At the June 22nd meeting of the County of Lake Board of Supervisors, two new commissioners were appointed to the First 5 Lake Commission; Tarin Benson is the Coordinator of Student Services for Konocti Unified School District, and Justin Gaddy is the Program Manager for Hope Rising Lake County. Both appointees will each serve two-year terms as at-large commissioners. Ms. Benson qualified for consideration as a commissioner as a representative of a local school district, and Mr. Gaddy qualified as a parent of a young child, under the age of six, and recipient of project services included in the First 5 Lake strategic plan.
“I want to be part of organizations that are taking the lead in developing growth opportunities for our children and creating a brighter future for our community. I don’t just want to talk about change; I want to be part of the change that’s talked about,” says Gaddy.
“I am interested in helping to make the connections between 0-5 and education, and in building up our community by making a positive impact at the earliest ages because what happens in early childhood impacts a lifetime!” says Benson.
“We are excited to have Commissioners Benson and Gaddy at the First 5 table going forward!” says Carla Ritz, Executive Director for First 5 Lake. “There were several qualified applicants, each with varied backgrounds and experiences that would have been valuable to the First 5 Commission,” she continued. “The recruitment and selection committee members were particularly focused on finding qualified candidates who could represent children and families in District 2 which was under-represented on the commission at the time. Equity is a core value of First 5 Lake, and we believe that representation is essential to the pursuit of that value.”
Both Benson and Gaddy grew up in the South Shore area of Lake County and attended schools within Konocti Unified School District, and both are graduates of Lower Lake High School who now work in Clearlake and Lower Lake.
The next meeting of the First 5 Lake Commission will be held via Zoom on Wednesday, August 25, 2021, at 2:00pm. Members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend and offer comment. More information about First 5 Lake, its investments and priorities can be found at www.firstfivelake.org.
Using funds derived from CA Proposition 10’s voter-mandated tax on tobacco products, the First 5 Lake County Commission funds programs and services that benefit the health and development of young children and educate parents, grandparents, caregivers and teachers about the critical role they play during a child’s first five years. Since its inception in 2000, First 5 Lake has supported thousands of families with programs and services designed to help Lake County children grow up healthy and ready to succeed in school and life. The Executive Director for First 5 Lake is Carla Ritz and current First 5 Lake Commissioners are:
- Chair: Tina Scott, Lake County District 4 Supervisor
- Vice Chair: Carly Swatosh-Sherman, Lake County Office of Education, Education Specialist
- Brock Falkenberg, Lake County Superintendent of Schools
- Crystal Markytan, Lake County Social Services Director
- Denise Pomeroy, Lake County Health Services Director
- Allison Panella, Mother of children under age five
- Fawn Rave, Education Director, Robinson Rancheria
- Tarin Benson, Coordinator of Student Services for Konocti Unified School District
- Justin Gaddy, Father of a child under age five