Los Angeles City Council president Eric Garcetti joined labor, business and community leaders at a special recognition luncheon last week to honor at-risk individuals who have turned around their lives by building new construction careers.

Themed “Rebirth of a Dream,” the recognition luncheon was launched by Playa Vista Job Opportunities and Business Services (PVJOBS), a leading nonprofit career placement program that provides construction job opportunities to at-risk youths and adults.

Laborer foreman Stanley Williams and equipment operator Sergio Lopez were honored with Employee of the Year awards for overcoming life obstacles by sustaining successful careers in the construction industry.

The event also honored a community leader and construction firm for their work in providing meaningful employment opportunities as a pathway to economic self-sufficiency and self-recovery.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks was honored with the Visionary Award for his influence in moving the Playa Vista Job Opportunities and Business Services vision to new levels.

Bernard’s Brothers Construction was recognized with the Contractor of the Year Award for demonstrating a hiring commitment that reflects the PVJOBS mission.

During the event, Garcetti spoke about the importance of the civic and business communities developing creative employment programs that offer job opportunities to ex-offenders and other at-risk individuals.

Formed in 1998, Playa Vista Job Opportunities and Business Services is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that provides construction job opportunities to at-risk residents.

These at-risk youths and adults have either come from single-parent homes, have been welfare recipients, did not complete high school or have been incarcerated.

For these people, poor life choices and circumstances made it difficult for them to obtain living wage employment.

Thanks to Playa Vista Job Opportunities and Business Services, now they have not only achieved living-wage careers, but also transformed their lives.

ORVILLE WRIGHT ONLINE AUCTION — The Orville Wright Middle School Seahawk Spring Auction is here and this year, the auction will be held on-line.

Just visit the Web site at www.owmsbooster.org and check out the online catalog of items donated by many community businesses. The auction is open through 5 p.m. Friday, May 26th.

Those interested in bidding on items in the auction can follow the simple instructions provided on the Web site to place a bid, or fax choices and bid amounts can be faxed, using the attached form, to (310) 841-5093.

Each item has a minimum opening bid, but once the bidding starts, you can bid as often as you like.

Winning bidders will be notified by phone and e-mail. All items will be available for pickup at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 31st, in the Orville Wright Auditorium at 6550 W. 80th St.

All funds raised by this auction will be used by the school’s nonprofit organization to fund improvements and programs at Orville Wright Middle School.

Y’S MEN HOST PANCAKE BREAKFAST — The Westchester Family YMCA Y’s Men will host a pancake breakfast from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 20th, at the YMCA parking lot, 8015 Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester.

All proceeds will benefit YMCA programs and Westchester Family YMCA Youth and Government.

The breakfast is $4 per person, so bring the family for a great breakfast and support a great cause.

GIANT ACCOMPLISHMENT — Congratulations to the Giants, the 2006 Westchester Babe Ruth First Half Champions.

The team, managed by Mike Arias and coached by Frank Noyes and Ken Tota, finished the regular season with the best record.

The Giants won three straight playoff games to win the championship, with pitchers Michael Arias and Philip Noyes combining for seven innings to seal the victory.

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