In Memory of Claudia Harrison

Dear First 5 Friends & Family –

Founding First 5 Ventura County Executive Director and children’s advocate Claudia Harrison, 64, whose leadership and passion inspired so many, lost her battle with cancer. She died in her home in Ojai, CA on October 29, 2016 surrounded by friends and family.

The entire First 5 family is heartbroken. As we grieve, we also celebrate Claudia’s life and dedicate ourselves to carrying forward her vision of weaving the fabric of the community so tightly that no child can fall through. We will miss her so, but consider ourselves lucky to have been her extended family.

Claudia would often reference the traditional greeting passed among the Masai tribe “And How Are The Children?” The greeting shows the high priority these fierce warriors placed on the wellbeing of children, and the response “All the children are well” means life is good. It means that even poor, young, and defenseless people receive the proper care in their daily struggles of existence. Claudia embodied the meaning of the Masai greeting: she was a true champion for young children and worked tirelessly on promoting early literacy, improving dental care, and addressing the root causes of child poverty.

Claudia was a visionary extraordinaire. But much more than that, she was a dear, dear friend to so many of us in Ventura County, and she will be deeply and personally missed by her entire First 5 family. Claudia requested that we carry on her legacy by reading with children daily, and from an early age. Join us as we take 5 minutes and read to a child in her memory!

Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and close friends today and in the coming weeks and months. Claudia is survived by her loving son Connor, age 20.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her memory to support Connor and Camp Kesem, a program that supports children through and beyond their parents’ cancer.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 12:30 p.m. at Temple Beth Torah at 7620 Foothill Road, Ventura, CA.