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   

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 or call 805 543-6216.