FamilyConnections

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Be a part of Family Connections

Mission & History

Our mission is to provide free preschool education for low income families throughout San Mateo County.

At Family Connections our mission is to establish the resources and broad recognition to be the first place that low-income families go for early childhood and parent education - empowering children and their parents to learn, grow, and dream.  Our vision is to foster the potential of our community's youngest at-risk children and their families by giving them the skills to succeed and the confidence to have a positive impact on the world.

In our innovative program parents participate in preschool classes with their children, ages newborn to five. Children experience an array of educational opportunities that prepare them for the future. Parents attend weekly parenting seminars, covering a range of topics, with an emphasis on positive discipline.

We believe Family Connections helps ...

  • Give children the confidence needed for a successful start in Kindergarten.
  • Prepare parents for their children’s academics after preschool
  • Make parents better parents and more effective advocates of their children’s education.
  • Improve academic performance and reduce high school drop out rates.
  • Create happier families because parents receive education on how to work effectively with their children and children start Kindergarten with an enthusiasm for school and learning.
  • Break the cycle of poverty: a student who goes to preschool has a statistically better chance of succeeding in life.

A brief review of our history:

1993

Family Connections is founded (as the East Palo Alto Child Center) by Little Hands: A Parent-Child Center with the support of the Sequoia Adult School.  Seven families meet with Teacher Angela Jaime in an apartment in the Carriage Manor Apartment Complex in East Palo Alto.

1994

The East Palo Alto Child Center moves to a building in East Palo Alto.

1996

Robin Holcomb becomes the first paid Family Connections Director.

1996

The East Palo Alto Child Center becomes officially known as Family Connections.

1996

Family Connections begins to meet in a classroom at the Belle Haven Elementary School.

1997

A permanent home in a portable building at the Belle Haven elementary school is found with the support of the City of Menlo Park.

1998

Two annual fundraisers begin — An Evening with Children’s Authors in the fall and a rummage sale in the spring.

1998

Family Connections is granted tax exempt 501(c)(3) status and becomes independent from Little Hands.

2002

Two new classroom locations are added — in East Palo Alto at the Girls Club and at Clara Mateo Homeless Shelter.  Teacher Lorena Cadenas is hired to teach at both sites.

2004

Renee Zimmerman is hired as the first full-time Executive Director of Family Connections.

2006

The “Kickoff to Kindergarten” summer program, funded by First Five San Mateo County in partnership with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and run by Family Connections, is launched.

2007

Following the closure of the Girls Club, Family Connections temporarily relocates to the St. Francis of Assisi Church in East Palo Alto.

2008

Family Connections’ first permanent facility at 1070 Beech Street in East Palo Alto is opened.

2008

The dream of opening a classroom in Redwood City is realized with support from the Sequoia Union High School District.  Family Connections relocates its program from the Clara Mateo classroom to Redwood City.

2009

A third teacher, Margarita Ventura is hired to teach at our East Palo Alto site.

2010

Family Connections expands its Kickoff to Kindergarten program to serve children in both Ravenswood City School District and the Redwood City School District.



“Children who are not only proficient in Kindergarten Academics but are also on track with their Social Expression skills – especially their ability to express needs and wants, as well as their curiosity and eagerness for learning – display an extra boost in test scores four years later.”

Santa Clara Partnership for School Readiness study, “Does Readiness Matter? How Kindergarten Readiness Translates Into Academic Success”, April 2008