Long Beach gives back to community with development kits

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Eileen Osuna

A woman claims a developmental childhood kit at the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library in Long Beach. Safety guidelines are in place at the drive. Nov. 10, 2020 Photo credit: Eileen Osuna

Eileen Osuna, Staff Writer

The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services and the Long Beach Public Library kicked off their partnership to distribute childhood developmental kits to 2,000 young children throughout the city on Tuesday.

The kits, which are for children from birth to five years old and support early development while at home, include books, art supplies, additional materials and are designed with unique supplies that are developmentally appropriate for each age group. They will also contain resource packets with information on local early childhood resources.

Developmental kits contain a packet with additional childhood resources. Included is information on reading programs, development center locations and strategies to help with at home learning. November 11, 2020.
Developmental kits contain a packet with additional childhood resources. Included is information on reading programs, development center locations and strategies to help with at home learning. Nov. 11, 2020. Photo credit: Eileen Osuna

The program was created in part thanks to the $40 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Recovery and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding the city has received, of which the Long Beach City Council has allocated $1 million for early childhood support.

Alejandra Albarran Moses, community health coordinator, said the program was inspired after conversations with the early childhood education community highlighted the needs of the community to have supplies for children to continue to learn at home during COVID-19.

“At that time, many of our early childhood education programs were closed and a lot of them had shifted to virtual learning, even preschool,” she said, “but what they really noticed is that a lot of the families didn’t have a lot of the supplies they needed to fully engage in those learning opportunities.”

Furthermore, Albarran Moses said the kits will be used in conjunction with another project the city is doing through another partnership called the Early Learning Festival, where families will have the opportunity to learn how to support their child’s early development whether they received a kit or not.

“For us, it’s making sure our youngest children have what they need to continue to thrive in the midst of this time at home, time where they’re not at the same rate in early childhood opportunities as they would have been before,” Albarran Moses said.

As for interest in the program, Albarran Moses said that when the announcement was made, the city’s libraries were bombarded with phone calls from people who wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. In fact, calls of interest continue to pour in from Long Beach residents and those outside.

However, all 2,000 kits are reserved for Long Beach Residents and the boxes were assigned to children within a week of the announcement.

The distribution will continue Tuesday to Saturday through Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a reservation at the following library sites:

Mark Twain Neighborhood Library, 1401 E. Anaheim St.

Brete Harte Neighborhood Library, 1595 W. Willow St.

Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library, 5870 Atlantic Ave.

Los Altos Neighborhood Library, 5614 E. Britton Dr.

Billie Jean King Main Library, 200 W. Broadway

All locations have health and safety guidelines in place and people are required to wear face masks, maintain social distancing and wait in their vehicles until their scheduled appointment time.

For more information on CARES Act programs available to Long Beach residents, please click here and fill out the resident interest form or call the city’s information line at 562-570-4636.