LOS ANGELES – California’s state budget is about to be finalized.
LA’s BEST Afterschool Enrichment Program is a free program for elementary school students. The President and CEO of the program, Eric Gurna, says the governor has proposed a budget that could cause up to 9,000 students across Los Angeles to lose their space in a variety of after school programs
Camilla Cortez, eight, lost her father when she was seven. Now her mom, Wendy Ruiz, takes care of her and her sisters alone.
Ruiz was also 7 years old when she lost her mom in a car accident. She was raised by one parent and was also a foster child for a time. Back in the 1990s when she was growing up in the housing projects, Ruiz was in the same program her daughter is in now.
“LA’s BEST literally gave me every good memory I have as a child,” said Ruiz.
The program is now in 200 L.A. elementary schools. For 30 years they’ve cared for children from the final school bell until 6:00 p.m.
“I have literally depended on this program for my livelihood. This program has allowed me to work my 10-hour shift,” said Ruiz.
While lawmakers negotiate and finalize the state budget, Gurna hopes to show the value of their work.
“We can make sure to remind those legislative leaders and the governor where their hearts are and their hearts are with children just like our hearts are with children and especially the most vulnerable children,” said Gurna.
Camilla isn’t going to school nor LA’S BEST right now because of COVID-19.
“I think that if we go back to school then I’ll be happier,” said Camilla.
If you'd like to find out more about LA's BEST, visit their website.