$50,000 donation helps open Family Resource Center in Milpitas

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smpo1010sunnyhills01Aliyah Mohammed Milpitas Post

With a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony to make it official, the Sunnyhills Family Resource Center opened its doors to more than 250 parents, children and community members Saturday, Sept. 27.

Created as a collaboration of First 5 Santa Clara County, The Health Trust and SJB Child Centers it provides resources and services for parents and families with children ages 0 to 5 years old.

The Sunnyhills Family Resource Center is funded by First 5, operated by the Health Trust Fund and SJB Child Development and housed on the Sunnyhills United Methodist Church campus, 355 Dixon Road. It is the 13th such center that First 5 Santa Clara County has created, with centers in Gilroy, San Jose, Mountain and Sunnyvale.

At the grand opening on Sept. 27, a ribbon cutting ceremony was followed by a tour of the center, with a children’s festival and activities including health screenings, community resource tables, face painting, games and live entertainment.

The facility and grounds have undergone remodeling since the beginning of the year, although the center did have a soft opening earlier in the summer. The center is designed to provide young children with a place to learn, play and interact with their parents in school readiness activities as they prepare to enter kindergarten. It is expected to serve close to 400 families annually.

The center provides free programs where children learn basic literacy and numeracy skills as well as participate in physically active games and art projects that help prepare them for school. It also provides developmental screenings for children ages 5 and under. Individualized parent education workshops and parent leadership trainings are also offered to families.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, The Health Trust CEO Frederick J. Ferrer honored developer Trumark Housing for investing $50,000 in renovating the site, presenting them with a recognition award.

“This is an investment in the children you see here today, in the future of Milpitas families, and in the early childhood development model,” said Ferrer.

Brittany Satkoski, policy and communications associate for First 5, said, “We want the centers to be hubs for young parents and families to learn and play together. So we provide art enrichment activities and early literacy skills, as well as parenting workshops for free to help build parent support and connect them to a network and teach them ways to be their child’s first teacher. How they read and sing to their child helps them build literacy skills. Also we help them enroll in health care and learn about healthy eating and that sort of thing.”

Laura Buzo, director of the learning together initiative for First 5, said Milpitas had been identified as a city in need for services directed at 0 to 5-year-olds and their families, but that finding a place to host the center that was accessible to the community was difficult. The center is fully paid for with funds from California’s Proposition 10 Tobacco Tax to early childhood programs and services in Santa Clara County.

According to Buzo, the SJB Child Development Center and Health Trust fund reached out to Sunnyhills church and that the pastor and congregation were open to letting the center use two of their buildings at a reduced leasing rate.

The center takes up two buildings to offer a parents space where workshops are offered, a children’s space for the children whose parents are in workshops, in addition to a joint parent-child area with activities such as story time, music and movement, and arts and crafts.

The center’s services, open Monday to Friday from around 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with some programming taking place in the evenings and on weekends, is targeted toward residents of Milpitas and Santa Clara County, although Buzo said that no one would be turned away.

For more information, visit first5kids.org/frc or call (408) 684-4785.