Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Youth Center: Keeping Kids on Track

The Youth Center provides child care services for families who live and work in the Los Alamitos area. This year has been the hardest in the nonprofit’s 68-year history.

The Youth Center re-opened shortly after the shutdown in March to serve the children of first responders, medical staff, and other essential workers. The Center currently serves (as of January 2021) 1,000 children at three locations in Los Alamitos. The kids come from 26 different cities, though their parents either work or live in Los Alamitos.

To stay open and make ends meet — and continue their streak of never having declined a scholarship for a single child — the Youth Center had to lay off some employees. Without its regular fundraisers, and with the pandemic struggles in addition, the Youth Center was in an unfortunate position.

“We’ve never seen such a high demand for scholarships as this year, and no funding coming in for registration fees” The Youth Center Executive Director Lina Lumme said.

The Center underwrites the scholarships for families that lost jobs or took jobs that paid less. The families needed to keep their home and keep working, and the kids needed to be somewhere.

Without the CARES Act funds, The Youth Center would have had to cut staff further, or reduce the hours they provide child care.

“We lost over $200,000 in registration fees that would have come in that we had to underwrite as a scholarship,” Lumme said. “The (CARES Act) grant keeps our doors open. It allows us to keep going.”

“We had to cut off all the expenses we could possibly cut off,” Lumme said, starting with office supplies. The Center stopped buying paper and held a donation drive for paper and other supplies for students to use to print out their homework.

“We buy a lot of books for our kids,” Lumme said. “Literacy is important for us.”

The Center also held a book drive so they can continue providing free books for the children. They also held shoe drives and took donations from parents cleaning out their house so that other children could benefit from the outgrown shoes.

With remote and hybrid learning, many of the kids at the Youth Center are behind on their projects, so the staff at the Youth Center are trying to keep the kids on task in school and help the kids avoid overwhelm.

“Having enough staff members is crucial for us. We didn’t have enough funding coming in. We were looking at anywhere we could apply (for funds) to help us survive,” The Youth Center Executive Director Lina Lumme said.

They separated their staff and kids into smaller teams. When anyone arrives at the Center, a staff member takes their temperature. They are using hand sanitizer by the gallon, Lumme said, and a large supply of sanitizing wipes. Every 30 minutes, staff members clean equipment such as computers, and anything the children may have touched.

So far, they have not had any cases of COVID-19 at the Youth Center.

“So we know we can provide the program safely and keep the kids safe while parents are working. That’s a big expense too,” she said.

Learn more about The Youth Center here.

Orange County COVID-19 Child Care Consultation Services

The Orange County Health Care Agency, CHOC Children’s, and UC Irvine have created an Orange County COVID-19 school and child care consultation Services program to answer questions and provide information to schools and child care providers in Orange County.

The program is designed to support a regional approach to school-related COVID-19 questions and will provide guidance and recommendations for child care settings, school districts, and public and private schools.

More details at:

COVID Schools Response Team 2020-09-01

COVID School Consultation Services 2020-09-01


The Change Leverages Statewide Branding and Parent Resources While Underscoring Commitment to OC’s Youngest Children

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Jan. 8, 2019– Underscoring its key role in addressing critical health and developmental needs of Orange County’s youngest children, the Children and Families Commission of Orange County announced today it has updated its name by adding “First 5” and aligning with the network of First 5 Children and Families Commission’s throughout the state.

The updated name, First 5 Orange County, Children and Families Commission, corresponds with the commission’s 20thanniversary, and leverages the statewide branding and parent outreach resources that were created by First 5 California, commission officials said.

The statewide network of Children and Families Commissions were created in 1998 following passage of the California Children and Families First Act. The Act levied an additional statewide 50-cent tobacco tax to promote and fund early childhood resources for children from birth to 5 years old, with the goal of ensuring they are healthy physically and emotionally and ready to enter school. In 2002, the state commission and the majority of local county commissions opted to add “First 5” to their name, which is now synonymous with efforts to serve children and families, and is recognized statewide as a leading voice in early childhood development.

To date, First 5 commissions combined have allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to community programs and organizations that focus on children and their families. Major areas of focus include proper nutrition, early identification and intervention for developmental delays, access to quality oral care, early math, language and literacy skills, and fine and gross motor skills.

“Adding ‘First 5’ to the our name underscores our shared commitment statewide to focus on the well-being of California’s youngest children, while continuing to concentrate our proven efforts throughout Orange County,” said Maria Minon, M.D., chair and founding member of First 5 Orange County.

“Other county commissions, including those in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, carry First 5 in their names,” Minon added. “Incorporating it into ours strengthens our local efforts to ensure that all Orange County children reach their developmental potential and succeed in school, and ultimately, in life.”

First 5 Orange County joins 55 other county commissions across California that also have incorporated the First 5 nomenclature. The decision to update the name was approved by the organization’s nine-person Commissioner board at the December 5, 2018 public meeting.

First 5 Orange County resources are used to support initiatives and projects designed to improve the systems that serve young children. Celebrating its 20thanniversary in 2018, First 5 Orange County continues to effectively leverage key partnerships to drive a sustained focus on the importance of early childhood development, galvanize support for investments in early childhood and further improve outcomes for Orange County’s youngest children.

About First 5 Orange County, Children and Families Commission
First 5 Orange County, Children and Families Commission oversees the allocation of funds from Proposition 10, which added a 50-cent tax on tobacco products sold in California. In fiscal year 2017/18, the Commission allocated more than $31 million to fund programs for young children. Children ages 0 to 5 years and their families received 2.8 million services. Funds help pay for early education, pediatric primary and specialty health care, children’s dental care, homeless prevention, and child development programs for children from the prenatal stage to age 5 and their families. First 5 Orange County’s vision is that all children are healthy and ready to learn. For more information, visit


Early Childhood Policy Framework Event

Please join us in the first community gathering of the OC Forum‘s Early Childhood Policy Framework event on Monday, April 23rd from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Brandman University in Irvine, CA.

The morning will include a panel presentation on Orange County’s Early Childhood Policy Framework and interactive time for participants to discuss how the framework may be integrated into your own work.

Continental breakfast will be served.

To register and for more event information, please refer to the flyer below.

Brandman University
16355 Laguna Canyon Road (Room 111)
Irvine, CA 92618

OC Early Childhood STEM Symposium on Feb. 20

Come Tinker With Us!

Calling all early childhood educators! Join us for the 2016 Orange County Early Childhood STEM Symposium on February 20th at the Disneyland Hotel!

The Symposium will feature interactive presentations, lively Q&A discussions with local and national panel guests, professional dialogue and more — all rooted in discussing the importance of introducing STEM education in early childhood.

Enjoy a keynote presentation from Greg Washington, Dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine on the “Future of STEM.” Later in the afternoon, you’ll hear Rocket Scientist Nino Polizzi speak on “The Art of Tinkering.” And so much more.

Tickets are $75/ person. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Register now here:

The STEM Symposium is sponsored by: Boeing, Children’s Home Society of California, Children’s Center at Cal Tech, Children & Families Commission of Orange County, OC STEM Initiative, Orange County Business Council, Orange County Department of Education and THINK Together.

OC STEM Symposium Flyer.v3 jpeg