The Westchester Rotary Club has selected Playa del Rey resident Booker Pearson as its Citizen of the Year.

Pearson, a member of the Neighborhood Council of Westchester-Playa, was presented the award at the Westchester Rotary’s meeting Wednesday, June 27 at the LAX Crown Plaza hotel. Rotary members say Pearson exemplifies the group’s motto of “service above self.”

Pearson has led the charge throughout the community to address the issues faced by the homeless and help them find the resources they need to get off the streets, according to the Rotary.

The Los Angeles City Council voted June 26 to appoint Pearson to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority commission, which manages federal, state, county and city funds for programs providing shelter, housing and services to homeless persons across the county.

As chair of the neighborhood council’s Homelessness and Vehicular Living Committee, Pearson spearheaded the effort to bring together city, county and other resources to develop and implement a plan to transition the homeless out of Westchester Park.

Pearson has also assisted in the work at the park with People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), a nonprofit group that connects the homeless with social service providers and other resources, the Rotary said.

In addition, Pearson coordinated with PATH and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to conduct a homeless census in 2010 to determine exactly how many homeless people were living in the Ballona Wetlands, Westchester Park and other areas in the community and identify their needs.

Pearson is a past-chairman (and founding member) of the board for Santa Monica-based Upward Bound House, a nonprofit organization that works to get homeless children and their families into permanent housing.

He also serves on the Westchester Park Advisory Board.

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