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LAUPlifting, June 2017 – CEO Message

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The heat of summer brings our senses to life. The cool grass serves as a surprising oasis on a sun-torched day; the brush of the trees whisper gently, dancing in a longed-for breeze; and the laughter of a child permeates the world, seemingly ignited from the wake of the sun.

Taking cue from our senses, I’d like to share with you a visual journey of our month:

10th Annual Early Educator of the Year Awards

On June 6, we hosted our 10th Annual Early Educator of the Year awards, where we honored five exceptional teachers from all across the county. It was a great day, and I’m delighted to share their stories with you:

Diana Juarez – PUENTE Learning Center:

Born and raised in Boyle Heights, walking distance from PUENTE Learning Center, Juarez has committed her life to improving outcomes for children through quality early education programs. Following in the footsteps of her mother who began as an educator in PUENTE’s Preschool Program, Juarez started serving as a Teacher’s Assistant in high school and continued to teach throughout her higher education, eventually joining PUENTE’s teaching staff full-time. She has been with the program 29 years.

Lucy Knight – Kentwood School:

Giving a young child a head start in their education is Knight’s passion. She loves working with young children at the start of their educational journey—helping them understand and attain some of the most basic and fundamental academic, social, cognitive and emotional concepts. She connects her lessons to students’ real-life experiences—using their interests and fascinations as natural motivators to increase engagement.

Bri Naiman – Temple Isaiah Preschool:

As an educator, Naiman is intentional, passionate, and dedicated to her practice. From the moment one walks into her classroom, it’s evident she is a teacher who values children’s ideas and perspectives. As a child, Naiman struggled in school due to learning disabilities. Naiman values the unique qualities each child brings to the table and develops curriculum that supports their growth and highlights their strengths in order to promote competency and community.

Angelica Hernandez- Long Beach City College Child Development Center and Learning Lab – Pacific Coast Campus:

In Hernandez’ classroom, she believes every child is an individual and it is her role as an educator to get to know each child and adapt curriculum to meet their needs. She uses different methods for teaching children, and almost all of them come from direct observation, interactions, and relationship building.

Fiona Tse – Field Dual Language Mandarin Preschool / ECE / Pasadena USD:

Tse is described as one of the most professional and personable individuals with whom her colleagues have had the pleasure of working with. She is warm, considerate, sensitive, and caring. Tse teaches in the Mandarin Dual Language Immersion Preschool Program, a program she piloted four years ago.

Summerfest 2017 at El Cariso Park

On Saturday June 3, Best Start Northeast Valley hosted its annual Summerfest at El Cariso State Park. There were over 1,000 attendees of children, adults, volunteers and organization representatives, with special appearances made by made by Assemblyman Raul Bocenegra and Senator Robert Hertzberg. We connected families to local resources, and facilitated activities for the whole family! The event housed radio stations, free food and transportation, a petting zoo and more!

LAUP Dodger Day

LAUP once again partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers for a special fundraising event. For this day only, when folks purchased Dodger tickets through LAUP, proceeds supported LAUP’s mission to elevate the quality and care for early learners across the county. The Los Angeles Dodgers went head-to-head with the Cincinnati Reds, for a nail-biter walk-off, clinched by our very own Boys in Blue. Thank you to everyone who attended, and for your ongoing support behind LAUP’s mission.

Here are a few of our favorite moments:


Scott L. Hippert, CEO

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