LA's BEST Students Celebrate Healthy Habits for Earth Day

Nearly 15,000 students kick off "Go H2O! Challenge," including poster contest to promote recycling

Apr 19, 2013, 18:30 ET from American Chemistry Council

LOS ANGELES, April 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 15,000 students enrolled in the LA's BEST After School Enrichment Program today kicked off the "Go H2O! Challenge." The Challenge was created through a partnership between the plastics industries of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and LA's BEST to educate kids about the importance of healthy habits like drinking water for healthy living and the earth-friendly benefits of recycling more plastics.

At a kick-off event at Aurora Elementary School in Los Angeles, students took part in lessons and activities that demonstrated how important it is to recycle plastics and other materials to protect the environment. They were joined by their local Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer who talked about the positive behaviors these kids are bringing to their communities.

Now in its third year, program partners announced a new element of the Go H2O! Challenge. The "Your Health, Your Planet" poster competition provides students the opportunity to show off their understanding of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," through art and messaging.  ACC is sponsoring the contest, which is open to LA's BEST program students in grades kindergarten through sixth at 90 school sites.  The winning poster will be announced in May 2013 and featured on the PLASTICS. TOO VALUABLE TO WASTE. RECYCLE. website (

"We want to teach LA's BEST students about recycling in a way that is hands-on and sparks their creativity," said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council. "The Go H2O! Challenge is a fun, integrated approach to inspiring healthy habits for life.  The poster contest gives kids a new way to share their recycling education ideas with their peers and their community."

As part of the Go H2O! Challenge, ACC provided LA's BEST participants at 90 sites in Los Angeles with reusable and recyclable water bottles. Measurement charts track progress of how students are increasing recycling in their communities on a daily basis. The bottles serve to remind students to make a habit of reusing and carrying their water bottles while choosing water instead of sugary drinks. Throughout the program, students learn about the importance of recycling plastics and drinking water while tracking progress with their classmates.

"We are thrilled to have partners like ACC helping us to encourage behaviors that lead to healthy living and contribute to sustainability," said Edith Ballesteros-Vargas, director of BEST Fit at LA's BEST. "Our kids are ready for the Go H2O! Challenge. We can't wait to see their imagination and artistic skills on the poster contest. And what better way to showcase it than in an educational program?"

Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer further acknowledged the program partners and students.  "It gives me great satisfaction to be a part of a program that educates today's youth about the importance of exercise, eating well and taking care of our environment through recycling plastics," Jones-Sawyer said.

Since 2008, the Go H2O! Challenge has helped tens of thousands of students learn about the importance of recycling and keeping plastics out of the environment. LA's BEST is a partner in the statewide recycling awareness campaign, Plastics. Too Valuable to Waste. Recycle.  The campaign launched in 2008 when representatives from the California Department of Parks and Recreation, ACC and Keep California Beautiful initiated a recycling program at State Parks sites in the Los Angeles and Central Coast areas. The program soon spread to State Parks sites in San Diego, Monterey, and Santa Cruz along with the City of Brentwood and the City of Woodland. For more information, see

LA's BEST – Better Educated Students for Tomorrow – is a nationally recognized after school education, enrichment and recreation program serving more than 28,000 children with the greatest needs and fewest resources throughout the City of Los Angeles. LA's BEST After School Enrichment Program provides a safe haven for children ages 5 to 12 at 189 elementary school sites each day during the critical hours after school — at no cost to parents. Established in 1988, LA's BEST is a partnership including the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the private sector. LA's BEST is part of Beyond the Bell, whose mission is to ensure that all children and youth in LAUSD have access to high quality, safe and supervised academic, enrichment, and recreation programs that inspire learning and achievement beyond the regular school day. For more information, please visit

About the Plastics Division
The American Chemistry Council's Plastics Division represents leading companies dedicated to providing innovative solutions to the challenges of today and tomorrow through plastics.  Ongoing innovations from America's Plastics Makers have led to medical advances and safety equipment that make our lives better, healthier and safer every day.  And, advances in plastics are helping Americans save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decrease waste.  Because plastics are such a valuable resource, the Plastics Division is leading efforts to "reduce, reuse, recycle and recover," including through outreach, education and access to advances in recycling technology.  For more information, see

SOURCE American Chemistry Council