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LA's BEST Students Kick off Healthy Habits Challenge for Earth Week

Students kick off Go H2O! Challenge with poster contest to promote recycling

LOS ANGELES, April 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- This week nearly 15,000 students from the LA's BEST After School Enrichment Program began the 2014 Go H2O! Challenge. Created through a partnership between the plastics industries of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and LA's BEST, the program will educate students about the importance of drinking water for healthy living and the earth-friendly benefits of recycling plastics.

At an event at Birdielee V. Bright 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 local Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, who spoke about the positive behaviors these kids are bringing to their communities.

"It is increasingly important for programs like the Go H2O! Challenge to educate our youth about the importance of exercise, eating well and taking care of our environment through recycling," said Assemblymember Ridley-Thomas. "If we are able to teach these students these habits at an early age, they will continue to repeat them for the rest of their lives."

As part of the Go H2O! Challenge, students are invited to take part in the "Your Health, Your Planet" poster competition to showcase their understanding of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," through their artwork. Winners and finalists from last year's contest were featured in a colorful 2014-2015 calendar. This year's winning poster will be announced in May and featured on an upcoming calendar and the Plastics. Too Valuable to Waste. Recycle.SM website (http://2valuable2waste.com/).

"ACC is proud to support programs that educate kids about their role in protecting our environment. When students learn about recycling through hands on activities, we know the message reaches them," said Sherri McCarthy, manager of state affairs, American Chemistry Council. "We want to provide them with easy-to-use recycling tips that they can share with their families, friends and peers."

ACC provided LA's BEST participants at 95 sites with reusable and recyclable water bottles. The bottles remind students to make a habit of reusing 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.

"Our partnership with ACC helps us to instill behaviors that lead to healthy lifestyles and sustainable living," said Edith Ballesteros-Vargas, director of BEST Fit at LA's BEST. "We can't wait to see the students' imagination and artistic skills through the poster contest. We are very lucky to have programs like the Go H2O! Challenge."

Since 2009, 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.SM  The campaign launched in 2009 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 Woodland. For more information, see www.2valuable2waste.com.

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 194 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 www.lasbest.org.

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 MakersTM 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 www.americanchemistry.com/plastics.

SOURCE American Chemistry Council

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