Category Archives: Community

Emerson Avenue Community Garden sets goal to raise money for capital improvements

The Emerson Avenue Community Garden (EACG) is readying to launch a capital campaign to raise money for improvements at the nearly 1-acre plot of land located at Wright STEAM Magnet. Through hard work and dedication, EACG volunteers have transformed what was once a neglected, weed-covered piece of land into a thriving green space with 38 garden/food plots that opened in 2011. The space is also home to a school garden that is used by Wright STEAM and WISH students and staff, a butterfly garden, a California native plant garden and over 50 trees. More than just a green space, the EACG hosts workshops, gardening days and the popular end-of-summer bash, the Westchester Arts & Music Block Party.

The EACG is able to use the space under a joint user agreement with LAUSD, which requires the nonprofit to make improvements to the property, including bringing the space into ADA compliance and adding new entry gates. To create a more park-like atmosphere, the group also plans to add seating areas, create better walking paths, install additional lighting and increase storage.

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Mamai works to bring wellness to Westchester

Sandra Kawahito is on a journey to help the women (and men) of Westchester heal, strengthen and restore themselves through Pilates, physical therapy, acupuncture and yoga at her boutique wellness center, Mamai.

Kawahito found her calling after suffering an injury that caused horrible pain during her third pregnancy. Passionate about sports and fitness, especially soccer, she was given the ok by her doctor to continue her exercise regime, which ended up causing an injury that could have been prevented.

Pregnant with her fourth child, she was determined to not suffer the same types of problems and with the recommendation of a friend, she sought out a physical therapist that specialized in women’s health issues and pre- and post-natal care. With the help of the physical therapist and the studio’s wellness team, Kawahito was able to heal from her injuries and felt better than she had before, something she didn’t think was possible after having four pregnancies so close together. Inspired by what she had learned during physical therapy and determined to help others, she became certified in Pilates and began the search for a place to start her own studio where she could share what she had learned with other women. Continue reading

Get ready to Rock Roll & Run!

Local elementary school students get ready to run in the 1K at the 2018 Rock Roll & Run for Education at LMU. This year’s race will take place on Saturday, March 9th.

Sign-ups are now open for the Second Annual Rock Roll & Run for Education presented by the LAX Coastal Education Foundation in partnership with Loyola Marymount University. The event will take place on Saturday, March 9 starting at 8 a.m. on the campus of LMU.

This timed fun run (with a music theme) brings together 18 local schools for a festive day of friendly-competition with the proceeds benefiting education. Last year, $60,000 was raised and organizers are hoping to surpass this number in 2019. More than just a race, the community event also features a race expo with community booths, free food,  giveaways, live music, a costume contest and more. Organizers also say there are a few new additions and surprises for the 2019 race. Continue reading

Rotary Club readies for February makeover of the Westchester Townhouse

After more than 70 years of serving the youth of the community, the Westchester Townhouse will finally get the makeover it deserves courtesy of the Rotary Club of Westchester.

Since opening in 1945, the Townhouse, located on Emerson Ave. next to Kentwood Elementary School, has been a hub for youth-focused nonprofit groups, including the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, schools and theater group, Music West, who are able to use the space free of charge. Without the budget for upkeep, the Townhouse has had maintenance deferred, leaving the charming space in bad need of upgrades. Looking for the support of the community and to bring awareness to their situation, Townhouse board member and Girl Scout troop leader, Anne-Marie Ross, suggested the group hold its first fundraiser in recent memory last April. The open house style event brought out hundreds to support the Townhouse and as luck would have it, Westchester Rotarians also stopped by. After viewing the space, their wheels starting spinning– the Townhouse would make an excellent location for the club’s next Makeover Project. Continue reading

Tompkins says goodbye to Westchester

The last beer was poured and the final burger was served at Tompkins Square Bar & Grill on Saturday, November 17 when the bar closed after 14 years of being a popular Westchester hangout.

“I have to say there has been a river of love from this community the last few weeks that I’ll take to my grave. It’s surreal,” said Billy Tompkins who owned the bar along with his brother Jeffrey. “You don’t know until you know. It just lets me know that we did it right, and we’re leaving Westchester better than how we found it. We’re so proud of what we’ve done here.”

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Westchester’s SOFESA works to help homeless families and children in need

Jess Echeverry is no stranger to a life of transience. Now a mother of five, living with her family in Westchester, she spent much of her youth on the streets in and out of motels and homeless shelters in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She endured her parents’ divorces at a young age, sexual abuse as a child, and at 16, she was pregnant and homeless, and eventually forced to give up her baby.

But by 25, her life had changed dramatically for the better: She was married and ready for a new adventure in California. In her new city, Echeverry and her husband began taking notice of the large homeless population in West Los Angeles, particularly on the streets of Santa Monica. The hardships and tribulations Echeverry had endured growing up made her very empathetic towards the homeless she witnessed there, so she began volunteering her time to give back to a community she felt a connection with. Continue reading

Looking to give back this season? Check out these local groups

Interested in donating to a collection drive or giving back this holiday season? Consider checking out these local groups that are working to make a positive impact in the lives of others:

St. Margaret’s Center

Just a stone’s throw away from Westchester, St. Margaret’s Center is collecting toys for its annual Christmas program. Every year, the center distributes thousands of toys to children in need. Locally, there are two drop-off locations. Head to Toe Salon, located at 6310 W. 89th St. in Westchester, is collecting toys through December 10 during regular business hours. Miss Haircut Salon, located at 8733 La Tijera Blvd. in Westchester, is collecting toys through noon on Friday, December 14. Toys can be dropped off Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Interested in donating online? Visit amazon.com, choose “Find a List or Registry,” type in St. Margaret’s Center and browse their wish list. Purchased items will be sent directly to the center. St. Margaret’s Christmas Program will take place on Saturday, December 15 at Lennox Middle School. Continue reading

Our picks for the best local holiday events

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and we can all be thankful that there are tons of events and activities this month to help celebrate!

Santa will be making special appearances all over town, so we’re confident that this year, Westchester/Playa is on the good list! And the Marina will once again be hosting some of the area’s most festive events full of lights, music, wonder and even (literal) tons of snow!

Whether you get your photo taken with jolly old St. Nick, enjoy carolers, make holiday crafts or take in a holiday movie, this month you’ll have plenty of chances to enjoy the magic of the season!

Mark your calendars for this month’s best holiday happenings: Continue reading

Applications sought for school arts & beautification grants

The LAX Coastal Education Foundation is offering its first round of grants to help support arts and beautification efforts at local schools!  The grants are intended to help enhance all forms of arts education and/or the beautification of campuses, classrooms, etc. Grants are in support of specific activities, projects and programs for the school year, including but not limited to: materials, new or ongoing curriculum, supplies and instruction.

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Help choose the Fourth of July Parade theme!

Every year, thousands of community members gather for Westchester’s largest patriotic celebration in honor of America’s birthday and to show a little hometown pride at the Westchester Fourth of July Parade. Next year, when America celebrates its 243rd birthday, the parade will also be celebrating a momentous occasion–its 20th anniversary!

Organizers have already started meeting to create a wish list of entries, floats and entertainment, but first they need the community’s help in selecting a parade theme. The parade committee is asking anyone with an idea for a fun, engaging theme for the event to email laxcoastalonparade@gmail.com by Friday, November 23rd. Every person who submits an original idea will be entered into a $25 gift card raffle to a local restaurant. If a submitted theme is selected for the 20th anniversary event, the winner will be invited to ride in the parade with their family and will also receive a parade swag bag.
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