Income Disparities in SF: Closing the Gap

California State Assemblymember David Chiu, Anda Kuo, MD, Bertam Lubin, MD, and Wu Yee's CEO, Monica Walters

California State Assemblymember David Chiu, Anda Kuo, MD, Bertam Lubin, MD, and Wu Yee's CEO, Monica Walters

Did you know where you live in San Francisco can determine when and sometimes how, you will die?  In a discussion about income disparity in San Francisco and how to narrow the gap between the rich and poor, Anda Kuo, MD, professor of Pediatrics and Co-Leader of the UCSF Child Health Equity Institute, spoke of how one’s zip code can determine outcomes such as education level, income level and general health.

On October 26, 2017 Wu Yee Children's Services hosted a speaker luncheon titled Income Disparities in SF: Closing the Gap through Early Childhood Education at The City Club of San Francisco. The luncheon featured Bertram Lubin, MD, Associate Dean of Children's Health, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals, Anda Kuo, MD, as moderator, and California State Assemblymember, David Chiu.  

In their talks, Dr. Lubin and Dr. Kuo spoke of the health crisis that affects low income families in San Francisco.  They both emphasized that poverty and disadvantage are the most powerful epidemiologic predictors of health outcomes.  Dr. Lubin spoke of the many health consequences to poverty including increased infant mortality, increased incidence of chronic diseases such as asthma and obesity, and poor nutrition and delayed developmental growth.  

Dr. Kuo noted in the United States, 50% of children live near the poverty line.  She made a comparison between two San Francisco neighborhoods: Russian Hill, a wealthy neighborhood, and Bayview-Hunters Point, a low-income neighborhood.  Compared to a child living in Russian Hill, a child living in Bayview-Hunters Point, is two times as likely to be born premature, seven times as likely to be born into poverty, and is expected to die 14 years earlier, than his or her Russian Hill counterpart.

Assemblymember David Chiu focused on the politics and policy side of income disparity in San Francisco and solutions to close gaps in education, health, and opportunity.  Chiu added that he had a personal connection to Dr. Kuo’s San Francisco neighborhood comparision, living in Russian Hill before his son was born, and moving to Bayview-Hunters Point after not being able to afford a home in Russian Hill.  

Chiu mentioned some policy solutions that are being made in the California State Legislature.  For example, improvements in health care access and dental care for undocumented immigrant children and regulations regarding skyrocketing prescription drug prices.  Chiu mentioned the need for increased funding for trained and capable early childhood education professionals and child care providers. Housing, economic self-sufficiency, education, and prison reform were used as examples for what needs to be changed at the State level in order to support the narrowing of the income gap.  

The event closed with a question and answer discussion between Dr. Kuo, Dr. Lubin, Assemblymember Chiu and attendees.  Advocacy for early childhood education, mental health, and parental leave was discussed and participants left the event with hope for children of the future.     

For more information on the USCF's Child Health Equity Institute click here

The Great ShakeOut!

A teacher demonstrates how to protect one's self in an earthquake to the children at Wu Yee Children's Services Lok Yuen Child Development Center

A teacher demonstrates how to protect one's self in an earthquake to the children at Wu Yee Children's Services Lok Yuen Child Development Center

On October 19, 2017 at exactly 10:19 am, over 18 million people participated in The Great ShakeOut, a global earthquake preparedness event.  The Great ShakeOut is an opportunity to learn and practice what to do before, during, and after an earthquake.

All Wu Yee Children's Services offices and Child Development Centers participated in the earthquake drill, which emphasized what Federal, state, and local emergency management experts and official preparedness organizations all agree on: “Drop, Cover, and Hold On".  

  • Drop where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.

  • Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand, and stay on your knees bending over to protect vital organs.  

  • Hold on to shelter with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts.  If not under shelter, hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

So King Szeto, Family Advocate at Lok Yuen Child Development Center said all Wu Yee Child Development Centers participate in monthly earthquake and fire drills, so most children are familiar with the procedure.  "Some of them understand the seriousness, but the little ones may need a teacher to help them out", she said.

Substitute teacher, Annie Li helps children drop, cover, and hold on

Substitute teacher, Annie Li helps children drop, cover, and hold on

The Earthquake Country Alliance, a public-private partnership of people, organizations, and regional alliances that work together to improve preparedness, mitigation and resiliency; recommends seven steps to earthquake safety.  In the third step, they recommend everyone to have disaster supplies kits stored in accessible locations at home, at work and in your vehicle. Having emergency supplies readily available can reduce the impact of an earthquake, a terrorist incident or other emergency on you and your family. Your disaster supplies kits should include:

  • Medications, prescription list, copies of medical cards, doctor’s name and contact information

  • Medical consent forms for dependents

  • First aid kit and handbook

  • Examination gloves (non-latex)

  • Dust mask

  • Spare eyeglasses or contact lenses and cleaning solution

  • Bottled water

  • Whistle (to alert rescuers to your location)

  • Sturdy shoes

  • Emergency cash

  • Road maps

  • List of emergency out-of-area contact phone numbers

  • Snack foods, high in water and calories

  • Working flashlight with extra batteries and light bulbs, or light sticks

  • Personal hygiene supplies

  • Comfort items such as games, crayons, writing materials, teddy bears

  • Toiletries and special provisions you need for yourself and others in your family including elderly, disabled, small children, and animals.

  • Copies of personal identification (drivers license, work ID card, etc.)

Wu Yee Families Participate in Living Lab Focus Group

Wu Yee parents, Min Lei and Cici Guo, participate in a focus group with Matt Barry, Chief Impact Officer at The Piton Foundation

Wu Yee parents, Min Lei and Cici Guo, participate in a focus group with Matt Barry, Chief Impact Officer at The Piton Foundation

Wu Yee parents, teachers, and early childhood care and education funders from organizations including The Early Learning Lab, Omidyar Network, and The Piton Foundation participated in a focus group generating ideas to redesign early care environments to help parents build strong relationships with their children and other supportive adults.  

The focus group, hosted by startup ideas lab, Capita, encouraged participants to brainstorm in small groups and concentrated on questions like, “How can parents be better supported?” and “How can relationships between parents and child care centers be improved?”  Ideas generated include child care centers integrated with pediatrician's offices to better measure the outcome of universal milestones.   

Cici Guo, parent of two children at Wu Yee Child Development Centers, participated because she wanted to become more involved in her children's development.  Matt Barry, Chief Impact Officer at The Piton Foundation was excited about directly learning from parents and teachers about their primary needs.  He said, "any chance I get to be in room with parents and teachers is great because otherwise we are coming up with ideas and solutions in a vacuum."

Merced Rocha, Infant Lead Teacher at New Generations Child Development Center talks with Sarah Flores, Director of Communications at The Early Learning Lab

Merced Rocha, Infant Lead Teacher at New Generations Child Development Center talks with Sarah Flores, Director of Communications at The Early Learning Lab

Wu Yee Engages Bayview Community at 40th Anniversary Celebration

On September 30, 2017 over 300 community members and families gathered on a sunny Saturday at the Bayview Opera House to engage the Bayview community and celebrate Wu Yee Children’s Services’ 40th anniversary.  Attendees of the free community celebration enjoyed the upbeat, happy sounds of Jest Jammin, Chinatown’s premier soul band, interactive play from children’s musician, Mr. Rado, and performances from the Little Opera, an after-school arts mentoring program featuring selected pieces written and performed by students, grades 3-6.     

Numerous community partners offered resources and information along with crafts, games and activities. These include:
Bayview MAGIC
EcoCenter at Heron's Head Park
Artist & Craftsman Supply San Francisco
San Francisco Public Library - Bayview/Linda Brooks-Burton Branch Library
Community Youth Center of San Francisco
JVS
City College of San Francisco
Open Door Legal
SFMTA | San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
San Francisco Fire Department
San Francisco Police Department
Jumpstart San Francisco

Parents, kids, and members of the community enjoyed playing with hula hoops, a parachute, bubbles, and face paint. Blackberry Soul provided nutritious food, and a photo booth with fun props by was made available by Heirloom Photo Booths to memorialize the event in film for all who attended.  

A thought-provoking art installation, Our Children Rising, provided historical context to Wu Yee’s inception and growth throughout its 40 years.  The interactive exhibit features audio of Wu Yee’s founders, a slideshow of the early days of Wu Yee, notes of how Wu Yee has impacted San Francisco’s children and families, and a call to San Francisco’s politicians and leaders to consider Wu Yee’s impact in their policy decisions.  

A million thanks to our staff, volunteers, in-kind donors, and event sponsors.  Without you, this event would not be possible!

We can only hope for Wu Yee Children’s Services’ 50th Anniversary celebration to be as fun, energetic and well-attended.  We hope to see you all there!

Wu Yee Children's Services Honors its Family Child Care Providers

Supervisor Norman Yee with Awardees Delia Suarez, Siu Kam Cheung, and Barbara Ng, Director of Provider Services, Cheryl Hughes and Chief Executive Officer, Monica Waters.  

Supervisor Norman Yee with Awardees Delia Suarez, Siu Kam Cheung, and Barbara Ng, Director of Provider Services, Cheryl Hughes and Chief Executive Officer, Monica Waters.  

On September 30, 2017 Wu Yee Children's Services held a breakfast in appreciation of its Family Child Care providers at the Bayview Opera House.  Providers from Wu Yee’s Family Child Care Quality Network, Food Program, Head Start and Early Head Start Programs, and Provider Training Programs were honored for their years of service and their dedication to the children and families of San Francisco.  

Supervisor Norman Yee presented three Certificates of Honor from The City and County of San Francisco to Siu Kam Cheung, Barbara Ng, and Delia Suarez.  Siu Kam Cheung is retiring from the Early Head Start Family Child Care Program after nineteen years.  She has been and continues to be a leader in the Wu Yee Provider Network and while she’s retiring, she will continue to educate generations of children to come and we thank her for her partnership and service.  

As a member of the Family Child Care Quality Network at Wu Yee, Barbara Ng participated in the first peer learning communities and educational cohorts in Chinatown.  She also recently expanded her early care and education business in 2016.  Wu Yee is  honored to have been a part of her growth as she has been an equal part of Wu Yee’s growth in the early care and education community.

Delia Suarez has been providing early care and education to generations of children for seventeen years.  In San Francisco’s Bayview district,  Delia has a garden for children to learn and families to rest and renew.  Her garden is filled with mature fruit trees, vegetables and animals, so children can learn hands on science and math in a natural setting.  Delia has helped develop a Spanish speaking Early Head Start Provider Network, expanding Wu Yee’s capacity to serve monolingual Spanish speaking children and families.

In addition to recognizing Family Child Care Providers for their leadership and service ranging from one to over twenty years, a new online care portal was previewed.  Cindy Lin, Resource and Referral Manager, demonstrated a tutorial of features designed to make finding and referring child care providers easier and more intuitive for families.  The portal will also be used as a marketing tool for providers, so potential clients can learn about them and their centers before scheduling a home visit.  

Attendees enjoyed a delicious breakfast catered by Blackberry Soul, a photo booth with fun props by Heirloom Photo Booths, and participated in a drawing for door prizes donated by generous in-kind donors: 
Airbnb, Alamo Drafthouse San Francisco, Asian Art Museum, Bi-Rite Market, Cole Hardware, Concannon Vineyard,Disney California Adventure Park, de Young Museum, Harrah's & Harveys Lake Tahoe, JetBlue, Kaplan Toys, Lakeshore Learning, McKahn Family Cellars, O'Neill Vintners, Philz Coffee, PIER 39, Retzlaff Vineyards, San Francisco Zoo, SFMOMA San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Sports Basement, StubHub, Trader Joe's - San Francisco CA, Yank Sing, Z. Cioccolato

Wu Yee is extremely proud of its honorees and all of its FCC Providers.  We wish them much success with their business and prosperity in the years to come!

Wu Yee Child Development Centers Return to Nature

John Gunnarson in the Nature Room at Little Sprouts Child Development Center

John Gunnarson in the Nature Room at Little Sprouts Child Development Center

Five Wu Yee Children's Services Child Development Centers have started to update their play spaces to include rocks, trees and water - all vital elements in nature.  At Little Sprouts Child Development Center in Chinatown, this means putting plants and fish tanks in the classrooms and renaming their indoor play space, the “Nature Room” in honor of the vines, branches, and rocks integrated with the toys, games, and activities.  

John Gunnarson, designer of the Nature Room at Little Sprouts states some of the many benefits of having a more natural based play space are increased problem solving and creativity. He said, “by seeing the slight differences in natural objects like leaves and sticks, children can think creatively and value diversity.” Little Sprouts Center Manager, Martha Ly echoes Gunnarson’s sentiment saying, “Being exposed to natural elements promotes calmness and creativity. Children are more likely to take risks and explore.”  

Being exposed to natural elements also encourages children to develop a love of nature and the environment and want to preserve it for generations to come. “These children could be future policy makers and politicians. They need a chance to experience nature in a safe place and develop a positive connection to our environment, ”said Gunnarson.    

We look forward to seeing the children play in the Nature Room at Little Sprouts, and the completion of the renovated play spaces at the four other Wu Yee Child Development Centers.

Protecting Immigrant Youth and Families

22_immigrationnation_w.jpg

In reaction to the current administration’s decision to end the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the entire Wu Yee community stands in support of its immigrant families. Immigrants make our communities and our country stronger. Our community promotes diversity and stands for inclusion.  

Wu Yee echoes Dean Ito Taylor’s words, Executive Director of Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach. “The proposed legislation targets families by cutting our ability to bring siblings, adult children, or parents. This will really hurt our ability to bring our families together.”

Now, more than ever, we need to stand united for the cause of creating opportunities for children to be healthy, for families to thrive and for communities to be strong.  

If you or someone you know wants to act on behalf of immigrant families, please call Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan at 213-335-2244, and Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell at 855-336-0788 and tell them DACA must be reinstated to protect immigrant youth and families.  

In San Francisco there are many resources for immigrants. Please don’t hesitate to contact them if you have questions or need information.

La Raza Community Resource Center 
Asian Americans Advancing Justice 
Carecen SF 
Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach 
Immigrant Legal Resource Center
DACA Renewal Scholarships Available Now
Free DACA Renewal Workshop
Free Citizenship Workshop