ACEs Aware Series

Investing in our Children / Invirtiendo en Nuestros Niños

Live Oak Cradle to Career

Live Oak is an unincorporated community and “Census Designated Place” in Santa Cruz County, located between the City of Santa Cruz and Capitola. It is a historically underserved and densely populated community that—if incorporated—would be the third largest city in the county, larger than Scott’s Valley and Capitola combined.


The Live Oak Cradle to Career Initiative (C2C) has grown from a nascent idea in 2013 championed by Supervisor John Leopold, to a vibrant results-based collaboration between Live Oak parents, local education, health, and social service leaders. C2C is now a parent-led initiative committed to leveraging community strengths and addressing interrelated community problems including low educational attainment and health inequities, with the vision that all Live Oak children can reach their full potential.


Focused on three parent-identified outcome areas: 1) Good Education, 2) Good Health, and 3) Good Character, C2C is actively tracking a number of key statistics for Live Oak children in each area including the percentage of 3rd graders meeting or exceeding state standards in English Language Arts and Literacy, the percentage of 7th graders in the state-defined Healthy Fitness Zone, and the average of children’s scores on an assessment of social and emotional well-being administered in preschool (to name just a few).


As one of a number of collaborative partners, First 5 has provided: 1) simultaneous translation services to the initiative to ensure that monolingual Spanish and English speakers can participate in all aspects of the process, 2) financial support for the initiative’s governance structure, 3) targeted Triple P parenting and early literacy workshops for parents of Live Oak students, and 4) ongoing funding and management of the Santa Cruz Reading Corps program in all of Live Oak School District’s Pre-K and transitional kindergarten (TK) classrooms.


Recently, the initiative was successful in securing grant funding to create a new Family Engagement Coordinator position at Live Oak Elementary School, and has expanded its priority population from Pre-K and TK to include kindergarten and 1st grade. First 5 is committed to the ongoing success of the Live Oak Cradle to Career Initiative and sees great potential for the initiative to serve as model throughout the county.