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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 141-160 of 232 results.

First 5 LA and Best Start Want Families to Get Out & Play This Summer
If obesity trends persist, today’s young American children will be the bulk of the projected 42 percent of American adults who will be obese in...

Chess at the Poppy Festival!
Click here to read about the activities that AV Chess House hosted at the 21st Annual California Poppy Festival. A new attraction at the 21st Annual...

AV Baby Babble Newsletter
The Antelope Valley Partners for Health and its collaborating partners have created a newsletter, the AV Baby Babble. The newsletter will be released...

Immigrants and their Americanized diets
Research shows that when people immigrate to the United States, their diet changes for the worse as they eat more junk food and fewer fruits and...

Preserving food traditions and cultural heritage
A group of Oaxacan women experienced something that many immigrants in this country face: their children were quickly adapting to an American diet...

Improving access to nutritious foods in South L.A.
For more than 20 years, Community Coalition has been working to change environments that facilitate addiction, violence and poverty in South L.A...

Homegirl's farm-to-kitchen program inspires healthy eating
As part of First 5 LA’s Eat Healthy, Grow Strong public education campaign, we’re putting the spotlight on organizations that are working...

Eat Healthy, Grow Strong: Go Shopping and Cook!
This week First 5 LA’s weekly e-newsletter, The Monday Morning Report, featured a story about the Eat Healthy, Grow Strong in store cooking...

Antelope Valley's 2nd Annual Chess Essay Contest
For more information about this announcement contact Ms. Daa at [email protected] The AV Chess House is partnering with Grace Resource Center to...

Pacoima Families Rediscover Their Local Food4Less
Grocery shopping is a regular thing for most families, but food choices can sometimes be challenging, especially when there are little ones begging...

Building Demand for Healthy Food
Getting high school youth in South Los Angeles to eat their veggies is no easy task. But thanks to the efforts of Megan Hanson and others, many of...

First Step Grants Timeline Update #2
February 14, 2012 Update: First Step Grants are meant to fund local, short-term projects that support the goals and priorities of Best Start. They are...

Best Start and First 5 LA Launch Eat Healthy, Grow Strong
While obesity rates in Los Angeles Countys children age 5 and younger are leveling off or, in some cases, declining, there remains an alarming number...

Palmdale library focuses on critical services
Public libraries play an important role in promoting literacy, especially among those in need of developing reading skills, such as preschool and...

Best Start Metro LA Accepting Proposals
Best Start Metro LA, in partnership with Para Los Niños, is currently accepting applications for new Collaborative Partner projects...

The Love of Reading
During the holiday season, share the gift of the love of reading. In this video, the Best Start staff and community members tell us about their...

Kid-friendly atmosphere, programs promote early literacy
The child-sized furniture and large, fluffy pillows in the shape of animals draw young children into the cozy, early-learning area near the picture...

Scenes of early reading abound at Panorama City Library
Moms sharing picture books with their toddlers. Families reading children’s books together afterschool. Parents enjoying story time with their...

Book Fairy Aims to Inspire Early Reading
Armed with a special book wand and “reading wings,” the Best Start Book Fairy is making its debut this month to inspire children to read...

Best Start Community Partner Benita Duran: Putting Ready to Learn! into practice
A group of South Los Angeles visionaries recently got their first taste of civic duty. Their task: To design a public park. Their tools: Crayons, yarn...
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