It’s hard not to notice the Westerfield family in Westchester. First off, they have four children, which is a bit unusual these days. Then there’s the fact that all four of the children are within 37 months of each other in age. Oh, and they have twin girls adopted from Ethiopia.
“We’re obviously a family that stands out,” Carey Westerfield laughed.
The family has lived in Westchester since 2015, but in some ways, Carey said it’s like they’ve lived here forever.
“It feels like a cohesive community. Yes, there are different neighborhoods within the community, but we’re all so connected. It’s true what they say that we’re a small town in a big city,” she said.
The family relocated to Westchester after living in the Rancho Park area for 13 years.
“We knew we didn’t want to live there forever. It definitely felt like we lived in a big city, and we didn’t know our neighbors. Since we moved here, we’ve been very lucky to have met some wonderful people,” Carey said.
Carey considers herself a Californian, but she grew up moving from coast to coast, depending on where the Navy posted her father. She was working at Westchester Parents Nursery School until recently, when she accepted the position of Director at Rancho Co-Op Nursery School.
Husband Scott is a Vice President, Director of Technology at an advertising agency in Santa Monica.
“He is a very involved parent and partner and is a large part of what makes our family special,” Carey noted.
Their four children are Jack, 15, Logan, 14, and Des and Bri, 12. All love attending WISH Charter School.
“Getting four kids into WISH was truly like winning the lottery, but we didn’t realize at the time just how lucky we truly were,” Carey said. “Because of WISH, we found this wonderful community and it’s like winning another lottery. I couldn’t have foreseen at the time that just by applying there, how much our lives would change for the better.”
While it has been challenging to find interesting family activities during the COVID-19 quarantine, Carey said they’ve managed to do day trips to see the poppies, another to see the bioluminescent waves and they occasionally cook together.
“The kids have been great, knock on wood! Virtual learning was seamless at our school. It’s amazing. Their routine pretty much stayed the same, which was good for them. I’m lucky to say that the quarantine has not been a hardship for my family, but I know that’s not always the case for other families,” she said.
Realizing this is what prompted the Westerfields to volunteer with Grass Roots Neighbors. A friend of Carey’s reached out to her for help because of her role as an administrator for the Parenting in Westchester, PDR, and PV Facebook group.
“We came up with the idea of getting a group of moms as volunteers to go to people’s houses and pick up food donations,” she said. “It makes me feel good that we’re getting food to people in need just as fast as we’re getting the food in. It’s an amazing thing to see. And it’s all for the local community. Some of our neighbors need help during this quarantine. If you have the means and can buy extra groceries or cleaning products–the same things you buy for your family–then we can get it to those families in need.”
Carey added, “That’s what moms do. We grab a couple other moms and get stuff done! We really feel like we’re part of the community. We have roots here now. We never felt like we had that in our last neighborhood.”
Something else the family has been involved in recently are the Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Carey participates every weekend, and the rest of the family attends as they are able.
“These demonstrations have grown out of necessity because of what is happening right now. It has been very powerful to be out there every Sunday and see so much support from the local community,” she said. “It’s been a great community-builder.”
The local demonstrations take place at the intersection of Sepulveda and La Tijera, so there’s plenty of room for social distancing and masks are required for all participants. The Westerfields got involved after helping with the Kids March For Equality.
“Before we adopted our daughters, we did a lot of research and took classes about transracial adoption, but they don’t really prepare you,” Carey said. “I grew up believing I was color blind and all we need is love. If that were true, there wouldn’t be racism anymore and things would be magically perfect. So we did a lot of introspection, research, a lot of listening and feeling uncomfortable.”
Thankfully, the tight-knit group of friends that she has made in Westchester/Playa have helped make parenting and being an involved, passionate member of the community easy.
“No community is perfect, but Westchester has a lot of amazing things about it. There are a lot of people who are trying to make positive changes. To be able to love your community, even though it’s not perfect, and work with other people to make it better–that’s a very powerful thing,” she said.
By Consuelo Israelson.
Photos by Zsuzsi Steiner.
Posted July 2020.