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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 261 results.

Free Burn Prevention Program
The Children’s Burn Foundation/Grossman Burn Center offers free programs on burn prevention for small children and on burn awareness for teens...

Parents as Change Agents in Metro LA
Days before they were supposed to volunteer at a workshop on healthy eating, a group of Metro Los Angeles mothers discovered that the main speaker in...

Best Start Question and Answer Sheet from Kim Belshé
First 5 LA’s new Executive Director, Kim Belshé, recently wrote a letter to all Best Start Communities introducing herself and explaining her...

Getting Up and Moving to Better Health
Keeping children healthy and active in a world full of television and video games is a tall order. But parents in Panorama City faced this challenge...

Letter from New Executive Director to Best Start Communities
In early November, First 5 LA welcomed new Executive Director Kim Belshé to lead the organization and our many programs and projects. She is a...
Advertising Workshop
Advertising and its Effects on Young Children
Advertising is everywhere – on television, on the radio, and in our neighborhoods. And it plays a big role in influencing children’s young minds...
Marlom and Community Health Leaders 2012
Best Start Metro LA leader receives national award
The 2012 Community Health Leaders Award recipients are providing vital health services to residents in their own communities: refugees grappling with...
Pacoima Christmas Parade 001
Best Start and the 45th Annual Pacoima Christmas Parade
On December 1, 2012 close to 30 parents and children from the Pacoima and Panorama City Best Start Community Partnerships joined together to represent...

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...

Parent & Tot Chess Time for 3 to 5 year olds and their adults
Grace Resource Center has partnered with the AV Chess House to provide free Chess Workshops for tots by appointment at the AV Chess House, 37th &...

Long Beach Summer FREE Food Service Program to begin
Long Beach Building Healthy Communities Summer Night Lights Collaborative Violence Prevention Youth Development Initiative, A diverse group of non...

Parents tell their own stories through the digital realm
As part of a larger effort to support parents’ participation in Best Start Metro LA through skills building and technical assistance, a group of...

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...

Community Coalition: Improving Access to Nutritious Foods in South L.A.
For more than 20 years, Community Coalition has worked to change environments that facilitate addiction, violence and poverty in South Los Angeles and...

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...
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