Credit: BEST Website

BEST, which stands for “Building: Empowerment Skills Today”, is a local non profit organization located in the Oak Park Community. BEST’s initiative is to find ways to keep young teens off the street and out of violence. BEST provides activities and jobs for young teens that participate in the program.

The program provides jobs for teenagers ages 12 to 18. The jobs consist of cleaning for Oak Park residents by undertaking yard work and assisting the elderly with other tasks around their residences. BESTs conducts the program for three weeks in the summer and the teens are compensated for their time.

The youth receive a daily stipend for the services they provide to the elderly. The stipend is an incentive for the youth.

“The youth are able to augment the family income,” says Jo Watts, Program Coordinator for BEST.  While making empowering moves in the Oak Park community, BEST ensures the teens gain a vast set of life skills and respect for one another. In addition, BEST is currently looking for three more teenagers to work with the summer program.

During the month of April, BEST is hosting a pancake breakfast to raise funds to support the program. The pancake breakfast will be held April 25th at WM. Memorial Church, 4495 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. The pancake breakfast will cost $5 and it will include pancakes, sausages, eggs, a bowl of fruit and drinks. For more information call (916) 646-1763.