Protect LA's BEST!

Protect LA's BEST

“I’m Ana. My parents work so much that every day I go to LA’s BEST after school. They help me with my homework and teach me in a fun way. We go places and they let me try out new things.”

— Ana, a fifth grade student from East LA

Ana’s parents rely on LA’s BEST every day. They, and thousands of parents like them, trust us to keep their young children engaged and learning. They trust us to keep their children safe. Day after day, the staff of LA’s BEST makes sure these children are given new things to do and experience. Ana’s parents trust that resourceful adults who care will help her with her homework and make sure she is not hungry.

For 27 years that bond of trust has never wavered. Beyond providing essential safety and support for learning, time and time again more than 25,000 children each year have been encouraged – to be bold – to be creative – to show leadership!

A Mid-City parent was recently brought to tears at the LA’s BEST Science Fair. “My son is shy,” she said. “Sebastian was afraid to enter the science fair, but his after school science coach worked with him. I couldn’t believe it – my son up there on the stage speaking so beautifully!” Dabbing her eyes, she continued, “I cannot give Sebastian confidence, but the love of the amazing LA’s BEST staff makes me very grateful for this gift.”

Your trust in LA’s BEST has made such care and understanding possible. But now the bond we have built with students and parents – sustained over so many years – is facing a serious threat and needs your protection.

What is happening?

We have new and critical challenges that must be addressed. Our main funding source – authorized by California voters thirteen years ago – is not keeping up with the cost of living. Proposition 49 was a popular and groundbreaking law that ensured funding for after school in our most economically distressed neighborhoods. Those funds helped LA’s BEST to flourish today in 194 Los Angeles public schools – at no cost to parents.

But, the entire system is now at risk. California’s after school funding has not kept pace with dramatically increasing costs. Now, a new State law requires paid sick time for our part-time staff. Coming in July, a new LAUSD mandate will require a minimum wage of $15 per hour. These mandates have increased our staff costs by over $1 million this school year; that amount will grow to more than $3 million in the next school year.

We absolutely support a living wage and fair benefits for all Angelenos – especially our well-trained 2,000-plus LA’s BEST staff members. Together they have become the area’s most reliable service delivery system at the elementary school level. All of them work hard to encourage, engage and care for the learning, safety and well being of our children. But, the trust of LA’s BEST parents and children is now threatened.

What is at risk?

Signature activities across Los Angeles are at risk! Without your help, time-tested citywide programs – including our annual Celebrate Science Fair, our exemplary ASAP arts strategy, the BEST Fit Health Festival, and beloved drill team competitions – could be cut to make ends meet. Valuable staff positions that are critical for program quality could also be cut. Please protect the shining model of high quality after school enrichment that LA’s BEST has provided our nation for 27 years.

The futures of deserving children like Ana and Sebastian are at risk.

Please make a contribution now. Help protect life-changing opportunities for these children to learn boldness, creativity and leadership. There is no question that your generosity will preserve our well-earned trust, and protect the children in LA’s BEST who need help the most. Working together we can protect LA’s BEST.

Sincerely,

Eric Gurna,
President & CEO

Chris Dusseault,
Governing Board Chair

#ProtectLAsBEST