Category Archives: Education

Community Spotlight: Westchester/Playa Historical Society plans spring walk through neighborhood

The Westchester/Playa Historical Society is working on creating a new community event this spring featuring a historical walk through the communities of Westchester, Playa del Rey and Playa Vista. The event will most likely take place over a weekend in May between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day.

Strategic historical sites will be mapped out, with a specific timeline to visit them, and the tour will focus on locations that have been acknowledged and recognized in the SurveyLA, Los Angeles Historic Resources Survey. The report was prepared by the city’s Office of Historic Resources in 2013 and is specifically related to our local community. The Historical Society Committee will also consider other research and investigative information supplementing the report as the final walking path for the event is created.

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Season of Giving: Local nonprofits share how you can get involved

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.


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The Book Jewel gets ready to shine in Westchester Triangle

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.

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Spotlight on Schools!

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 online edition HERE at issuu.com.

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Our 2019 Best Of results revealed!

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.

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Community Spotlight: Ballet Beyond Borders debuts in Westchester for the first time with dance, special events

The community is invited to attend Ballet Beyond Borders special events happening at LMU this month, including dance performances and “Cultural Crossroads–Cultural Diplomacy in a Changing World.” Photo courtesy BBB.

By Sarah Ahern

Nearly 1,200 miles northeast of Westchester lies Missoula, Montana, a river valley town burrowed deep in the Northern Rockies. While it’s often recognized for its lush forests and thriving parks and recreation, Missoula also boasts an impressive cultural hub, housing a vital literary and art scene. Arising from this landscape comes Ballet Beyond Borders (BBB), a global festival that fuses education, diplomacy and creativity amongst artists across cultural and geographic lines through diverse genres of dance. Originally launched at the Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre headquartered there, Ballet Beyond Borders aims to help youth not only sharpen their artistic craft, but also foster a better understanding of social justice issues faced by groups of people worldwide.

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8th Annual Best Of Voting Now Open!

Vote for your favorite local businesses!

The HomeTown News is proud to present its 8th Annual Best Of Readers’ Poll! Our Readers’ Poll is all about celebrating local small businesses and recognizing some of the best Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Del Rey, Marina del Rey and the surrounding areas have to offer! 

This survey contains more than 90 categories and should take about ten minutes to complete. While you don’t have to vote for everything on this list, you must vote in at least 10 categories for your vote to count.

Feel free to encourage your fans, friends and family to vote, but you may only vote once.

The top three vote-getters in each category–The “Best Of” and two runner-up “Favorites”– will be revealed in the Thursday, August 1 Best Of edition of the HomeTown News. 
Thank you for voting!

Vote by clicking HERE and you will be taken to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/htnbestof19.

Community Spotlight: Westchester kid proves that it only takes one small change to make a difference

Justin Sather and Westside Neighborhood School Principal, Brad Zacuto, celebrate the installation of a Buddy Bench on the campus. Justin collected more than 200 pounds of plastic caps, which would have otherwise been headed to a landfill, to have the bench made.

Westchester resident, Justin Sather, is proving that no matter what your age, you can give back to your community and make a positive impact on the planet. What started off as a love of frogs and helping raise money to save amphibians has led 8-year-old Justin on his next environmental quest. He is turning plastic trash into treasure, while encouraging others to cut down on their waste consumption. Over the last few years, Justin has been able to raise more than $20,000 by selling toy frogs and through GoFundMe.com to enable him to work on eco-friendly projects like purchasing reusable snack bags and pencils made of recycled newspaper for his school. 

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Ballona in Bloom!

It might not be a super bloom, but if you love flowers, make sure to check out Playa Vista’s Ballona Discovery Park this month! The two-acre habitat is home to a plethora of native plants and wild flowers now in bloom, creating a colorful display that is uniquely Southern California. Follow the park’s walking trail to view the pollinator, native and medicinal plant gardens, while you learn about the Ballona Wetlands ecosystem and the history of the area in this “outdoor museum.”

California Poppy.

As you admire the colorful flowers, smell the different varieties of sage or do a little birdwatching, take time to read the interpretive signs and stop at the interactive stations located throughout. No visit to the park is complete without traveling through the “Willow Walk,” which leads visitors to the entrance of a Kiiy, a replica of a native Gabrielino/Tongva gathering house where you can listen to audio recordings of stories about the first people of the area.

Bladderpod.
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Second annual Rock Roll & Run raises money for education

More than 2,000 families, students and community members came out to support local schools at the LAX Coastal Education Foundation’s (LAXCEF) 2nd Annual Rock Roll & Run in collaboration with Loyola Marymount University on Saturday, March 9.

1K runners start the race.

The event raised funds for 21 participating K-12 schools and featured a 5K run around the beautiful campus of LMU, a 1K kid’s race and a lively expo. More than 40 community organizations, businesses and sponsors had booths at the event, which featured free food, a photo booth, arts & crafts, kids’ activities and giveaways, while music from classic rock tribute band Ab-soul-ute played in the background. 

The Rock Roll & Run is the ed foundation’s premier fundraiser and is the only event that brings together all interested local schools for a chance to raise money for programs like P.E., art and field trips.

“We hope everyone had a great time at the event, whether they had a chance to participate in the 5K or 1K, or attended the expo,” said LAXCEF President Andrew Chereck. “We’re proud to have raised more than $80,000 that will go back to our local schools who increasingly need the support of the community and partners like our foundation to be able to fund important school programs. We look forward to continuing to raise more money in the future.” 

Runners warm up before the 5K at LMU.

The foundation, which launched in 2017, supports all local schools–public, private, charter and parochial–in the Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista and Marina del Rey areas. The foundation’s primary goals include aiding schools through fundraising, distributing grants and creating strategic partnerships. Since its inception, the foundation has given back more than $165,000 to local schools in direct funds and grants. Most recently, $15,000 in arts and beautification grants were awarded to nine schools. The foundation is kicking off the spring season accepting applications for STEM grants in partnership with SoCalGas and will announce literacy and teacher development grants in the coming months. 

LAXCEF also supports the Teacher Eddy Awards, Teacher Mini-Grants, hosts the School Expo and is always looking for partners to collaborate with for future projects.

For more information, please visit laxcef.org or email info@laxcoastaledfoundation.com.

Check out page 22-23 of the April HomeTown News for more photos from the race!

Posted April 2019. Photos by Zsuzsi Steiner.