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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 81-100 of 232 results.

October Commission Meeting Summary and Power Point
On Thursday October, 10, Best Start staff updated the First 5 LA Commission on the status of Best Start. Click below for the extensive Summary in...

Photo Essay: Parent and Tot Chess Time in Palmdale
Over two dozen community members participated in the Parent & Tot Chess Time event at the Palmdale Learning Plaza last weekend. Twelve children...

Obama Initiative to Strengthen Children's Education in Pacoima
Best Start and the Youth Policy Institute (YPI) have joined forces to work toward improving the lives of young children in the San Fernando Valley...

Bringing Good Mojo to Metro
Deisy Guitierrez, Maria de Lourdes Gonzales and Ruth Andrade are bringing some good New Orleans mojo to their Best Start Metro LA community. The...

Families Get Up and Move!
Finding fun and inexpensive activities for entire families to participate in can sometimes be a challenge even in a large city like Los Angeles...

Open Enrollment Begins For Covered California In October
On Oct. 1, 2013, Covered California will begin enrolling eligible Californians for health insurance coverage that will begin on January 1, 2014...

Community Member Spotlight: Suzette DaSilva
For Suzette DaSilva, Best Start in Lancaster has been the opportunity she wishes she always had to learn about caring for children. “An opportunity...

September Commission Meeting Summary
The future of Best Start was discussed at the September 12 Commission meeting. The meeting included a report on the progress of the Building Stronger...

Questions and Answers About the Building Stronger Families Framework
On June 26, the First 5 LA Commission adopted a framework to help guide the Best Start effort moving forward. Several questions have arisen as to what...

Best Start at First 5 LA's Program and Planning Committee
First 5 LA Staff gave an update on Best Start at the Program and Planning Committee (PPC) of the First 5 LA Board of Commissioners, which was held...

VIDEO: Liliana's Story - Best Start Wilmington
On June 27, 2013, Best Start Wilmington hosted a “Healthy Lifestyles Event.” That is where we caught up with Liliana Tirado, a Best Start...

Free Autism Screenings by Autism Speaks
The Early Access to Care Outreach Event on September 7th will connect families who have concerns about their child’s development with onsite...

The Next Best Start Broadway-Manchester Community Partnership Meeting is Coming Up!
Join Best Start Broadway-Manchester at their next Community Partnership meeting on Wednesday, August 21 from 11am to 1:30pm. It will take place at the...

Celebrating Farmers Markets in Wilmington
Fresh organic produce is not always accessible in inner-city neighborhoods like Wilmington. But thanks to their weekly farmers market, residents like...

VIDEO: Best Start Panorama City & Neighbors Plans the Learn, Play, Grow Event
Best Start Panorama City & Neighbors plans a successful Learn, Play, Grow event that makes the San Fernando Valley proud. Watch for all the...

Report from July 11 First 5 LA Commission Meeting
The First 5 LA Board of Commissioners was not able to discuss Best Start at the recent Commission Meeting on July 11, 2013 due to time limitations...

Join Best Start Broadway-Manchester at the upcoming Community Partnership Meeting!
You’re invited to the next Best Start Broadway-Manchester Community Partnership meeting at the Mark Twain Library on July 31st, 10:30am -1pm. It...

Best Start Brings Healthy Thinking — and Drinking — to Watts
Five-year-old Taj needed a hug. He found one in an unusual location: Watts Healthy Farmer’s Market. “I feel happy because he hugged me back,”...

Practicing What They Preach
Two-year-old Eric is a very shy little boy. Sometimes, when he rides on the back of his mother’s bike, he waves to others. But most of his time...

A Breath of Fresh Air
Karina, center, with her family at Best Start Compton’s Stroll in the Park event. Ever since she was born, 5-year-old Karina has struggled...
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