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By Varshini Satish
On Friday June 21st, LA’s BEST after school learning program for underprivileged children hosted a field trip to the El Capitan Theater to take part in a special screening of the Pixar movie “Monster’s University.”
This event marked “Summer Learning Day,” a day reserved to bring awareness to the fact that over summer vacation, children typically “lose” knowledge since they are not keeping their minds active.
Los Cerritos Community Newspaper was invited to participate in the media from Pixar movie executives.
To combat the issue of “summer learning loss,” David Niven Jr., son of the award winning actor David Niven, has donated a board game that he came up with called “Souvenirs.” The game contains 3,000 of the world’s most recognized land marks. He has donated his board game to all of the schools that are a part of the LA’s BEST program to foster learning in a creative and fun way and to prevent summer learning loss.
Niven Jr. stated that his main drive for getting involved with LA’s BEST and donating his board game to its network of schools is his primary belief that it is always important to give back to the community as a whole in any capacity. His board game has allowed the children of the program to create their very own board games with kids like Linda, a fourth grader, creating a game based on the “Monster’s University” movie involving math and reasoning.
Niven Jr. was joined at the event by Clipper’s player Chris Paul and his son. Paul and Niven handed out certificates to the many fourth and fifth graders present from various schools in the LA’s BEST program to celebrate their learning experience and the creation of their very own board games.
Carla Sanger, the president and CEO of LA’s BEST was also present at the event to answer questions and explain the program. The program began in 1988 and Sanger was chosen to spearhead it by former mayor Tom Bradley.
She said ,”I was asked if I would lead LA’s BEST and I said I would do it for one year, and that was 25 years ago, and I’m still doing it. Once a teacher, you’re always a teacher. I love what I do and I work with the most extraordinary staff and we have fewer turnovers than any staff in any program of its kind in the country and I love these kids.”
Sanger said that the network of schools in 1988 contained only ten schools, but has now expanded to encompass 189 schools with “28,000 children in our program every day,” and keeps the underprivileged children of these areas out of violence and in a creative and educational environment, engaging their minds.
“While we are such an enormous program, it is my job to keep it small and keep our core principles intact and we have never lost sight of our values,” Sanger told Los Cerritos Community Newspaper.
She also emphasized that “nothing we do is as important as the effect it has on the child and we have never ever let that go and we never will.”
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