Giving their best.
And never giving up.
In this month of thanksgivings, those were the themes of a special day when First 5 LA expressed its gratitude to community leaders for all of their past, current and future efforts to ensure that the young children and families in their communities get their best start.
“This is a small token of appreciation to these courageous community leaders who have never given up on their children, families and communities,” First 5 LA Communities Director Antoinette Andrews-Bush said of the Best Start Leadership Appreciation celebration held on Nov. 16 at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes in downtown Los Angeles.
Hundreds of community leaders within the 14 Best Start Community Partnerships were invited to celebrate their efforts, just a few of which Andrews-Bush lauded during her speech:
- Parents in Best Start South El Monte/El Monte advocated for a safer, functional and beautiful park in El Monte. Their efforts and partnership with the city and advocacy groups led to an award of $3.7 million for improvements to Zamora Park
- Teen parents from Best Start Compton/East Compton ventured to Sacramento to share their stories with lawmakers and advocate for AB 2289. The bill — which allows students to receive eight weeks of parental leave to care for and bond with their baby without penalty from schools — was passed by the legislature and approved by Gov. Jerry Brown
- Best Start Metro LA developed a mobile mural as part of its Culture of Respect Campaign, illustrating how the arts can send a message of hope and resiliency. The Campaign is part of an ongoing effort aimed at reducing family and community violence
In 2010, First 5 LA created and managed the Best Start Community Partnerships in 14 geographic areas throughout L.A. County, bringing together and amplifying the collective voice of parents, residents and leaders to help create lasting change in their communities that promote positive outcomes for young children and their families. Together, they work to improve systems and increase access to resources and services such as health, transportation, child care, early education, and more. Since its inception, Best Start has engaged more than 21,000 parents and residents.
One of those original Best Start community leaders is now a First 5 LA leader: Commissioner Romalis Taylor, who expressed his gratitude to the gathered Best Start leaders.
“Thank you for answering the call for building a better future,” said Taylor, who formerly served as chair of the Compton/East Compton Best Start Leadership Group. “I and my fellow commissioners know the sacrifice community members make daily in not only supporting their local network families but truly uplifting their surrounding community. We are privileged to work by your side and support your communities.”