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Best Start Communities

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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 241 results.

Personal Best: Brenda Aguilera Gives Back to Community Where She Was Raised
Return: the act of going back to an earlier state, of giving or putting something back.It is this definition that drives Brenda Aguilera, Best Start...

Rising From the Ashes
Fifty years ago this month, a 12-year-old boy looked outside his window at a night sky that was not black and filled with stars, but painted red and...

From Kickstands to Kick-starting Future Academic Achievement
On a Sunday afternoon, the sound of bicycle bells and children’s laughter cut through the sultry summer air. Parents and grandparents smiled...

Personal Best: Profiles of People Putting Their Best Foot Forward for Young Children and Families in Los Angeles County
Meet Romalis Taylor, a fitting choice for our inaugural “Personal Best” article – a series that highlights those outside of First 5...

Families Come Together for Panorama City Playground Kickoff
Summer just got a lot cooler for young children in Panorama City and surrounding communities. No, the temperature isn’t going down. Instead...

Moms Find Their Voice in a Writing Workshop in South Los Angeles
First 5 LA would like to congratulate the Best Start Metro LA writing workgroup for today's feature in Hoy Los Angeles, the LA Times' Spanish...

Building Stronger Communities: How First 5 LA’s Best Start Program Continues to Grow and Thrive
In 14 communities throughout Los Angeles County, First 5 LA’s Best Start program brings together parents and caregivers, residents...

Best Start Kicks Off Seasonal Celebration with “Summer Fest”
Summer may not have “officially” begun until June 21, but that didn’t stop the Best Start Northeast Valley Community Partnership...

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...
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