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Best Start Communities

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Where you grow up matters. It can determine if you have access to healthy food, safe places to play, and quality medical and child care - and ultimately determine whether a young child survives or truly thrives.

Best Start is a program of First 5 LA, a child advocacy organization created by California voters to invest tobacco tax revenue in programs that improve the lives of children in Los Angeles County. Through Best Start, parents and community leaders work together to build strong foundations for life and make our community stronger.

Best Start: Thriving Together as a Community
Best Start brings out the best in our children by bringing out the best in our communities. The program brings together parents, businesses, and other community leaders to work as partners in transforming neighborhoods into places where young children can grow up safe, happy and healthy.

We focus efforts on young children between pregnancy and preschool because research shows that more than 90 percent of brain development occurs in the first few years of life. That means we're building solid foundations for our children while making our communities stronger.

What a Best Start Community Looks Like
At the heart of a Best Start community is a committed Partnership where parents, business owners, child and health care providers, community service agencies, faith-based leaders, government officials and other community leaders work together to transform their community into a place where young children can thrive. This could include working together to ensure that children have clean and safe parks to play in, that the community has markets selling healthy, affordable foods, and that families have access to quality doctors and nurses they can depend on.

These changes will do more than help young kids. Over time, the changes will transform the community in a way that makes life better for everyone.

The Community's Role in Best Start
Parents, residents, business and community leaders have invaluable insight into the challenges those families in their community face in raising and caring for their children. They know what will work to meet those challenges and what won't.

Turning Best Start's vision into reality is only possible when parents and community leaders come together to share their experiences and lend their voices to design the most effective way to achieve those goals within their community.

In Best Start communities, the goal is that children:

  • Are born healthy
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Are safe from abuse and neglect
  • Are ready for kindergarten

Take your seat at the table
You know the community where you live, and that's why your ideas and support are so important. First 5 LA will listen to you and other community members to begin this transformation. Working together, Best Start communities will develop the capacity to continue making positive changes for years - and generations - to come.

Join us in these Best Start communities:

To get involved in your Best Start community, visit the community pages above, or call 213.482.7800.

Displaying 1-20 of 230 results.

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...

Certain Parenting Skills and Breastfeeding Are Strengths in Best Start Communities
Parents and caregivers in Best Start communities are doing well in areas of parental stress, giving praise and breastfeeding, but could use help with...

Trash Shall Not Pass!
The temperature was already rising at 7:30 a.m., promising another scorching day in South Los Angeles. But the heat could not deter members of the...

CBAR Opens Doors for Two Young Participants
Seventeen-year-old Joseph Tran needed community service hours for his college application. When his mother, a registered nurse, invited him to join...
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