The Mission Promise Neighborhood is a prenatal-to-career continuum of support services for families in San Francisco’s Mission District. The beginning of the pipeline includes many partner strategies and programs working to promote kinder readiness by ensuring that children have a medical home, are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program and that families support learning.

Mission Promise Neighborhood has learned that there are some key predictors of readiness in the Mission District, including: child well-being; frequency of family activities; not having special needs; family income level; and having a preschool experience. (Read Applied Survey Research report on kinder readiness in the Mission.)

Children are healthy
Mission Promise Neighborhood partners offer services that address the top six predictors of readiness. An example of how one partner is addressing most of these predictors by having an integrated approach to serving families is how Mission Neighborhood Health Center (MNHC) offers prenatal services and is the medical home to most Mission Promise Neighborhood families. In 2016, the program supported 87 Mission women with the need for prenatal care. Of these women, 93 percent of their babies were born at both normal birth weight and gestational age at delivery. Additionally, 60 percent of those mothers initiated pediatric care at MNHC.

So far in 2017, MNHC has provided San Francisco children under five with 4,431 well-baby visits to ensure that children have a stable medical home and are healthy. In addition to not being sick, child well-being is also about their not being tired or hungry at school. MNHC has a family-support staff person that connects families to the resources and information they need to access food and, in some cases, a stable home. MNHC also houses a staff person from Support for Families who administers a developmental screening for children under five years old. This is a critical early-intervention service that ensures that children are developing in a healthy way and that if there is a concern, the family can be connected to the appropriate services. So far in 2017, Support for Families has conducted 93 screenings at MNHC. Lastly, the family support staff at MNHC ensures that families are connected to other Mission Promise Neighborhood partners that can provide families with information on early-childhood development, help families enroll in a high-quality preschool program and offer families financial services, such as MEDA’s financial capability program.

High-quality preschool
Mission Promise Neighborhood was designed to leverage much of the investments that First 5 San Francisco has made in the Mission District. First 5 SF supports the following MPN partners that offer preschool services:  Felton Institute, Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, and Mission Neighborhood Centers. These partners have been supported to meet the specific needs of the Mission’s Latino community, including culturally relevant training and enhancement funds to provide high-quality care.

Ingrid Mezquita, Executive Director of First 5 SF,  explains, “Providing a high-quality preschool experience means teachers receive ongoing support in their professional development, funding is available for children to have meaningful engagement, and programs reflect on student data to fine tune how to best meet children’s needs.”

Felton Institute exemplifies the impact being made for kids in the Mission Promise Neighborhood. The agency serves 400 children from birth to age 6, including those with special needs. After 46 years solely in the Mission, Felton Institute recently expanded to serve other San Francisco communities of color, with two centers in the Bayview and one in Visitacion Valley.

Explains Felton’s COO Yohana Quiroz of the power of being part of the collective: “Mission Promise Neighborhood has supported Felton Institute to achieve its mission and vision by leveraging and building upon existing community partnerships and coordinating our efforts for all to focus on a shared goal, using a Results-Based Accountability and collective-impact framework. This has supported our ability to continuously reflect on data, and focus on our collective efforts and how they align —  or not — to ensure we are continuing to move the needle to improve child outcomes.”

Quiroz has many client success stories to share, but one family’s experience truly showcases the impact being made in getting children kinder ready. States Quiroz, “A family with twins was struggling to find a service provider that could meet the needs of their children, who had a formal diagnosis. One of Felton Institute’s Early Childhood Education programs was able to enroll them in their infant-development program, which provides an inclusive learning environment for children with special needs and those typically developing. Now, after a few years, these children are thriving and will be transitioning into kindergarten next year, plus the mom has been able to get a full-time job, knowing that her two children are receiving comprehensive services that are ultimately supporting their school readiness.”

Eighty-two percent of San Francisco Latino 4-year-olds are now enrolled in Preschool For All — a huge success.

Despite this success, there are issues that remain, with First 5 San Francisco and Mission Promise Neighborhood committed to closing these gaps.

“Your ZIP code shouldn’t determine the quality of preschool. Every child deserves quality early education — it’s about creating opportunity for all of our kids,” concludes First 5 SF’s Mezquita.

Families support learning
To scale parent education/leadership programs — and in partnership with First 5 SF — six Mission Promise Neighborhood early-learning partners participated in the Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors facilitator training last spring. Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors is the only evidence-based parent education/leadership program for Latino parents with children birth to age 5. According to the UC Berkeley Institute of Human Development, this program “empowers them to transform cultural strengths into the tangible tools they need to build solid foundations.” Parents showcase significant increases in their knowledge of language and literacy development, social-emotional development, health development and school preparation.

Mission Promise Neighborhood’s goal is to support partners in scaling Abriendo Puertas in the Mission community and across San Francisco. Mission Promise Neighborhood created an Abriendo Puertas Learning community for facilitators to support each other and share best practices. Since April, there has been an increase in the amount of families that are accessing Abriendo Puertas, especially via partners that had never offered the curriculum before.

The initial five years of life are critical for shaping childhood outcomes. That’s why a collective impact approach has been put in place by the Mission Promise Neighborhood to address gaps, provide high-quality preschool and make sure all of our children in the Mission District are kinder ready.

A common value of closing the opportunity gap is what drives this work.


About Mission Promise Neighborhood

The Mission Promise Neighborhood is a citywide community partnership that was created to support kids and families living, working and attending school in the Mission District. It brings together schools, colleges, community organizations and community leaders to help kids graduate and families achieve financial stability.


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