We want you to get to know the people who make HAB45 the powerful collaboration that it is. In this series, we’ll be speaking with members of our Executive Committee and other partners who bring unique perspectives on early childhood health to our table. First up is John Jones, Executive Director of the Contra Costa Child Care Council and Executive Committee Member of Healthy & Active Before 5.
What does your organization do?
We work with families to find high quality child care, and with child care providers to improve their child care business. We also assist with child care subsidies, which assist low income families to pay for child care and continue to work. Overall we’re working to make a highly early childhood-focused environment.
How did you get into your current field?
By accident! I hadn’t planned on doing non-profit work when I was in college. After I became disillusioned with the for-profit world, a friend suggested I consider working with children. I started working for a non-profit that focused on adolescents in the juvenile justice system, but I began to think that more could be done—that we could do a better job if we reached kids earlier in life. Then I started doing work for a younger population, specifically young kids with developmental disabilities. I really enjoyed my work, so only an organization with a truly great mission could get me to leave. Eventually I was asked if I’d like to interview for a position at the Child Care Council. They offered me an opportunity that was hard to refuse. Children are our greatest asset, and as a society we aren’t doing right by them. My mission is to provide children the best opportunity to do the greatest good.
Kids are at the greatest risk health-wise – there are a lot of potential hazards out there. It’s our responsibility as adults to be their safety net. Children are at high risk for just about everything. If you look at older cemeteries, you’ll realize just how risky it used to be to be a child. We’ve come a long way since the days of smallpox, but there’s still much more we could be doing for children.
What is one thing you would like to see changed or improved for children in Contra Costa County?
Access to quality health care. The care that a child receives still depends on their zip code. Every kid should have access to the highest quality health care.
Anything else you’d like to say?
The mission of HAB45 is consistent with what the county needs to create a great environment to raise kids. Contra Costa County is very much a place for people to live their entire lives, but we have to keep focusing on children. HAB45 is always thinking forward, always keeping in mind what’s best for families.
Bonus question: What is your favorite children’s book?
Green Eggs and Ham. I love that book! Even though it seems like nonsense it’s actually about getting all of us to try new things.