The Mar Vista Family Center in Del Rey recognized a former program participant who overcame the tough streets of her neighborhood to graduate from college during its annual fundraising luncheon May 10.
A Mar Vista Family Center youth graduate who grew up in the Mar Vista Gardens public housing project in Del Rey, Jessica Hernandez was honored by the organization at its second annual luncheon and silent auction, “Transforming Families & Strengthening Communities.” The family center works to provide low-income families with quality early childhood education, youth enrichment and educational tools to create positive change in their lives.
“Now, more than ever, families and young people, like Jessica, need the tools and resources to create positive change in their lives and in their community,” said Mar Vista Family Center CEO Lucia Diaz. “Each day we see our families taking extraordinary steps to make their lives better despite the difficult challenges they face.”
Hernandez is a recent graduate from California State University-Northridge who earned a bachelor’s degree in marriage, family and child counseling.
Growing up in the public housing project, Hernandez faced many challenges but she was able to turn her life around with the support of family center programs and her mother’s determination, Mar Vista Family Center officials noted.
The event also honored Bobbie McMorrow, CEO of McMorrow Savarese and leader of the Rise Up! Movement, and City National Bank as a corporate partner.
“We applaud Mar Vista Family Center for its commitment to education, youth enrichment, and community leadership and for enabling families to become successful, contributing members of their community,” said City National Bank Vice President of Marketing Carolyn Rodriguez. “We believe that education and family participation are some of the best investments you make in life.”
The Mar Vista Family Center annually serves more than 1,100 children, teens, and adults of predominantly Latino origin.
Proceeds from the event support the center’s programs throughout the year.

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