Tag Archives: rotary

Want to get involved? Local groups offer opportunities to give back, enhance community

Westchester Rotary Club volunteers, including President Elect Tori Hettinger, help paint a wall at Safe Place for Youth during last year’s Makeover Project. Joining or participating in a Rotary Club event is just one of the many ways volunteers can donate their time, talent or treasure to enhance the community.

For many of us, the new year creates an opportunity to make plans and goals to accomplish in the next twelve months. For those looking to get more involved in their neighborhood, January is a fresh start to give your time, talent or treasure to the myriad of local groups that are always looking for new, enthusiastic people interested in joining their organizations.

Here is a short list of local groups that can help you accomplish your goal of getting involved and giving back to your neighborhood in 2018: Continue reading

Fine & Performing Arts Scholarships for 8th Grade students offered by Rotary Club

The Westchester Rotary is hosting the Jim Bunch Memorial Arts Scholarships open to 8th graders who reside or attend school in the Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Del Rey or Marina del Rey areas.

The Rotary Club is looking for candidates talented in the fine or performing arts. Applications will be broken up into three different categories:


• Entries must be original work, created by the individual contestant.

• Art entries must fall into one of the following categories: painting, drawing, photography, ceramic, sculpture or cultural.

• Art entries may not exceed 50 inches in any one direction.


• Limited to one soloist.

• Style is limited to classic ballet, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, tap or cultural.

• Performance should be 1.5 to 2 minutes in length.

• Contestant may bring pre-recorded accompaniment.


• Contestant may be a vocalist, instrumentalist or both.

• Musical performance should be 1.5 to 3 minutes in length.

• Contestants may be accompanied by piano or guitar or may bring pre-recorded accompaniment.

The deadline for applications is Friday, February 24. Candidates must be available to perform or display their artistic entry on the afternoon of March 26 at LA Arts Collective in Westchester. Scholarships in amounts up to $1,000 will be announced at the end of the event.

For more information on the competition or to obtain an application, please contact Cozette Vergari at  cozetterotary5280@gmail.com.

January 2017. Updated February 2, 2017.

It’s about getting involved, staying involved for Rotary’s Citizen of the Year

Smith-webChances are if you’ve ever been involved in a project, an activity or a group with the goal of bettering the Westchester and Playa del Rey community, you’ve met Garrett Smith. His love for the community and contagious can-do attitude is exactly why the Rotary Club of Westchester is honoring him this month as their Citizen of the Year at their annual Night of Comedy fundraiser. While typically a committee chooses the honoree, this year’s selection process was much easier according to event chair and Rotarian Cindy Williams; before a committee was even formed, she had received numerous nominations for Smith citing his exemplary involvement and service to the community.  Continue reading

Rotary accepting applications for arts scholarships

Rotary looks for applications for middle school scholarships. The Rotary Club of Westchester is now accepting applications for the Jim Bunch Memorial Scholarship from eighth graders who reside or attend school in the Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Del Rey or Marina del Rey areas. The club is looking for candidates talented in the fine or performing arts and applications will be broken up into three different categories:

• Art. Entries must be original work, created by the individual contestant and must be a painting, drawing, photography, ceramic, sculpture or cultural entry. Entries may not exceed 50 inches in any one direction. Continue reading

Marina del Rey restaurateur to receive Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club’s highest honor


In the 18 years since Tony Palermo, or Tony P as he known by his friends and family, has owned his namesake restaurant with business partner Dan Ringwood, he’s managed to donate more than $380,000 to the community and operate arguably the Marina’s most popular restaurant. For his philanthropic efforts, the Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club is bestowing their highest honor on Palermo at their annual Cultural Dinner. At the Thursday, October 15 event at Playa Vista’s CenterPointe Club, Rotarians will present Palermo with the 2015 Sunrise Community Service Award, an accolade they present once a year to a deserving community member who has made a difference in the lives of others, gives back to the community and lives their life by the Rotary 4-Way test. This year’s theme is “Return to Italy,” an ode to Palermo’s and club president Tony Ciancimino’s Italian heritage.

“We couldn’t think of a more deserving honoree for this year’s service award,” said Cultural Dinner chair Gwen Vuchsas. “Tony has donated to practically every group in this community and he is especially generous with the local schools, from donating money and gift cards for raffles to inviting schools down to his restaurant to learn how to make pizza. He is a great example of someone who is dedicated to community service, both personally and professionally.”

Palermo, who lives in Westchester with his wife, Lauren, and two daughters, is also known around the community for playing Santa Claus for the Rotary-sponsored Santa Tour and for having one of the major float entries in the Fourth of July Parade. He is active in a variety of community organizations and currently serves on the Executive Board of the LAX Coastal Chamber and as the Board Treasurer for the Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau. No stranger to being honored, in the past Palermo has been awarded the Business of the Year award from Senator Ted Lieu, Restaurateur of the Year from the Southern California Restaurant Writers Association and last year, he received the Kid’s Need Heroes Community Pillar Award from the Westchester Family YMCA.

At the dinner, the club will also recognize longtime Venice resident Ty Pennington, who transformed the lives of hundreds of deserving families on the hit ABC show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Pennington inspired tens of thousands of volunteers across the country, as well as millions of television viewers worldwide, to give back to their communities, which is a cornerstone of the Rotary mission. Locally, the show helped inspire the Westchester Rotary’s Home Makeover Project, which has helped transform the homes of four local families and earlier this year, the Westchester Senior Center.

The Cultural Dinner is the Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary’s largest fundraiser of the year and helps the 60-member club, which meets every Wednesday morning at Whiskey Red’s, the ability to fund projects like the Teacher Mini-Grants, the Holiday Adopt-A-Family program, feeding the homeless, scholarships and supporting local fire fighters. The club also holds a variety of community events throughout the year including pancake breakfasts in Westchester and Venice and a St. Patrick’s Day BingoFest.

“It is truly an honor to be chosen to lead Playa Venice this year,” said Ciancimino. “Our members represent the best in our community and our  events like Adopt a Family where we  provide a joyful holiday where there wouldn’t have been one, Teacher Mini Grants and youth scholarships, which enhance educational opportunities, all offer a hand up to those in need. We proudly live the Rotary motto, ‘Service Above Self.’”

Tickets to the event are $85 and include appetizers, dinner, a hosted bar and entertainment. 

For information, please call (310) 306-8525.