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A Humble Honor

March 10, 2014
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It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

Best Start Communities Program Officer Luis Rivera was among more than a dozen distinguished individuals and organizations recently honored by People for Community Improvement, or P.C.I., for their outstanding community service.

Rivera, who works with the Best Start Community of Watts-Willowbrook, facilitated a number of community partnership meetings and helped bring valuable resources to its residents. At the Black Family Conference, he helped create a presentation on the protective factors. At the Community Walk and Resource Fair, he helped link families directly with community resources. And at the Athens Park Christmas Event, he brought resources and children's activities to the community.

Modest, easy-going and driven to help others, Rivera was honored along with dignitaries like Congresswoman Maxine Waters, yet he did not let it go to his head.

"I think it's inspiring and humbling to be recognized, knowing that people see the value in the work we are doing in the community," Rivera said. "It represents the work we are all doing at Best Start. That means a lot to me."

Luis was born in Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital in Willowbrook and has had the privilege of serving the South Los Angeles area for the past nine years, the last two of which he has worked at First 5 LA. When he is not at work, he is studying to receive his master's degree in public administration from California State University, Los Angeles. Luis is driven by his values, a strong work ethic and - most of all - compassion for others. He is inspired by the many great men and women who have dedicated their lives to improving communities.

"Luis stands out because he goes beyond the call of duty to provide the Best Start Partnership all they need to succeed," said Best Start Communities Senior Program Officer Marvin Espinosa. "For example, he attends community events, meetings and networking opportunities at all hours of the day to promote the Partnership's objectives, increase relationships and increase participation in the activities of the Partnership."

Established in 1986, P.C.I. is a Los Angeles-based, non-profit community center whose mission is to help our young people recognize their potential, while introducing positive ways of expressing their energy and giving back to the community. Their goal is to provide socioeconomic resources and solutions to improve the quality of life within disenfranchised communities.

"Luis has been instrumental in supporting and collaborating with P.C.I. programs throughout the Watts-Willowbrook communities," said Dexter McLeod, director of marketing and the Jobs and Educational Resources Center at P.C.I. "His efforts stood out by being accessible, committed, and consistent with his duties as program officer for Watts-Willowbrook. Luis has always kept us updated on available resources through First 5 LA, and has been a strong advocate for our work in the community."

"Best Start Communities believes that communities can transform themselves by developing the capacity of our families and the infrastructure to support them," said Rafael González, director of Best Start Communities at First 5 LA. "Luis exemplifies that belief and this recognition is a not only a grand honor for him and all of us at First 5 LA but also testament to the power of community partnership."


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