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Getting a Head Start on Success

El Nido Family Centers partners with Kaiser Permanente to provide 600 backpacks to school-age children

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Six hundred children and their families got a head start preparing for the new school year when they recently received free backpacks filled with essential school supplies at El Nido Family Centers in Pacoima and South Los Angeles.

Thanks to a partnership with Kaiser Permanente and El Nido Family Centers that began 8 years ago, 300 children enthusiastically received camouflage backpacks containing pens, highlighters, rulers, notebooks, erasers, and more on Aug. 8 in Pacoima. This annual event also featured information booths, free dental screenings, interactive games, prizes and more for invited families. Another 300 school-age children received similar backpacks at El Nido Family Centers in South Los Angeles on Aug. 3.

“A lot of love and caring went into these backpacks along with the school items, as approximately 150 Kaiser Permanente Finance Department employees volunteered to pack each one,” said George DiSalvo, chief financial officer, Kaiser Permanente Southern California. DiSalvo helped distribute the backpacks during the morning delivery in Pacoima, while Linda Medina, vice president, regional revenue cycle leader, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, assisted at the afternoon delivery in Pacoima.

Committed to improving community health in the communities it serves, Kaiser Permanente believes that education, as with other social factors that impact health, plays a major role in a person’s overall well-being.

“A good education will affect us throughout our lifetime, and has been shown to increase healthy behaviors and improve health outcomes,” said DiSalvo, whose department coordinates and participates in the annual event each year. “As we help these children be better prepared to succeed in school, we believe they’re more likely to succeed later in life.”

The nonprofit El Nido Family Centers, whose mission is to empower at-risk children and families, also received a $15,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Medical Center. This funding to support El Nido’s Teen Parent Family Services program will help increase access to health care, wellness education, health promotion, and disease prevention for underserved pregnant/parenting teens and their babies in the San Fernando Valley.

Elaine Doran, director, communications and media affairs, El Nido Family Centers, said El Nido greatly appreciates Kaiser Permanente’s partnership on the backpack event. “The joy, happiness, and confidence that you help give these students are unbelievable when they have these tools to start school,” Doran said.