Parents Help Antioch Get New Playground

ECRG members advocating for better parks in Antioch

An Antioch neighborhood is celebrating a brand new playground, thanks to a group of parents who worked with the city to renovate one of Antioch’s most dilapidated parks. To celebrate, the parents and representatives from the City of Antioch are holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony June 10 to unveil the new and improved Prosserville Park, now one of the largest parks in the city. The event will run from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and have races, arts and crafts, face painting, and plenty of time for kids to play on the new structures.

The campaign for the new playground began when the East County Regional Group, a parent advocacy group First 5 Contra Costa sponsors, rated every park in Antioch. Their findings revealed that parks located in the city’s lower-income communities had higher crime, graffiti, and unsafe conditions compared to the city’s newer neighborhoods.

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New Program Gets Pittsburg Neighbors Moving

ECRG_800x532Improving the playground at De Anza Park in Pittsburg was just the beginning for the East County Regional Group.

Newly funded with a $20,000 from the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Program, this dedicated group of parent advocates we sponsor are launching Pittsburg PACE (Parks, Activities, & Community Engagement) with a series of activities designed to increase physical activity among young children and families in Pittsburg’s Trident/De Anza Park neighborhood. Continue reading

First 5 Advocates Partner with Police to Improve Parks

CCRGThe Regional Groups are continuing their efforts to help all Contra Costa children gain access to safe, usable parks and playgrounds. Their latest activities include co-hosting meetings with police representatives to improve safety in and around parks.

The Regional Groups, three parent advocacy groups First 5 Contra Costa trains, supports, and sponsors, began their park improvement work a few years ago by assessing conditions at 75 parks in the Monument community of Concord, East County and San Pablo. Results from these assessments have been presented to local city councils and park and recreation commissions, and so far, have generated $1.6 million in funds and grants from cities to pay for recommended improvements. But that was just the beginning.

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Exercise Tips for Little Kids

ThisismyworkoutForming healthy habits start during a child’s early years and last a lifetime. A study conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found young children who are overweight during their early years are more likely to be obese later in life. Raising healthy children is about eating nutritious foods and watching portion size, and also about encouraging physical activity.

Exercise is fun, especially when the whole family is involved. Try these tips:

Children Up to 1 Year Old

It is important for babies to play and be active. Physical activity helps babies develop their muscles and encourages them to explore the world around them.

  • Place your baby on his or her stomach for “tummy time” to help build neck and core muscles and prepare for crawling
  • Practice crawling with your baby outside on a blanket
  • Stretch your arms and wiggle your toes together

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First 5 Volunteers Help Make Concord Streets Safer

Concordgroup2There are two new sets of stop signs and crosswalks at Laguna and Detroit and Sunnyside and Detroit in Concord, thanks to a community-driven effort in which a dozen members of our Central County Regional Group played a critical role.

Last August, Regional Group members joined staff from Contra Costa Health Services, Michael Chavez Center/Monument Community Partnership, the City of Concord, County Connection and the National Environment Protection Agency to conduct a “walk audit” of Detroit Avenue.

Many families with young children in this neighborhood walk along Detroit Avenue to take their kids to school, go to work, and run daily errands.  The group’s audit revealed that speeding drivers, unmarked crosswalks, sidewalks in poor condition, and dangerous placement of bus stops make it unsafe for families who walk or bike, especially the Laguna/Detroit and Sunnyside/Detroit intersections because of their proximity to Meadow Homes Elementary and the Concord Child Care Center. Continue reading

Building Leaders, Fighting Childhood Obesity

Swim classes in Concord.

About five years ago, members of our parent-led volunteer groups – the Central, East, and West County Regional Groups – conducted a community needs assessment related to childhood obesity.

They learned that while parents wanted their young children to be more physically active, many could not afford the steep fees that come with organized sports or city-run recreation programs. So they decided to do something about it.

The parents approached park and recreation departments in six cities to partner on a new project. First 5 would pay for sports classes, the Regional Group members would conduct outreach to recruit participants, and each city would secure venues and assist with registration. Not long after, low-cost sports classes for young children began in Oakley, Antioch, Bay Point, Concord, San Pablo, and Richmond. Continue reading

Encouraging Young Children to be Physically Active

Exercise, along with a balanced diet, helps children to grow and develop, to increase their confidence, learn problem-solving and social skills, and develop lifelong healthful habits. But according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, almost half of all American children are not getting enough exercise.

With childhood obesity on the rise, particularly for low-income children, it is important to get children into the habit of being physically active early. Obesity in young children can lead to serious health problems including Type II diabetes, hypertension, and orthopedic problems as well as low self-esteem and behavioral issues. Continue reading