Skip to main content

Best Start Communities

Search for your community:

Who We Are

First 5 LA is a leading early childhood advocate working collaboratively across Los Angeles County to ensure that every child enters kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life. One of the ways in which we work to meet this goal is Best Start, which focuses on building supportive communities where children and families can thrive.

First 5 LA supports Best Start in 14 communities across L.A. County. While these communities face critical issues such as poverty, high unemployment and teen birth rates, each has a strong network of local leaders and non-profit organizations dedicated to making a difference. First 5 LA works in partnership with these networks to promote a common vision and collective will throughout each community that will give kids the best start in life.

Why Invest in Communities

Because parents and caregivers are at the heart of a child’s development, they are at the center of our work. And just as children do better in strong families, families do better in strong communities. In order for young children to succeed, we need communities and neighborhoods to be safe, healthy places where families can thrive. This happens when communities are able to support and connect their residents to each other through sound policies, abundant resources and quality services. How well this system works has a long-lasting impact on the quality of life for parents and caregivers and outcomes for children.

How We Do It

Best Start brings together parents and caregivers, residents, organizations, businesses, government institutions and other stakeholders to collectively build a vision and develop strategies to create the best possible community for young children and their families. They collaborate to improve a community’s policies, resources and services to better support residents, and create that place where families can thrive. Best Start then provides the skills-building and leadership training to help them achieve their goals and ensure that children enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and in life. This is done through groups we call Community Partnerships, which meet on a regular basis.

Through the Community Partnerships, parents and caregivers enhance their leadership skills, increase their knowledge about children’s needs, and develop relationships with others so that they can be a voice for change and take action. Institutional leaders, service providers and community organizations also learn through this process to make better decisions, informed by the opinions and perspectives of the parents and caregivers. This collective process connects the Best Start effort with the broader community to create a greater social impact. Anyone who believes in our goal can join a Community Partnership, and our membership continues to grow each year.

What We Do

Best Start believes that parents and caregivers are essential to community change, and Community Partnerships serve to help these members learn to advocate for themselves and their children. One way Community Partnerships do this has been to develop projects, based on their experience and analysis on matters affecting families with young children in their communities, and then to work on solutions. These include finding ways to overcome social isolation for families, increase supportive parent and neighbor networks, and building leadership skills and peer mentoring among teen and young parents.

The most important part of these projects is that members, especially parents and caregivers, strengthen and learn valuable, new skills that they can use to tackle other issues affecting the children and families in their community in the future. This process builds a community’s capacity to continue the work once First 5 LA’s support has ended. Through Best Start, new leaders emerge, who will go on to influence decision-making in their community. It is these new voices that will help make life better for children and pave the way for their success.   

How to Get Involved

We encourage you to be a part of this dynamic movement for change. While parents and caregivers are at the center of the Best Start effort because they are key to a young child’s healthy development, everyone has a role to play in improving their community and to ensuring that our children have the best start.  You can start by attending a Best Start Community Partnership meeting in your community. 

It is a chance to meet others with similar interests, who share a deep commitment to making a difference. To learn more, please visit the community pages below or call 213.482.7800.

 

Displaying 1-20 of 233 results.

How Helping One Person Helps Us All
Amidst the sweet aroma of pan dulce, Leticia Ortiz was busily working at her job at Panaderia Celaya in central Los Angeles one day when she saw a...

“Baby Shower” Provides Moms with Networking, Resource Opportunities
A few rain clouds didn’t keep more than 100 enthusiastic young moms away from attending “A Healthy Start” baby shower on a recent...

The Healing Fields
For Sithary Ly, living in Long Beach over the last 17 years with her husband, Bovannak, life has been a constant stream of adjusting to a world much...

Keeping Her Eye on the Ball
“Know where to throw the ball before you catch it,” was an early lesson Leanne Negron – a First 5 LA Senior Program Officer in the...

Helping Families to Their Best Start
Like some other parents, Iris Galicia, a mother of two who lives in West Athens, faces some challenges related to how to best raise her young children...

VISTA Program is a Great Success in Communities it Serves
As a Best Start “Volunteer In Service To America” (VISTA) Program member, Jonathan Diaz takes pride in his work within the East Los...

Where Best Start Works
Low birth weight. Low-performing schools. Poverty.When Best Start expanded beyond Metro LA in 2009, these were among the risk factors for young...

Best Start: How We Work
From engaging in “Learning by Doing” to organizing local resource fairs, and hosting health insurance forums to improving communication of...

Best Start – Stories of What We Do
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” ― Philip PullmanPeople...

What is Best Start and Why is it Important?
In this Editorial, Best Start Communities Director Rafael González, Says The Effort Is All About Empowering People to Create Positive...

What Best Start Means to Me
When First 5 LA launched its Best Start pilot effort in 2008, the goal was to encourage parents, community-based organizations, local businesses and...

Coming “Full Circle”
Rafael González’s current role as director of First 5 LA’s Best Start Communities has brought him back full circle to the single...

Best Start Communities Learning By Doing Implementation Moves Forward
In a milestone step forward for Best Start Communities, First 5 LA's Commission recently allocated $413,033 for the City of Long Beach to work in...

Best Start Representatives Join Community Leaders at Empowerment Congress
Best Start program officers and partnership members recently joined civic leaders, educators and community members at the 23rd Annual Empowerment...

“Baby University” Provides Invaluable Tips for Best Start Northeast Valley Parents
EN ESPAÑOL »Thanks to a strong and productive partnership between First 5 LA’s Best Start Northeast Valley Community and Pacoima...

Best Start “Ready for Kinder” Workbook Transcends Borders
Sometimes a small, local project can make a big difference, even across borders.As a stay-at-home mother of two young girls and an active leader in...

A Day of Thanks in December
EN ESPAÑOl »On a sunny, bright Saturday afternoon in December, leaders from the 14 Best Start communities were honored at La Plaza de...

Mayor Opens Door for Best Start Palmdale
Best Start Palmdale had a special acknowledgement when Palmdale Mayor James C. Ledford attended its monthly partnership meeting recently and spoke...

First Public Event for Lake Los Angeles Family Group a Huge Success
Written by Shirley Harriman for the Lake Los Angeles Family Group Newsletter.Last month, the patio and gymnasium of Twin Lakes Community Church was...

Best Start Compton-East Compton - Partnership Meeting Materials
Meeting AgendasJanuary 31, 2013 Agenda September 6, 2011 AgendaAugust 4, 2011 AgendaJuly 21, 2011 AgendaJune 7, 2011 AgendaApril 19, 2011 AgendaApril...
© 2004-2015 First 5 Los Angeles

First 5 LA · 750 North Alameda Street, Suite 300 · Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: 213-482-5902 · Fax: 213-482-5903

Stay Informed · Privacy Policy and Terms of Use · FAQ · Contact Us · Site Map