Educational Resources for Santa Clara County’s Kids

Pre-school programs, after-school activities, summer camps, recreational training and more can be found around the valley.

PUBLISHED OCT 18, 2022 8:49 P.M.
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These groups can help kids who are in need of a boost.

These groups can help kids who are in need of a boost.   Tomertu   Shutterstock


The first five years of a child’s life are vital to physical, emotional and mental development. But in tech-hub Santa Clara County, socioeconomic disparities run deep, and some parents and guardians struggle to provide the best education and enrichment for their children. These free and low-cost programs and services offered to families and children in the South Bay help ensure that all children have the opportunity to live their best lives.

1. Early Child Development Programs and Services

FIRST5 Santa Clara County Family Resource Centers—Family Resource Centers are available throughout Santa Clara County to increase access to resources and activities that help parents/caregivers oversee their child’s development and prepare them for school. Children under 6 are also eligible for preventative vision, dental and hearing screenings through the Healthier Kids Foundation.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and ChildrenThe WIC program serves low-income pregnant and breastfeeding women and parents who have children under the age of 5. Foster parents, legal guardians and fathers with custody of their children also qualify for the program.

Santa Clara County Black Infant Health—BIH is a statewide program that aims to improve birth outcomes and maternal and infant health disparities in Black communities. Services include programs that help reduce stress and increase social support, access to a dedicated BIH public health nurse and prenatal and postpartum education.

CDC’s Milestone Tracker App—The app, available on iOS and Android, helps track a child’s development from 2 months to 5 years using resources and information directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Easy-to-use illustrated checklists help parents record milestones, such as how their child plays, learns, speaks and moves.

2. Educational Programs and Services

First5 Santa Clara County Bridge Library Program—First5 Santa Clara County and San Jose public libraries have partnered to provide families and children access to hundreds of books without a library card. Located at FIRST 5 Family Resource Centers throughout San Jose, families can find books in multiple languages and borrow them for as long as they want with no late fees.

Early Education Programs at San Jose Public Libraries—San Jose Public Library offers a variety of early education and enrichment services, including in-person and virtual storytimes and kindergarten readiness programs.

Silicon Valley Education Foundation—This nonprofit organization advocates for and bolsters STEM education offerings for underserved children in Silicon Valley. One of its programs, the East Side Alliance, focuses on providing disadvantaged students in East San Jose with academic support and college financial help.

Third Street Community Center—The organization provides educational programs and community enrichment for children in San Jose. Programs include its After School Academics Program and the Summer of Learning Program, plus other services that engage youth in STEM and provide mentorship opportunities for students.

Breakthrough Silicon Valley—BSV provides low-income and disadvantaged students with opportunities to advance in high school and college. The program works by introducing students to professional role models and educates parents on what they can do to support their children’s academic and professional development.

City Year San Jose—City Year San José/Silicon Valley works alongside teachers and community partners to support young aspiring entrepreneurs in the area. Students engage in leadership and problem-solving situations that make them stronger individuals and citizens.

Olimpico Learning—This organization helps elementary school students prepare for higher education by inspiring and educating them on topics like science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

Sacred Heart Community Services—The nonprofit offers a variety of community programs for low-income children, including Parents of Preschoolers and Early Childhood Education, which assist Latinx families with young children in San Jose. The groups offer language education that prepares children for kindergarten, as well as summer day camps and homework clubs for elementary school children.

3. Recreational Programs and Services

Boys & Girls Club of Silicon Valley—The BGCSV is a nonprofit organization that provides low-income and at-risk children ages 6-18 in Silicon Valley with enrichment opportunities through after-school and summer programs.

Santa Clara County Activity Guide—This county-sponsored guide provides year-round listings of free and low-cost after-school and summer programs in the area. Programs for children with special needs and non-native English speakers are also offered.

Bay Area Wilderness Training—This program provides students with outdoor experiences to foster the development of environmental leaders who reflect diverse communities. Services include wilderness training, hiking, snowshoeing, camping, and other educational activities.

Lauren’s Home—This nonprofit charity based in East Palo Alto and Menlo Park helps disadvantaged families by providing services that include summer programs with outdoor learning activities, tutoring and mentoring children, and enrichment activities that expose students to local colleges and universities.

PARTI Program—The organization’s initials stand for Positive Alternative Recreation Teambuilding Impact, and its focus is on promoting healthy lifestyles and good decision-making among young people who are dealing with issues of violence, bullying, and poor school morale.

Youth Science Institute—The program inspires enthusiasm for science and technology learning by offering summer camps, school programs, and science safaris to children and families.

Upcoming Events by First5 Santa Clara County—Bookmark this link to keep up with education and community events sponsored by First5 Santa Clara. Activities include storytimes and diaper drives.

4. Family Programs and Resources

FIRST5 Incarcerated Services—The program offers programs and services for incarcerated or recently released parents to maintain an active and healthy role in their children’s lives.

Parents Helping Parents—PHP is an organization that offers support, services, and resources for parents who have children with special needs. 

Ujima Adult & Family Services, Inc.—The organization provides community support and behavioral health services to African-American families in the San Jose area. Programs include life skills courses, workshops, field trips and youth programs that reinforce African culture and values.

5. Community Programs and Resources

Silicon Valley LGBTQ Youth Space Program—Family and Children Services of Silicon Valley provides a safe space for LGBTQ youth from ages 13 to 25 through the Youth Space program. Free counseling services, psychiatric care, and youth leadership teams are available.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area—This nonprofit program helps at-risk and disadvantaged children in nine Bay Area counties form impactful mentoring relationships.

4-H Santa Clara County—This youth development program provides hands-on opportunities for young people ages 5-19 in areas like health, science, agriculture, and civic engagement. The programs are offered through in-school activities, after-school programs, community clubs, and camps.

International Children Assistance Network, San Jose—ICAN helps Vietnamese families and children develop skills, engage with the community, and stay informed about events and resources.

Sunday Friends—This San Jose-based nonprofit provides programs to aid low-income families with financial literacy, writing, computer education, and other activities.


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