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Too Small to Fail and First 5 California Announce New Partnership to Improve Early Learning and Well-Being of California’s Children

Sacramento, CA—Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative between Next Generation and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, is announcing today a new partnership with First 5 California, also known as the California Children and Families Commission. The collaboration will build on current efforts by both partners to help parents and caregivers in California increase talking, reading and singing with children from birth to improve bonding, and boost early brain development.

The announcement will be made today at the annual First 5 California Child, Health, Education and Care Summit, with a special introductory video featuring Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to be shown at noon.

By combining their efforts in California, First 5 California and Too Small to Fail will share useful information, resources and campaign materials with parents, using both paid media and community-wide resources. In addition, the two partners will cross-promote their work and current research online, using their social media platforms as well as their highly-trafficked websites to deliver information to users.

First 5 California launched its “Talk. Read. Sing.” campaign in March 2014, with a paid television and radio campaign spanning across California. In addition to broadcast media, the campaign also ran on online media platforms and ethnic media. Messages from the campaign encouraged parents and caregivers to engage in activities with their children that encourage early learning and improve vocabulary skills, increasing children’s chances at success in school and beyond.

Also in 2014, Too Small to Fail announced the launch of its community campaigns in Oakland, California and Tulsa, Oklahoma, to bring early language and brain development tools and messages to the community, titled “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing”. Too Small to Fail currently works with media partners like Univision; early learning experts like Sesame Workshop; early health experts like the American Academy of Pediatrics; as well as community partners in Tulsa, Oakland and now also in Fresno, California to raise awareness and motivate action among parents and caregivers. Too Small to Fail campaign partners have distributed thousands of toolkits to parents filled with clothing bearing campaign messages; a toolkit by Sesame Street; books and CDs; and information about how to sign up for Text4baby, a free mobile health service for pregnant women and new parents. Messages from the campaign encourage parents and caregivers to find opportunities to meaningfully interact with their children every day from birth in order to build a baby’s vocabulary, strengthen bonding and boost early brain development.

“We are delighted to be working with First 5 California to help parents across the state understand that the time they spend talking with their young children, telling them stories, singing, reading books and asking questions, helps set them on a path of success for life,” said Ann O’Leary, Senior Vice President and Director of Too Small to Fail at Next Generation. “By combining First 5 California’s powerful Talk. Read. Sing. media campaign with Too Small to Fail’s on the ground efforts with community partners in Oakland and in Fresno—and soon in other First 5 communities across the state—we will be a powerful force working together to close the ‘word gap’.”

“By collaborating in this way, and bringing to bear the combined resources of First 5 California and Too Small to Fail, we know we can reach many more parents and caregivers with messages about how their daily actions can impact their children’s futures,” said Camille Maben, Executive Director of First 5 California. “Decades of research have shown us that we can optimize early childhood development if we empower parents to effect positive change. Our First 5 communities can help deliver the messages and tools parents need to make a difference in their children’s lives.”

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About First 5 California

First 5 California, also known as the California Children and Families Commission, was established after voters passed Proposition 10 in November 1998, which added a tax on tobacco products to fund education, health, childcare, and other services for children ages 0 to 5 and their families. Its programs and resources are designed to educate teachers, parents, grandparents, and caregivers about the critical role they play during a child's first five years – with the overarching goal of helping more California kids grow up healthy and ready to succeed in school and in life.

For more information, please visit www.first5california.com/parents.

About Too Small to Fail

Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Next Generation, aims to help parents, communities and businesses take meaningful actions to improve the health and well-being of children ages zero to five, so that more of America’s children are prepared to succeed in the 21st century.

Too Small to Fail has focused its work on closing the “word gap.” Studies have found that by age four, children in middle and upper income families hear up to 30 million more words than their lower income peers. This disparity in hearing words from parents and caregivers translates directly into a disparity in learning words. And that puts our children born with the fewest advantages even further behind. Among those born in 2001, only 48 percent of poor children started school ready to learn, compared to 75 percent of children from middle-income families.

The “word gap” is a significant but solvable challenge. Too Small to Fail is about parents, caregivers, other concerned individuals, and the private sector coming together to take small, research-based actions with big impacts.

Learn more at www.toosmall.org, and on Twitter @2SmalltoFail. 

About The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation

The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation convenes businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change.  Because of our work, 26,000 American schools are providing kids with healthy food choices in an effort to eradicate childhood obesity; 21,000 farmers in Malawi have improved their incomes by more than 500 percent; 248 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced in cities worldwide; more than 5,000 people have been trained in marketable job skills in Colombia; more than 8.2 million people have benefited from lifesaving HIV/AIDS medications; $100 million in strategic investments have been made, impacting the health of 50 million people in the U.S.; and members of the Clinton Global Initiative have made nearly 3,100 Commitments to Action to improve more than 430 million lives around the world.

Learn more at www.clintonfoundation.org, and on Twitter @ClintonFdn.

About Next Generation

Next Generation promotes solutions to two of the biggest challenges confronting the next generation of Americans: The risk of dangerous climate change, and the threat of diminished prospects for children and families. Through the use of non-partisan research, policy development, and strategic communications, we identify strategies that help deploy clean, advanced energy technologies; we also work to ensure a level playing field from which today’s kids can build a brighter future. 

Learn more at www.thenextgeneration.org, and on Twitter @nextgen_USA.