Archive for the ‘Children & Families’ Category

East County Juneteenth Celebration in downtown Brentwood Sunday, June 19

Thursday, June 9th, 2022

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Antioch Sesquicentennial: Rivertown Father’s Day Car Show June 19

Friday, May 27th, 2022

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Bay Area health officials share guidance to navigate the infant formula shortage

Friday, May 20th, 2022

Source: CDC

By Contra Costa Health Services

There continues to be a shortage of infant formula nationwide due to supply chain issues and a recall of infant formula due to bacterial contamination in the Abbott manufacturing plant in Michigan. The federal government is currently working on strategies to increase production of formula and help families access existing stock.

Compared to other states California is faring better, but the shortages are still of concern.

Babies need the right balance of nutrients- not too much or too little of anything- to grow and be healthy. It is important for your baby’s health to use products that meet federal standards to ensure the formula is safe and free of harmful bacteria.

During this challenging time, the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and the City of Berkeley encourage parents and families to:

  • If you are currently breastfeeding, continue if possible. We recognize this optionmay not be viable for everyone. If someone is partially breastfeeding, they may consider reaching out to a lactation care provider (in-person or by telehealth) to help ensure that they maintain or increase their milk supply by breastfeeding more.
  • Talk to your child’s doctor about substituting formula brands. For most babies, if their regular brand of formula is not currently available, it is OK to substitute with a similar version. Also consult your child’s pediatrician if your baby requires a specialized formula, (therapeutic or metabolic formula for an infant with a medical condition requiring different caloric or nutrient content), before making any substitution. Your pediatrician may recommend a milk bank referral. If you have questions about which formula is acceptable, contact your child’s pediatrician or your local WIC agency. (In Contra Costa County, call (800) 414-4WIC.)
  • Avoid making your own formula at home, watering down formula to make it last longer, using expired formula, using cow, goat, or plant-based milk for formula, or giving toddler formula to infants. Doing so can reduce the amount of nutrients a baby receives and can lead to potential serious health complications. If no other options are available to feed your baby, children over six months may be eligible for whole, pasteurized, cow’s milk, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. This is not ideal and should not be done for more than one week. Talk to your pediatrician if you need to give your baby cow’s milk for a week to see if this option is appropriate for your child.
  • Apply to the WIC program. About half of all births in California are in low-income families who qualify for the WIC program, and income-eligible clients can receive a WIC card and use it to purchase a limited amount of formula at participating retail stores. WIC offices are staffed by individuals with close ties to their communities. Existing WIC clients should use their benefits for formula earlier in the month in case they run into shortages near the end of their benefit period.
  • Find out what resources exist in the community and share those resources widely. If you see infant formula in stock when you’re shopping, make it known within your network.

Health officials will continue to monitor the shortage and provide updates as new information is available.

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EA Family Services celebrates grand opening of Antioch location with ribbon cutting

Saturday, April 23rd, 2022

EA Services staff and Antioch Chamber of Commerce members celebrate the grand opening ribbon cutting on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. Photos by Allen D. Payton

Serving foster children and parents

Cookies commemorating EA Services’ Grand Opening. The blue ribbon represents foster care.

By Allen D. Payton

EA Services celebrated the Grand Opening of their new location in Antioch with a ribbon cutting ceremony by the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. Founded in 1981, the non-profit organization provides a variety of residential services to children and young adults, ages 0-24, who have experienced neglect and abuse. Through their Foster Family Agency began in 1983, EA also supports parents of foster children, with over 1,000 clients in Northern California.

Chamber CEO and former Mayor Sean Wright welcomed EA Services to Antioch and Office Manager Lisa Florence thanked the Chamber for the ribbon cutting and to those in attendance.

The organization operates 15 other locations throughout Northern California and their Antioch offices, the first in Contra Costa County, are located at 3737A Lone Tree Way. For more information about EA Services or to become a foster parent visit www.ea.org or call (925) 771-8070.

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Contra Costa County Fair exhibit competition online entries close April 8

Wednesday, April 6th, 2022

Fair workers also needed

ANTIOCH – Online entries for the 2022 Contra Costa County Fair exhibit competitions close Friday, April 8th. Imagine the thrill of winning a blue ribbon at the Fair for a special talent. Think you own the best pig, bake the most delicious apple pie, made a beautiful quilt, or have an uncanny knack for making crafts? Want to see who’s the best in all of Contra Costa County? Then be sure to enter the Contra Costa County Fair’s competitive exhibits!

Entry information available on the fair’s website www.contracostafair.com

Cows, Corndogs & Carnival Rides. Oh My!! May 12-15 is sure to be a fun event for children of all ages, with new exhibits & entertainment, the carnival, livestock and the always popular Fair food. Money saving pre-sale tickets will be available starting April 22 and ending May 9.

Are you interested in working at The Fair? We are looking for Parking Attendants, Ticket Takers, Ticket Sellers and Information Booth Attendants. Visit contracostafair.com for details on each job position and to print out an application. Interviews and hiring will be on April 30th from 9am to 2pm at The Fair Administration Office Board Room.

For additional information visit our website at www.contracostafair.com, or like us on Facebook.

The County Fair is held at the Contra Costa Event Park at 1201 West 10th Street in Antioch.

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“Tour of Shame” held at Antioch apartment complex, rally highlight calls for eviction and tenant protections

Thursday, March 31st, 2022

Protesters hold signs during a rally across the street from Twin Creeks Apartments in Antioch before a “Tour of Shame” at the complex on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. Photos by Allen D. Payton

On eve of March 31st deadline for state’s rental assistance program and as Antioch City Council considers stronger tenant protections; new ordinances would require more city employees to enforce

About 30 people gathered for a rally before the “Tour of Shame”.

As the California Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is set to expire today, Thursday, March 31 and housing organizations warn of pending evictions, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action-Contra Costa in cooperation with the East County Regional Group (ECRG) hosted a “Tour of Shame” at the Twin Creek Apartments on James Donlon Blvd. in Antioch on Wednesday. The effort highlighted calls for rent stabilization, tenant anti-harassment and just-cause for eviction ordinances in the city, along with the extension to ERAP.

A rally attended by about 30 people, held in the dirt lot across the street from the apartment complex, and tour follows the Antioch City Council vote on January 25, 2022 directing City staff to begin drafting ordinances, which will be brought back for votes at a future meeting.

The event began with a brief presentation from ECRG of the preliminary findings from a recent housing needs assessment of over 1,000 renters in Antioch, bringing attention to rising rents, evictions, and claims of harassment in the city. Several people spoke including District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker, District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson and Leah Simon-Weisberg, Legal Counsel for ACCE. (See video)

The event offered preliminary findings from ECRG’s housing assessment, entitled “Antioch CHANGE – Community Housing Assessment of Needs, Gaps, and Equity”, on rising rents, evictions, and harassment concerns in the city. The report collected the housing needs and concerns of over 1,000 Antioch renters between April and June 2021. Although the survey did not ask about harassment, surveyors report hearing many stories of tenant harassment. http://www.first5coco.org/antioch-housing

Among other results, the report finds that the biggest concern of Antioch renters is housing affordability, where approximately 50% of those surveyed are concerned about the possibility of being evicted from their homes. The report also highlights that low-income Black, indigenous and other people of color families, especially single-mothers with young children, continue to face higher levels of housing insecurity and harassment.

To drive home ECRG’s report and their findings, ACCE-Contra Costa led the tour to highlight the conditions that some Antioch renters are facing such as at Twin Creek Apartments. During the rally those in attendance held signs and chanted “Fists up don’t give up”.

“FPI Management is not doing repairs,” said David Sharples, Director of ACCE-Contra Costa. “We’re doing a walk of shame to bring attention to the bad conditions.”

After gathering for a group photo, they marched with their signs across James Donlon Blvd. to the Twin Creeks Apartments where they tried to enter the rental office, but the door was locked.

Protesters in the “Tour of Shame” shouted chants outside the Twin Creeks Apartments office.

Tenant Complaints, Compliment

Before the event, tenants of the Twin Creek Apartments shared about their experiences with their building manager FPI Management, who has a history of harassment and negligence, and gave a tour of their apartments.

ACCE-member Lisa Omorowa is one of the many tenants who claim they’re facing negligence and harassment under FPI Management for the past three years. She has lived in complex with her husband and five children since 2019, and shares that most appliances and fixtures in their apartment are either outdated or are no longer working.

Many issues that Omorowa and her family face, such as both shower faucet handles in her bathrooms being so rusted that she has to turn the water on and off for her children, are considered by FPI to not be an “emergency” and are left unresolved. Their maintenance requests are met with the same level of inaction from FPI Management – issues like their oven needing replacement due to rust and nonfunctional burners, the cabinets and other fixtures falling apart, and the living room light not working since July 2021.

“This is my third year here and they have increased my rent over five times, even though everything here is old and broken down” said Omorowa, who pays $2,540 a month. “There needs to be a change of management because they make it difficult for us Black people to live here. This new management is not human, they don’t have empathy.”

Lanae Jackson is another ACCE member and a current college student living in the Twin Creek Apartments. She, like many others in the building, has experienced harassment, in which her landlord has refused to address urgent safety and habitability issues – including cockroaches, mold, and faulty electrical wiring. For example, several weeks ago a wall socket in Jackson’s apartment needed replacing and a handyman came to repair it. But instead of fixing the mistake, the handyman nailed a board over the socket to cover the hole.

Jackson is also severely rent burdened, earning $600 a month as a student advisor but paying approximately $990 for a two-bedroom apartment.

“It’s awful to not feel safe being in your own home” Jackson said about her apartment’s conditions. She hopes the city council passes stronger tenant protections for renters like her. “Passing ordinances in Antioch would finally bring peace of mind.”

A man who lives with his family in one of the Twin Creeks apartments, but who chose to not be identified, shared his experience, which is improving.

“When we first moved in, it got pushed back two weeks so they could get the placed fixed up and ready. But then we moved in and all it was, was the new carpet,” said the resident. “The mirror in the master bathroom is falling off the wall because the counter is broken and sagging. The dishwasher wasn’t fixed for six months.”

“The demo they showed us, my fiancé was star struck and fell in love instantly,” he stated. “But the apartment we moved into smelled and had calcium build up in the shower. Had they actually cleaned it, they would have seen it.”

For their two-bedroom, two-bath unit with one single assigned parking slot he said he pays $2,160 per month on a 14-month lease.

He did point out something positive currently occurring at Twin Creeks.

“The new maintenance guy they have is good. But he’s getting overworked. He’s at my apartment but has to leave for an emergency to another apartment,” the tenant stated.

FPI owns other complexes, he shared, including the one where his daughter lives, in Davis and is experiencing the same challenges.

As the group stood near the front of the rental office, they were led in chanting, “FPI, you’re no good. Make repairs like you should,” and “FPI, you can’t hide. We can see your greedy side,” and “What do we want? Repairs, now!”

Protesters march on the “Tour of Shame” inside the Twin Creeks Apartment complex.

“FPI is known for buying properties, pushing tenants out and jacking up the rent,” said Simon-Weisberg.

Asked who should tenants turn to for help, she said, “There’s no enforcement in Contra Costa County. That’s why it has to happen at the city level.”

Asked who would enforce the proposed ordinances in the city, police or Code Enforcement, Simon-Weisberg explained, “it will have to be city employees, part of an enforcement team.”

“Fight, fight, fight. Housing is a human right,” the group was also led in chanting.

“Aqui estamos. Y no nos vamos,” they chanted in Spanish, meaning we are her and we aren’t leaving.

Sharples placed a demand letter through the mail slot in the door to the office. Addressed to FPI Management, the list of demands included, hire professional maintenance staff, fix the plumbing, eradicate the mold, repair the lighting fixtures, fix all non-emergency work orders right away and give adequate notice before water shut-offs.

He then led the group of protesters on a walk through the complex.

FPI Management Does Not Respond

The Folsom-based FPI Management’s slogan on their company website of “Culture Grounded in H.E.A.R.T.”, refers to Humility, Excellence, Accountability, Respect and Teamwork. Several efforts to reach someone at the company for comment about the rally and tour, and a response to the complaints from their tenants at Twin Creeks were unsuccessful. In addition, a message was left on the voicemail for Twin Creeks Apartments on Thursday, but no response was received as of publication time at 4:25 p.m.

Antioch Has High Eviction Rate

The city of Antioch has been the ground for the largest number of evictions within the Bay Area according to a March 2021 KQED investigative report which found Antioch’s eviction rate to be 207.2 per 100,000 renter households. That’s nearly double that of Richmond and approximately 50 times the rate of Oakland. Moreover, 60 percent of Antioch renters, who make up 40% of all Antioch residents, report paying more than 30 percent of their income on rent in 2021.

More video of the day’s action can be viewed on ACCE’s Facebook page.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

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Study shows increased screen time during COVID leading to mental health issues for children

Friday, February 25th, 2022

Source: healthychildren.org

Screen Time Use Among U.S. Adolescents During the COVID-19 Pandemic Findings From the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study

By Antonia Ehlers, PR and Media Relations, Kaiser Permanente Northern California

In today’s world, it’s not uncommon for children to be connected to their phones and laptops. Some sneak devices on their laps under the dinner table, while others are slow to respond to real conversations when they’re texting their friends. It’s a whole new world, but increased screen time might be leading to more mental health issues, according to “Screen Time Use Among U.S. Adolescents During the COVID-19 Pandemic Findings From the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study” published in the Journal of the American Medical Association-Pediatrics (JAMA-Pediatrics).

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, many children increased screen time use due to online school, stay-at-home orders and general social isolation,” said Richard Freed, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center. “JAMA-Pediatrics recently reported that children nearly doubled their screen time use during the pandemic. Unfortunately, this increase is posing mental health risks for kids because it displaces the activities we know are helpful to children and adolescents, including quality time with family, physical activity, and engaging with their teachers and school communities.”

The cumulative effect of excessive screen time is leading to ongoing mental health issues for children.

“Children are experiencing anxiousness and stress in part because screen time has remained elevated even as pandemic restrictions are lifted,” Freed added. “It’s important for parents to understand how too much screen time can negatively impact children’s mental health, and there are ways parents can help reduce the amount of time their children spend on screens.”

Below are some tips for helping your child cut back on his or her screen time use:

  • Help children and adolescents engage with the activities we know support their mental health, including time with family and physical activity, as that leaves less time for screens.
  • Kids might need parent support and structure to get back into school routines, such as shutting down screens and completing homework.
  • Cutting back on screen time use does not mean no screen time at all. Try setting some limits on children’s usage and work on a plan to limit the amount of time per day they are on their screens.
  • Don’t allow children to have use of their screens before bedtime, which can disrupt sleep. Encourage them to read books or play quiet games instead.
  • Model good behavior. Put your own screens away and show children the importance of finding other activities to occupy their time.
  • Encourage children to play outdoors or take up a new hobby. Find ways to expand their in-person social interactions, such as joining a club or an after-school activity.
  • Go on walks, have family game nights, start a family book club, or work on puzzles. Find other ways to keep your children occupied and engaged.
  • Talk to your children about the importance of staying engaged with others and how screens prohibit them from developing the social skills they need to be successful.
  • If your child continues to withdraw or seems anxious or stressed, talk about what might be happening and offer solutions to help.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics has a tool at healthychildren.org/MediaUsePlan to help you create a plan for screen time.

 

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Kaiser partners with Food Bank to support Antioch High’s Warm for the Holidays event Friday

Monday, December 20th, 2021

Antioch High School Principal Louie Rocha (center) joined Antioch Medical Center Chief Operating Operator Dante Green, FACHE (left), Kaiser Permanente Diablo Service Area Physician-in-Chief Sharon Krejci Mowat, MD, FAAP, and Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Program Coordinator Jamie Diaz (far right) at the Warm for the Holidays event on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. Photo: Kaiser Permanente

By Antonia Ehlers, PR and Media Relations, Kaiser Permanente Northern California

The line into the Antioch High School gymnasium was long, last Friday afternoon, as local families queued up on a chilly day for the annual Warm for the Holidays event, a joint effort of Kaiser Permanente, the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, the high school, and other community organizations. The school district invited K-12 students of all ages, along with their families to “shop” for food, clothing, books and toys.

More than 2,000 pounds of food was distributed to families in the community.

“The Antioch High School Warm for the Holidays annual event has been a heartwarming experience for our students and staff, who have discovered the power of service to community,” said Antioch High School Principal Louie Rocha. “Despite the recent COVID-19 restrictions, we continue to provide our school community with necessities and gifts to share with their loved ones.”

Kaiser Permanente and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano provided the food portion of the distribution. The Antioch Rotary Club, Holy Rosary Church and the Antioch Woman’s Club donated clothing, toys, books and games.

Through a $550,000 grant to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, Kaiser Permanente is helping fight food insecurity in the community.

“In order for children to learn in school, we need to increase access to healthy food in our communities,” said Sharon Krejci Mowat, MD, FAAP, Kaiser Permanente Diablo Service Area Physician-in-Chief. “This has been a particularly difficult year for so many families, and partnerships like these in our community our critical to ensuring families have the food they need to lead healthy lives.”

Food insecurity has been an increasing concern throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano has distributed more than 50 percent more food than the previous fiscal year and has served 80,000-100,000 more people each month over last year.

“With generous funding from Kaiser Permanente, the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano has been able to purchase fresh produce along with nutritious shelf-stable food for distribution at schools across the community,” said Lindsay Drakeley, leadership gifts manager at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. “The Food Bank is thankful to have strong community partnerships that make events like this possible.”

 

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