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January 20, 2010 > Family program funding approved

Family program funding approved

By Shavon Walker

Union City will create programs for families using grant money awarded by the FIRST 5 commission of Alameda County. California voters approved Proposition 10, the California Children and families First Act in November 1998, which directed taxes on cigarettes and tobacco to programs for early childhood development programs throughout the state. Funds are administered through county-level commissions.

The $72,250 grant was secured through the efforts of Leisure Services staff Jill Stavosky, Corina Hahn, Marissa Vera and Mary Steeley. This will be the second successful program initiative focusing on children created by Union City Leisure Services. The first was the Licensed Day Care program whose success has prompted planning for a second class.

Grant money will partially fund a three-part program initiative: creating multi-lingual and multi-cultural play groups, parent-education classes and literacy events to help young children prepare for kindergarten.

The initiative's main goal is to reach non-native speakers and help them bridge the language gap. Roughly 45 percent of Union City residents' native language is not English. Chinese, Spanish and Hindi are the most commonly-spoken languages. The programs will help them learn English and introduce them to other families who share their native language and culture. Union City also wants to encourage family participation; studies have shown that when parents participate in their child's learning experience, the more likelihood of success. The program is scheduled to run from February 2010 until June 2011.

This grant does not require an agency match, so the city's General Fund will not be affected.

For more information, contact Union City Leisure Services, 34009 Alvarado-Niles Road, Union City or call (510) 675-5353.

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