LA’s BEST was created in 1988 by Mayor Tom Bradley to address an alarming rise in the lack of adequate adult supervision of children during the critical hours between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. They serve 28,000 kids at 180 elementary school sites in Los Angeles in neighborhoods most vulnerable to gangs, drugs, crime and at schools with the lowest student test scores.
The mission of LA's BEST is to provide a safe and supervised after school education, enrichment and recreation program for elementary school children ages 5 to 12 in the City of Los Angeles.
All children need a safe place to be after school with caring, responsible adults and engaging activities that connect each child to his/her school, family and community.
1. Nothing we do is as important as the effect it has on a child.
2. Engaging activities develop values, skills and relationships. Activities are not seen as ends in themselves, but as vehicles for creating values, building skills and solidifying peer and adult relationships. An engaging activity is one that holds children's attention, awakens their imagination, and inspires them to want to learn more.
3. All children have equal rights to be accepted, respected and valued by others. Children are viewed as individuals to be developed, not problems to be solved.
4. Children should be involved in decision-making and program design. If children get to choose how, when, in what and with whom to be engaged, they are far more likely to enjoy themselves and behave cooperatively.
5. When we listen for understanding everyone learns—children and adults alike. We are constantly able to learn from our children as well as each other. Everyone is a learner.