yesenia bi-monthly, initially providing support during her pregnancy. After birth, Nancy provided guidance and introduced important life skills that created a healthy environment for mother and son. As Noah grew, Nancy taught Yesenia about childhood development and what to expect at different stages in Noah’s life as well as ways to encourage his development.

The day I was there, Nancy was preparing Yesenia for Noah’s next stage, toilet training. Nancy explains that a child will let you know when he’s ready to learn to use the toilet and the most important thing you can do is to be patient, commit to the time it will take and be relaxed. All of this will help the child relax. A mom who is stressed during toilet training can delay the child’s success. To help prepare Noah for toilet training, Yesenia learned to change Noah’s diaper only in the bathroom; she taught Noah about what wet and dry feels like, and to put a potty-chair in the bathroom. As a result of this preparation, Yesenia learned that Noah wasn’t quite ready. She now knows what’s ahead and is committed to the process when Noah is ready.

Through the NFP program, Yesenia has learned to communicate better with her partner; sharing her feelings with him and standing up for herself. As a result, her relationship with her partner has improved immensely. Both her partner and Yesenia agreed to avoid having arguments in front of their son. Her partner is more supportive of Yesenia’s independence. Yesenia is now setting and achieving personal goals. She has started college and is taking classes in childhood development. She is devoted to creating a healthy, happy and safe environment for Noah and her family.

Yesenia’s loving and confident care for Noah was overwhelmingly apparent during the visit. Even as Yesenia is conversing with those present, she is attentive to what Noah is doing and anticipates what he might get into that would cause him harm. She is patient with him, consistently shows him love, teaches him as they play together, and is constantly talking to and guiding him. Yesenia fills Noah’s day with outside walks, playtime and loving conversation and care. She is a confident, wonderful mother and has set her sights on having a healthy and thriving lifestyle for herself and her baby. All of this joy and high expectations by Yesenia for herself, Noah and her family was encouraged and supported by Nancy Goldsmith and Nurse-Family Partnerships.

The Nurse-Family Partnership Program in San Luis Obispo County has demonstrated phenomenal results. Positive outcomes for the moms are higher than in other health managed programs. Ninety-percent of the women who start the program complete the entire program. Seventeen-percent of the women in the program without a high school diploma or GED returned to school by 12 months postpartum. Seventy-seven percent of clients are working within 24 months.

The NFP is making possible positive outcomes for the babies that are phenomenal: 92.4-percent of the babies reach full term, 93.1-percent are born at a healthy weight, and 96.7-percent of the babies receive breast milk.

The County of San Luis Obispo offers two programs that provide families with nurse visits to improve child and family health.

  • Early Support helps at-risk families such as teen parents, or those in need of parenting guidance, and those affected by abuse, homelessness, mother/baby exposure to tobacco, alcohol or other drugs and children with medical needs.
  • Nurse-Family Partnerships helps low-income, first-time moms who are less than seven months (28 weeks) pregnant by providing mentoring, emotional and practical support throughout their pregnancy and after birth until babies reach two years of age.

Center for Family Strengthening is the Community Advisory Board to NFP. Cherie M. Fields RN, BSN, PHN is the Field Nursing Program Manager for both programs and can be reached at (805) 788-2063.

In 1988 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors designated Center for Family Strengthening as the self-governing entity responsible for local efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. Center for Family Strengthening partners with family support organizations in SLO County to provide resources to families in need, to protect children from abuse and neglect, and to ensure that strong families are a community priority. To donate or learn more about Center for Family Strengthening visit the website or call (805) 543-6216.

The Success of Nurse-Family Partnership


SLO County’s Amazing Hero-Nurses for First-Time Moms

The Nurse-Family Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (NFP), is a tremendously successful maternal and childhood health programs for low-income first-time mothers. As a national evidence-based program, it provides first-time moms with mentoring, emotional and practical support throughout their pregnancy and until their babies reach two years of age. The Center for Family Strengthening is the community advisory board to NFP. The program has a big reason to celebrate, thanks to five dedicated and compassionate nurses: Melissa Lovett-Adair, Jamie Peterson, Nancy Goldsmith, Nakia Wheeler and Carol Martin (the supervisor). Each has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and has earned a Certificate in Public Health. Public health training includes a myriad of tools: medical care, social work, parenting skills, coping skills, confidence-building, safety, family dynamics, and career and dietary training. Some nurses have also earned a Master’s Degree in Nursing, Public Health or other related fields like Psychology or Sociology. All have also spent several years in a hospital working with patients.

Nancy Goldsmith, Jamie Peterson, Carol Martin, Melissa Lovett-Adair, Nakia Wheeler, & Cherie Fields

The nurses become “true life coaches” and a consistent force in the lives of the mothers. They draw from their highly technical training as well as their life challenges including motherhood, facing adversity and building resilience in their own lives. They win their client’s trust by being non-judgmental, showing warmth and compassion, and being forthright and honest. Since the nurses don’t know what to expect when they first enter a home, each must assess the situation and use the palette of all their training and education as well as their life experience to help these new mothers.

First-time mothers are referred to the program through WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), their doctor, obstetricians, pediatricians, hospitals, community clinics, or they can directly contact the Nurse-Family Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (NFP). The only program requirements are low-income and first pregnancy before 28 weeks. The nurses each work with a caseload of 25 Moms, scheduling in-home consultations either weekly or bi-weekly based on the needs of the mother. Consultations are customized to achieve the goal of maintaining a healthy pregnancy and also achieving the mother’s aspirations and goals for her baby and their future life.

Peterson said, “All moms when experiencing their first pregnancy are at a unique and critical developmental stage in their life. The biological changes brought about by pregnancy, present the mom-to-be with a unique recognition and emotional understanding and acceptance that she is being given an opportunity for a fresh start, an exciting opportunity to create a wonderful change in her life and her baby’s life. Every mom-to-be wants a better life for their child than they had for themselves.”

“Many moms do not have a good support system,” said Wheeler. “We support them by listening, establishing a relationship based on trust, and helping them achieve their goals. I often hear moms say ‘I want better for my children’; as public health nurses, we can help them decide what ‘better’ looks like and how to get there.”

Most of the mothers coming into the program range in age from 14–40. Some have other risk factors including intimate partner violence or substance abuse. Some have low self-esteem and lack parenting skills and knowledge of child development. A few may be homeless. Some have bachelor’s degrees while others are still in high school. No one characteristic defines them or applies to all. What is amazing is that these mothers can sense and grasp that they are at a point in life where with the guidance of their nurse, they can truly build a much better life. Nearly 96% succeed in bringing a healthy baby and better life into our community.

Working as a public health nurse with mothers in their home is very different than working in the controlled environment of a hospital. As Peterson put it, “You are alone out there and need to be comfortable in your skin with the right attitude. To be invited in and invited back you need to earn the mom’s respect.”

All progress to goals is acknowledged and celebrated. For example, with Peterson’s help, one 19-year-old mother burdened with low self-esteem and dependent on a controlling partner, managed to rethink her choices and leave her partner. The mother researched opening her own business and today has her own taco restaurant. Another mother, who achieved an engineering degree in Mexico, came to the United States with her husband and could not find work. She did not speak English. She has the determination to support her family and created income by cooking for migrant farm workers.

Positive outcomes are higher than in other health managed programs. Ninety percent of the women who start the program complete the entire program. Seventeen percent of the women in the program without a high school diploma or GED returned to school by 12 months postpartum. Seventy-seven percent of clients are working at 24 months. Positive outcomes for the babies are phenomenal: 92.4 percent of the babies reach full term, 93.1 percent are born at a healthy weight, and 96.7 percent of the babies receive breast milk.

Each nurse in the program has a unique view about the benefits of the program.

Goldsmith believes having a child is an amazing gift and it is an incredible blessing to have the opportunity as a parent to guide, encourage and love your child. Guidance from an NFP nurse provides a valuable opportunity to change negative behaviors and break cycles. It gives parents positive alternatives for encouraging and promoting their child’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. Goldsmith supports and recognizes the value of preventative health care and also emphasizes that self-care is a very vital and important aspect of parenting. She sees the work as an NFP home visitor as a very challenging, comprehensive and rewarding aspect of nursing. She is very touched to hear from and see clients that have graduated from the program who are thriving and accomplishing much.

Peterson and Wheeler agree that the career is both challenging and extremely rewarding. They are thrilled to see their clients make progress.

Martin adds that the nurses give mothers hope that they can succeed and always looks for something positive in mothers’ interactions with their babies. Martin provides positive feedback and encourages them to talk and play with their baby as much possible. Martin is delighted when she runs into her clients years later and finds that mothers and children are doing so well.

Lovett-Adair focuses on bringing out the best in clients and celebrating their strengths and teaches mothers to manage a child’s behavior in a loving, healthy way. “It’s about empowering moms to learn ways to take care of themselves. The NFP career is a great opportunity to have a positive impact on people’s lives. You never forget them. It’s a privilege to support women making changes in their lives.”

All the NFP nurses agree it would be wonderful to have this program for all first-time mothers. NFP nurses are truly hero-nurses for SLO county first-time mothers.

San Luis Obispo County is currently hiring nurses for other departments. For more information about NFP visit the program website.

 

Parent Connection Symposium

Noted Child and Family Therapist, Ron Huxley, LMFT Speaks at Parent Connection Symposium on September 22, 2017.

Understanding Generational Patterns of Parenting

Ron Huxley, noted child and family therapist, speaker and blogger, provides expert insight on the impact of trauma on caregiver/ child relationships as guest lecturer for Center for Family Strengthening Parent Connection Symposium. Parent Connection has partnered with San Luis Coastal Unified Adult School District to provide all Parent Support Professionals a one-day symposium on September 22, 2017, from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. All Parent Support Professionals are urged to attend. Registration is $55.00 for the one-day session or $85.00 with CEU Certificate with five continuing education contact hours, approved by the National Association of Social Workers (Approval # 886759765-8295). Morning coffee and lunch are included. The symposium will be held at the San Luis Coastal Adult School, Room J2, 1500 Lizzie Street, San Luis Obispo. Register at www.sloparents.org.

The symposium provides an in depth view of the challenges present in generational patterns of parenting.

  • The transmission of trauma from one generation to another
  • Adult Attachment challenges
  • The lifecycle of parenting
  • The importance of addressing survival needs and immediate crisis before addressing sensitive, underlying trauma and unexplored issues

Huxley will discuss building healthy communications, modeling characteristics of self-aware adults and provide concrete tools and strategies to build confidence to restore hope for parents/caregivers.

Lisa Fraser, Executive Director of Center for Family Strengthening, said, “I am thrilled a child and family therapist of Ron Huxley’s caliber with a long, successful track record of helping families in need of hope and restoration in San Luis Obispo County has agreed to keynote our Symposium. Huxley’s presentation exemplifies the strength of our symposiums and what they signify for the education of our County’s professionals working with parents and caregivers of children of any age.”

About Parent Connection of San Luis Obispo County

Parent Connection is made possible with funds provided by the Mental Health Services Act (Prevention and Early Intervention) and by the Center for Family Strengthening, a non-profit community organization.   To learn more go to http://sloparents.org.

About Center for Family Strengthening (CFS)

In 1988 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors designated Center for Family Strengthening as the self-governing entity responsible for local efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. Center for Family Strengthening partners with family support organizations in SLO County to provide resources to families in need, to protect children from abuse and neglect, and to ensure that strong families are a community priority. To donate or learn more about Center for Family Strengthening go to www.cfsslo.org or call 805 543-6216.

About Ron Huxley

Ron Huxley is a dynamic and innovative educator. He travels internationally training parents and professionals on how to find more freedom and joy in their lives. He is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, in private practice, on the Central Coast of California, the USA with almost three decades of experience.

Ron blogs on trauma-informed care and inner healing at RonHuxley.com and he is the author of the book “Love and Limits: Achieving a Balance in Parenting,” 101 Parenting Tools: Building the Family of Your Dreams” and the Ebook “Living Abundantly.” He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows as an expert in the field of mental health and trauma-informed care.

Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition Symposium

Renowned Dr. Paula Meier Speaks at Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition Symposium May 19.  

Researcher, Professor, and Author Dr. Paula Meier Ph.D., RN, FAAN
speaks on Breastfeeding the Premature Infant: Bridging the Gap from Hospital to Home.
 

Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition will hold a day-long educational conference on May 19, 2017, at the Cliffs Resort in Pismo Beach. The conference features the renowned research, professor, speaker and author Dr. Paula Meier. The subject of Dr. Meier’s presentation is Breastfeeding the Premature Infant: Bridging the Gap from Hospital to Home.

Leslie Mehigan, President of the Coast Breastfeeding Coalition, said, “We are thrilled that an expert of Dr. Meier’s caliber with a long, successful track record working as a practitioner and researcher in the area of human milk, lactation and breastfeeding for premature infants will keynote our Symposium. This Education conference is a signature event for health professionals throughout California.”

Up to 150 healthcare professionals are expected to attend the May 19 conference, including physicians, advanced practice healthcare providers, lactation consultants, community educators, advocates and supporters of breastfeeding.   To register for the conference go to  http://www.centralcoastbreastfeeding.com/

Dr. Paula MeierAbout Dr. Meier: 

Dr. Meier is Director for Clinical Research and Lactation in the neonatal intensive care unit at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and is a professor of Women, Children and Family Nursing as well as a professor of Pediatrics. Dr. Meier serves as a member of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation and of the Health Advisory Council for La Leche League International. She has conducted numerous externally-funded research and demonstration projects and currently, serves as the principal investigator for a 5-year, $2.76 million, NIH-funded study, “Health Outcomes and Cost of Human Milk Feedings for Very Low Birth Weight Infants.” Dr. Meier has published over 70 peer-reviewed manuscripts.

Impact of Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition

Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition programs have achieved high positive impact on our San Luis Obispo County Community. SLO County is now ranked fourth in California for exclusive breastfeeding at hospital discharge, up five ratings from ninth place last year. Eighty-eight percent of all babies born at a hospital in SLO County were exclusively breastfed.

Sierra Vista Hospital just announced the attainment of their “Baby Friendly” Certification. With this certification, all three hospitals that provide maternity services in the San Luis Obispo County are now “Baby Friendly” certified. French Hospital Medical Center was the first to attain this certification and was quickly followed by Twin Cities Community Hospital.

The “Baby Friendly” initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

Importance of Breast Milk

Breast milk is not only nourishment but is also medicine for infants. It contains antibodies, disease-fighting stem cells, anti-virus, anti-allergy, anti-parasitic, and anti-cancer properties that provide both short and long-term protection. Breast milk contains growth factors, enzymes, hormones, probiotics and other nutrients that help infants to grow and to develop optimally. Breastfeeding provides benefits to the mother with increased bonding with baby, better healing post-delivery, less incidence of postpartum depression, and decreased likelihood of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

Center for Family Strengthening provides non-profit fiscal management services for the Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition.  

About Center for Family Strengthening (formerly SLO-CAP):
In 1988 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors designated Center for Family Strengthening (CFS) as the self-governing entity responsible for local efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. Center for Family Strengthening partners with family support organizations in SLO County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority. To donate or learn more about Center for Family Strengthening go to www.cfsslo.org or call 805 543-6216.

CCBC Logo Lockup-vert_color

About the Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition:
The Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition brings together a collaborative team of breastfeeding advocates to network, share resources, accomplish projects, and provide breastfeeding education based on current research and best practice. Our members include private, hospital-based and county lactation consultants, as well as lactation educators and experienced breastfeeding mothers with a passion for helping others with breastfeeding. www.centralcoastbreastfeeding.com

 

 

KSBY promotes Kidz Toolbox for Personal Safety

Every year Center for Family Strengthening instructs over 4,000 Preschool, Kindergarten, 2nd grade and Special Needs students in San Luis Obispo County with the Kidz Toolbox for Personal Safety program. Educating children at a young age about personal boundaries and safety is key in preventing sexual abuse. 

View a recent news story on Mary Thielsher, Kidz Toolbox instructor who has made it her mission to help empower children and their families to be safe and learn responsible boundaries. 

KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

The Kidz Toolbox qualified educators teach assertiveness skills and model how to ask for help if they have a problem.  Studies show that these are key skills lacking in children at risk for abuse. The lessons varies according to the grade level, and the skills targeted for practice are developmentally appropriate. At all grade levels, children have opportunities for skill practice and transfer of learning. 

Kidz Tool Box for Personal Safety lessons are free of charge to all schools and community groups. Learn more at http://cfsslo.org/programs/kidz-tool-box/.

 

Promotores Collaborative – Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

“Promotores Collaborative” may just have our Latino Community on a faster track of assimilation into our San Luis Obispo community.

Latinos in our community continue to face tremendous challenges: language, cultural and educational barriers, access to good paying jobs and now, the constant fear of deportation.

“Promotores Collaborative,” of San Luis Obispo County is an emerging prevention and health education model that works for the Latino community with neighbor-to-neighbor outreach activities. This promising and novel program, introduced by Center for Family Strengthening, is rapidly changing our Spanish-speaking Community to achieve greater and greater success. Organized and trained volunteer Latinos within the neighborhood are providing a path for other Latinos in the neighborhood to thrive.

What is Promotores Collaborative?

Center for Family Strengthening
, a nonprofit organization, is “centered home” for Promotores Collaborative recruiting and training Promotores volunteers to reach into the Latino neighborhoods. They recruit, organize and train networks of Spanish-speaking volunteers who introduce Latinos to highly beneficial services to build healthy communities. Through Promotores, the Latino Community, neighborhood by neighborhood, is learning essential life skills. Promotores provides Latinos access to healthy foods, nutritional education, emotional support, access to mental health resources such as substance abuse and domestic violence programs, medical and dental care access, and programs tailored to child development, effective parenting and education.

Access to Good Nutrition

Overcoming food shortage or food insecurity is a major obstacle for many families living in poverty in the Latino Community. Rosa drives 45 miles per day to access the proper nutrition to feed her family. The gasoline costs for this 45-mile drive places a major burden on Rosa’s meager household income.

Promotores Collaborative has launched a major initiative with the San Luis Obispo Food Bank to bring healthy, fresh food to Latinos. Now Rosa can get fresh vegetables and produce from a local distribution center close to her home. Promotores advocates have educated Rosa about proper food preparation and have helped her understand and value the importance of proper nutrition for her and her children. Rosa’s kids delight in eating fresh fruit and vegetables. Promotores and the San Luis Obispo Food Bank make culturally-appropriate food and nutritional education available for women like Rosa.

Emotional and Mental Health

Promotores Collaborative helped organize the Oceano Support Group made up of Latino mothers to foster emotional and mental health support in their families. Mothers come together to discuss topics that meet their immediate needs. Mothers share their concerns regarding relationships, communications with their children, discipline, depression, anxiety, chronic diseases, and health concerns.

Attending moms may be referred to other agencies when there’s a need for special assistance. Maria suffered from an abusive husband. Through the help of the Oceano Support Group, Maria learned that she and her three children were victims of domestic abuse. Promotores referred Maria to the Women’s Shelter where she received the help she needed to live independently and to support and nurture her children. With the emotional support of the Promotores and her peers, Maria took action needed to end the domestic violence.

Through Promotores, sponsored groups like the Oceano Support Group Moms rediscover themselves, learn their value, improve their self-esteem and enhance their well-being all of which impact families in a positive way.

Mental Health Interpretation Services

Yolanda’s 15-year-old daughter seemed very depressed. Her grades in school were suffering, and she lost interest in her friends. One of the Promotores suggested Yolanda take her daughter to a counselor at a local mental health clinic. Yolanda felt extremely uncomfortable going to the clinic. She did not speak English well and felt the stigma attached to mental health problems. The Promotores Volunteer accompanied Yolanda and her daughter to the clinic. (Select Promotores volunteers have been specifically trained to translate and explain mental health conditions to the Spanish-speaking community.) The Promotores worked with Yolanda, calming her fears and giving her a better understanding of how to help her daughter through the guidance of the Counselor at the clinic.

One-on-One-Parenting Counseling

Promotores Volunteers work with mothers and fathers who are struggling with the challenges of parenthood. When appropriate they refer them to Center for Family Strengthening’s Parent Connection for a one-on-one Spanish-speaking parent coach.

The parent coach encourages assimilation and giving back to the community. The Parent Coach may emphasize the need to speak English as a way to understand and respect the culture of the United States. Speaking English is also a primary tool for effective parenting. Without English, many parents fail to understand the world their children inhabit. Ana, a client, sought out parent coaching at a time when she barely spoke English. With support and encouragement, she enrolled in an ESL class. Now, just a few years later, Ana can work, pay her taxes and has successfully enrolled in John Hancock College. Her ambition is to work as a paralegal. 

Promotores Collaborative Works

The Promotores Collaborative approach is effective and is helping the Latino Community assimilate into the Amercian culture. Promotores are sensitive to their neighbor’s’ struggles and challenges because they themselves have overcome similar experiences. Their neighbors trust them. The volunteers are well-trained in listening and empowering their neighbors with a path to access services and resources of SLO County. The volunteers immerse themselves in engaging the Latino community with a positive can-do spirit that is infectious and transforms people’s lives. Promotores bring a voice and the path to positive, healthy change and assimilation into the larger San Luis Obispo community.

Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia, Coordinator, Promotores Collaborative and Ximena Ames, Parent Coach, Parent Connection, contributed to this article.

Promotores-300x218

About Center for Family Strengthening (formerly SLO-CAP): In 1988 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors designated Center for Family Strengthening (CFS) as the self-governing entity responsible for local efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. Center for Family Strengthening partners with family support organizations in SLO County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority. To donate or learn more about Center for Family Strengthening go to www.cfsslo.org or call 805 543-6216. To become a Promotores Volunteer call Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia at 805 720-6091.

CFS receives $50,000 gift from Mindbody Inc. Employee

Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition benefits from this magnanimous gift.

Mom with babyThe Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition receives a $50,000 gift from an employee at Mindbody. The Employee (who wishes to remain anonymous) expresses a deep commitment to creating awareness of the long-term intrinsic benefits of breastfeeding for the infant. The purpose of the gift is to expand breastfeeding programs, education, and resources and to support and encourage families in their breastfeeding journey.

Importance of Breast Milk

Breast milk is not only nourishment but is also medicine for infants. It contains antibodies, disease-fighting stem cells, anti-virus, anti-allergy, anti-parasitic, and anti-cancer properties that provide both short and long-term protection. Breast milk contains growth factors, enzymes, hormones, probiotics and other nutrients that help infants to grow and to develop optimally. Breastfeeding provides benefits to the mother with increased bonding with baby, better healing post-delivery, less incidence of postpartum depression, and decreased the likelihood of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

Impact of Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition

Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition programs have already achieved high positive impact on our Community. Our County is now ranked fourth in California for exclusive breastfeeding at hospital discharge, up five ratings from ninth place last year. Eighty-eight percent of all babies born at a hospital in SLO County were exclusively breastfed.

This generous gift provides additional resources to the Coalition to expand its programs in several areas. One of these is educational outreach conferences such as “Breastfeeding the Premature Infant” featuring Dr. Paula Meier, which will take place on May 19, 2017. Educational conferences of this caliber are signature events for healthcare professionals in San Luis Obispo County and throughout California.

Up to 300 healthcare professional are expected to attend the May 19 conference, including physicians, advanced practice healthcare providers, community educators, advocates and supporters of breastfeeding.    

Center for Family Strengthening provides non-profit fiscal management services, disbursement of payments to the lactation consultants, and with the Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition, tracks breastfeeding rates, outcomes and completion of reports.  

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About Center for Family Strengthening (formerly SLO-CAP): In 1988 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors designated Center for Family Strengthening (CFS) as the self-governing entity responsible for local efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. Center for Family Strengthening partners with family support organizations in SLO County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority. To donate or learn more about Center for Family Strengthening go to www.cfsslo.org or call 805 543-6216.

About the Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition: The Cental Coast Breastfeeding Coalition brings together a collaborative team of breastfeeding advocates to network, share resources, accomplish projects, and provide breastfeeding education based on current research and best practice. Our members include private, hospital-based and county lactation consultants, as well as lactation educators and experienced breastfeeding mothers with a passion for helping others with breastfeeding. www.centralcoastbreastfeeding.com

 

Mary Thielscher Honored as January’s Hands-on Hero.

As the Lead Educator for Kidz Toolbox for Personal Safety, Mary personifies the first of the ten Children’s Bill of Rights.

 

First 5 San Luis Obispo County honors Mary Thielscher as January’s Hands-on Hero, a year-long tribute to individuals in our Community who are making a difference in the lives of children and their families.  Hands-on Heroes is a special recognition of dedicated individuals who believe in and support the Children’s Bill of Rights, an achievable vision that our children grow up with healthy minds, bodies, and spirits that enable them to maximize their potential.

Mary Thielscher, as the Lead Educator for Center for Family Strengthening Kidz Toolbox for Personal Safety, personifies the first of the ten Children’s Bill of Rights.  In the past 12 years, Mary has taught 50,000 local children self-protection skills and how to ask for help if they have a problem.  Mary works with several grade levels at developmentally appropriate stages and provides the children opportunities to learn and implement practical skills they need to keep themselves safe.   

Mary also teaches prevention of alcohol and substance use during pregnancy through the Center for Family Strengthening Beginnings-Prenatal Substance Use education curriculum. Mary has taught more than 5,000 high school and college students the cognitive deficits and behavioral problems individuals suffer resulting from prenatal exposure to alcohol and drugs, which may last an entire lifetime.  

Mary is also involved with “Get on the Bus,” a program that brings children and their caregivers to visit their mothers and fathers in prison, and supports building those important relationships.  

We are thrilled to honor Mary as January’s Hands on Hero for the Number 1 Children’s Bill of Rights,” said Lisa Fraser, Executive Director for Center for Family Strengthening. “Mary’s compassion and dedication to helping children keep safe and healthy are exceptional.  Mary is a true champion for our kids.”  

About #1  Children’s Bill of Rights:  As the children and youth of San Luis Obispo County, may we each live in a stable, comfortable home surrounded by parents, family and other caring adults who nurture us throughout childhood.  For a complete list of Children’s Bill of Rights, please visit first5slo.org.   

About Center for Family Strengthening (formerly SLO-CAP): In 1988 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors designated Center for Family Strengthening (CFS) as the self-governing entity responsible for local efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect.  Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy.  Center for Family Strengthening partners with family support organizations in SLO County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority. To donate or learn more about Center for Family Strengthening go to www.cfsslo.org or call 805 543-6216.

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