copy-of-img_0670-welcome-messageThe 2015-16 program year was full of adventure! Thanks to our family of supporters, boards and dedicated staff led by our Chief Operating Officer Debe Loxton, we were able to invest new energies into programs that included teaching skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), financial literacy, and social-emotional learning. I invite you to learn more about our impact as you peruse our 2015-16 annual report (be sure to click on the plus to read more).  

I’m also eager to tell you about our renewed focus on one of LA’s BEST core principles, Kids’ Voice & Choice, which involves listening to students and helping them to discover new interests, while nurturing their confidence and growth. Last year, our staff trainings emphasized how to ask students “What are your interests?” and how to create activities that respond to students’ interests and needs. We can see the impact! Our kids are more engaged and well positioned to thrive because they feel more included in directing their own learning. Through this process I was inspired…

What We Do

LA’s BEST is a partnership of the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the private sector that provides a safe and supervised after school education, enrichment and recreation program for children ages 5 to 12 living in economically-distressed neighborhoods throughout the City of Los Angeles.

School Sites in LA

Children Served Daily

Program Staff

Supports One Child for a Year

2015-16 Accomplishments

Thanks to our family of supporters, LA’s BEST was busy making strides in all our core areas of support.

Nutritious Supper

2015-16 25,000 kids received a nutritious supper for every 180 days of school and 5,873 students received supper for 30 days during the Summer Program.

“If it wasn’t for our supper program, some of our kids simply wouldn’t get three proper meals every day.”
-Monica De La Cruz, Site Coordinator at Westminster, 22 years with LA’s BEST

Academic Support

2015-16 72.8% of LA’s BEST students agree that they do better in school when they get help with their homework.

“I don’t have time to help my son do homework, so if he didn’t do it at LA’s BEST, it would not get done and the extra attention is really wonderful.” -Lydia, Jordan’s mother

Sports & Recreation

2015-16 750 basketball, 700 soccer, 625 flag football and 700 softball games played (a total of 2,775 games!).

“LA’s BEST made it possible for me to compete in numerous sports, including my very first track meet. I’m so grateful for the program that sparked my love for competition and started me off on a very rewarding journey…” -Barbara Nwaba, 2015 USA Heptathlon Champion, Olympian, Track & Field, Rio 2016


“After school programs play a key role in closing the opportunity gap for underserved youth. Providing after school programs sends the message to these students that we believe in them enough to invest in their future.”
-Chris Paul, Clippers Basketball Player and Renata Simril, President & CEO of the LA84 Foundation (Los Angeles Daily News, May 24, 2016)

LA’s BEST programming reflects the interests and needs of the children we serve. Activities and clubs fuel curiosity, teach skills, enrich students’ lives and expand horizons. Program Areas include:

  • Health & Nutrition Helps kids understand the impact of healthy choices for themselves and their environment, the value of physical fitness, and the importance of wellness to individuals and community
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Promotes inquiry, problem solving and discovery through fun and interactive experiences
  • Social-Emotional Learning Nurtures students’ ability to connect with others, understand their feelings and navigate diverse relationships and situations
  • Arts Activates young people’s creative power, self expression and cultural vitality
  • Literacy Cultivates students’ love of reading, writing and critical thinking

2015-16 Successfully piloted the LEGO Robotics program at 4 school sites and laid the foundation to expand the program in Boyle Heights – with support from LEGO Education and the i.am.angel Foundation. Thanks to Sanford Harmony at National University, all 193 sites received the Sanford Harmony social-emotional learning curriculum and staff received professional development training and ongoing support.

Citywide Events

2015-16 Over 6,000 students participated in Citywide Community Events

“The Celebrate Science Fair was another great example of both the impression that LA’s BEST leaves on students and the impression that the students leave on us… It epitomized the learning that occurs from the top down and from the bottom up” -Justin Fredericks, BEST Friends Board Vice Chair

Field Trips

2015-16 LA’s BEST students went on field trips to more than 50 unique locations throughout LA.

“My favorite field trip was going to the Skirball. I had never been to a museum and it was so much fun! I want to learn how to make a sculpture.” -Michelle, 2nd Grade

Summer Program

2015-16 5,873 students at 69 sites participated in LA’s BEST summer programming

“If I wasn’t at LA’s BEST, I’d be bored over the summer. I’d probably just stay home watching TV, but at LA’s BEST, I get to see my friends and do fun things.” -Jeremiah, 3rd grade

2015-2016 Impact

2015-16 was non-stop! We provided 25,000 students with enriching opportunities every school day and successfully piloted new programs which we hope to scale.


LA’s BEST provides an after school enrichment program to 25,000 students at 193 school sites. Each student receives a nutritious supper, help with homework and the opportunity to choose from an array of activities that expand their minds.


Visual arts, theater, music and dance inspired 7,144 students to discover their artistic passion and express themselves.


Through hands-on lessons, 2,420 students were taught healthy eating habits and the importance of physical activity.


Every step of the way, 12,500 students played basketball, softball, soccer and/or flag football and practiced sportsmanship with an emphasis on gender equality.

4 Schools

Edible gardens were installed at 4 schools, where students learned about native ecosystems and used math and science to cook nutritious snacks with the produce grown in their garden.


180 students learned critical thinking, communication and technology skills while creating broadcast news pieces using video editing software.


480 students developed technology-based skills and learned how to type, which will help them excel in middle school and in life.


A curriculum developed in partnership with NASA JPL guided 3,860 students to create their own experiments and compete for a spot at the Citywide Celebrate Science Fair.


1,200 students learned about math through fun and interactive games that also encourage cooperative work and social development.


560 students developed their writing skills and explored the power of words as a way to share insights, feelings and emotions.


Through a new pilot program, 600 staff received training on how to engage students in what and how they want to learn, making programs more relevant and fun.


At the annual Health Festival, 2,000 students and their families learned about healthy habits through hands-on activities and received wellness resources from our partners.

How We Did It

Our success in 2015-16 was possible thanks to collaboration with our partners, valuable resources from generous donors and dedicated staff and government officials.

Kids' Voice & Choice

2015-16 Staff reported that students expressed strongest interest in soccer, dance and computers.

“I feel like my Coach cares about me when he asks me about my interests. I think it’s cool to learn new things at LA’s BEST!” -Jessika, 4th grade

Workforce Development

2015-16 Over 2000 staff employed. 57% of LA’s BEST staff plan to continue working in education or human services.

“LA’s BEST teaches me skills like time management, how to engage troubled kids and the importance of listening to parents’ needs. I love helping our students’ minds grow. Seeing them give back to our community as volunteers is something I know they learned while at LA’s BEST.” -Irene Maldonado, South LA Traveling Program Supervisor, 11 years with LA’s BEST

City of LA & LAUSD

2015-16 Eric Gurna connected with all 15 Los Angeles City Council Members and met regularly with LAUSD leadership.

LA’s BEST is a nationally recognized, community-based organization that works with the LAUSD and the city of Los Angeles to ensure our most under-served students have equal opportunities to achieve their full potential.-Steve Zimmer, LAUSD Board President, (Los Angeles Daily News, March 11, 2016)

After School Advocacy

2015-16 Eric Gurna met with state legislative leadership regularly. LA’s BEST helped to lead the statewide after school advocacy coalition and was mentioned in 10 articles in seven publications – and on TV!

“I see LA’s BEST making a real difference in our neighborhoods, helping kids reach their potential and providing safety and security for working parents. I advocate for high quality after school programs like LA’s BEST because they improve our communities now and for the future of Los Angeles.” -David Ryu, Los Angeles City Council

Supporters & Events

2015-16 New corporate supporters include La Opinión, AECOM and LEGO Education. We welcomed seven new members to our Board of Directors and seven new BEST Friends Board Members and had over 10,000 followers active on social media.

“The Albertsons Companies Foundation and The Vons Foundation are proud to support LA’s BEST programming. We have seen firsthand the impact LA’s BEST makes in the life of a child and the community. By combining employee engagement with improving the lives of our youth, together, we are able to empower our communities toward a better tomorrow.” -Jenna Watkinson, spokesperson, The Albertsons Companies Foundation and The Vons Foundation


2015-16 35 companies and organizations and 742 individuals volunteered with LA’s BEST.

“Once a week, we sent 2 people from our team to volunteer with the students. It was a great opportunity to connect with the community. We loved helping the kids and could tell we brightened their days — as they did ours!” -Angelic Mercer, Casting Manager, Critical Content

LA's BEST Financials FY 2015-16

A summary of LA’s BEST revenue, support and expenses for 2015-16.




© 2016 LA’s BEST After School Enrichment Program  |  Credits

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