The holidays are here and as our thoughts turn to family, parties and presents, it also turns to giving back. We recently connected with some of our favorite Westchester/Playa area nonprofit leaders to learn more about their organizations and find out how people can get involved to support these worthwhile causes. Below are our Q&As with the executive directors or board presidents of 7 groups that are passionate about their missions and supporting the community.
This spring, Westchester will have its very own independent bookstore when The Book Jewel opens its doors on 87th Street. Having a bookstore in Westchester has long been the dream of Drollinger Properties owner, Karen Dial, who has made it her mission to help keep her hometown thriving by championing public art, supporting local causes and serving as the president of the business improvement district. This new space, that serves to connect the community and bring everyone together to appreciate literature, watch a cooking demonstration or enjoy some delicious eats is just another part of her vision for the area.
This August, Loyola Marymount University filed an application with the city to make changes to its 20-year Master Plan. The plan, which was approved in 2011, allowed for 3,411,000 square feet of total building space on campus, with a maximum total of new construction at 1,779,000 square feet. The square footage was specifically allocated to three categories: academic/administrative buildings (921,000 new square footage), residential (761,000 new square footage) and indoor athletics (97,000 new square footage).
The proposed amendment seeks to “reallocate square footage from academic, administrative and residential uses to athletic use within existing square footage caps.” The university is requesting this change to improve its athletic facilities, which are outdated and not adequate for the school’s athletes, says Mason Stockstill LMU’s Assistant Director of Communications and Media Relations. According to Stockstill, when the Master Plan was approved, the university intended to eventually tear down its sports facility, Gersten Pavilion, and build a new arena. Instead, they’d now like to renovate Gersten for use as a practice facility (with bleachers removed) for its sports teams and build a new competition venue in the Hannon Parking lot, which could seat up to 6,000 attendees. Stockstill says that while no blueprints or timelines for the venue have been made, requirements in the Master Plan say the entrance must face the campus and that amplified sound is limited to the interior of the building.
Public service is what Sylvia Wilson was born to do. She just didn’t know how or what that would mean for her personally, but she knew that was what she was aiming for since she got her first taste at age 8 as a precinct captain for her local Congressmember in her hometown of Modesto.
“Growing up, my parents were very politically active and always having events at our home to raise money for different activities within our community. Plus, my mom was an educator and a guidance counselor who spent hours outside of work helping her students, so I got to see firsthand how rewarding it is to be of service,” said Sylvia. “Dad also helped in his job as superintendent of juvenile hall for 25 years.”
These days, with the full support of husband, Allen, and their three kids, Sylvia is doing what she was meant to do: supporting moms and families in Westchester and Los Angeles County. Recently elected to the Neighborhood Council, Sylvia is thrilled to represent North Kentwood.
Welcome to our seventh annual Spotlight on Schools edition!
The HomeTown News is proud to support local education, and every year we invite our Westchester/Playa schools to share with us what’s going on at their campuses.
Check out our October edition for articles submitted by parents, teachers, principals and community members who are passionate about letting the community know what makes their schools special. Every year we learn that all our schools are full of success stories–new STEM curriculum is being added, eco-friendly initiatives are being introduced and social-emotional skills are being taught–so we hope the information provided helps give our readers a sneak peak on what’s going right on local campuses and a new prospective on local education. We often are asked, “Is that a good school?” and our answer is always, “Yes,” because every school has something magical to offer its students.
Visit our October onlineedition HERE at issuu.com.
The next time you see volunteers with fairy wings, trash grabbers, and maybe even tutus, along the streets of Playa del Rey, make sure you tell them “thank you” because you’ve just spotted a PDR Trash Fairy.
Led by Playa del Rey resident Sara Kay, the group was started earlier this summer after she became tired of seeing her neighborhood trashed. Instead of getting angry about the litter she’d encounter on walks through her beloved beachside community, she decided to come up with a positive solution.
Classic and vintage cars from the 20s to the 70s will be the main attraction at the Westchester Elks 20th Annual Car Show & Chili Cook Off this month, and while organizers hope attendees check out the craftsmanship, the fins and the paint jobs, they’re also eager for community members to learn what the Elks are all about.
“People come to the lodge and aren’t familiar with what the Elks do. We’re not just a bunch of retirees hanging out and talking about the old days,” said Lisa Levine, who is leading the Car Show for the third year in a row. “We’re doing community events, and there’s a lot of charity stuff that we do, like working with Safe Place for Youth, Veterans, making care packages and providing scholarships.”
Music, Art & Community Combine at Westchester’s All-Day Block Party
Enjoy the last
weekend of summer by heading down to Emerson Avenue for one of the community’s
most popular family-friendly events—the Westchester Arts and Music Block Party
(WAM)! Featuring more than a dozen musical acts, food trucks, kids activities,
community booths, a beer & wine garden and more, the event is a chance for
an all-day hang-out session with friends you bring with you, and people you
meet along the way.
“We’re stoked for this year’s event,”
said event producer John Sharpe. “We have some great music and entertainment
acts lined up, a bunch of great food options and the best beer & wine
garden around! Make sure you don’t miss out. You’re bound to run into your
friends and neighbors, whether you’re rocking out to a band or doing arts &
crafts with your kids. The event is all about celebrating our community and
supporting the Emerson Avenue Community Garden, and in our fourth year, we’re
thrilled that WAM is becoming a Westchester tradition.”
We love our community and enjoy celebrating its people, places and events each month in the pages of the Westchester/Playa HomeTown News.
Our Best Of Readers’ Poll is our super-sized way to highlight all the best things about living and working in Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista and Marina del Rey. With so many excellent restaurants, businesses and organizations in the area, we love giving you—our readers—an annual opportunity to vote for your favorites. You are the real experts and you’ve been helping us honor these outstanding individuals and businesses since 2012. Thank you for being a part of recognizing those who make our community a special place to live, work and visit.
Congratulations to the Westchester Del Rey Little League (WDRLL) Girls 12U team for taking home the Southern California State Championship title and making it to the Western Regionals!
The girls of the WDRLL 12U Team, many of them playing with the league since their T-ball days, made the community proud with skillful playing and teamwork this season. The coaching staff, Lucio Raygosa, Mike Grimm, and Westchester native and team Manager, Tizoc Campos, share a unique bond of all being past WDRLL parents; it’s a rarity in little league to have volunteers willing to coach a team that doesn’t include their own kids on the roster. When this team won the Southern California State Championship in mid-July, they expanded their representation to include all of SoCal, but here in Westchester, we were rooting for our home team!
On the field, the team relied on each other to get through three levels of local tournament play to make it to the Western Regional Little League Tournament in San Bernardino on July 20-26 to compete for a spot at the 12U Little League World Series. While many teams may ride the coattails of one or two superstar players, the WDRLL Southern California State team was a solid roster of 12 girls who each contributed to advancing their team to the next level of play. During the week-long tournament where the team stayed onsite in Little League barracks and ate three meals a day in the mess hall, the team was victorious over competitors from Idaho, Wyoming and Utah, but lost twice to the team from Washington. The second loss was a heartbreaker for the players and the fans who watched the team lead 2-0 until Washington’s final time at bat where they came back to win by one run.