The board of directors of Airport Marina Counseling Service (AMCS) has chosen Kathleen O’Leary Lefferman to head the 45-year-old mental health clinic in Westchester, according to Judy Delavigne, president of the board.

Kathleen has more than 25 years of leadership experience, and background, which includes public service, fundraising development, community relations, grant procurement, academia and “friendraising.”

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Kathleen earned her undergraduate degree in psychology and English from the University of Massachusetts, an M.A. in child development from Tufts University and an M.A. in English from Loyola Marymount University (LMU).

In addition, she received certification in adjustment counseling at Boston University School of Social Work, and over the years has taught psychology, child development, education and English at Wheelock College, Worcester College and LMU.

For nine years, she was the program coordinator and then acting director of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Criminal Justice Planning Office, working for both Mayor Richard Riordan and Mayor James Hahn, securing significant funding for an array of community needs, and serving as liaison to the Los Angeles City Council and state and federal agencies.

In 2003, she left the mayor’s office to pursue a career in academia where she earned her second master’s degree and was selected as a teaching fellow and instructor at LMU.

Prior to her tenure in the mayor’s office, Kathleen was management consultant to nonprofit organizations in the Los Angeles area, and was the director of operations for El Nido Family Centers, a social service agency for greater Los Angeles. She was instrumental in planning, developing and overseeing innovative and community-responsive programs that are still in operation.

Kathleen says that she found that she missed her previous work and the challenge of community-oriented activities and services.

“I am extremely happy to have been chosen to work at AMCS,” said Lefferman, who resides in Westchester with her husband, Elias, and a son who attends Westchester High School.

HOLIDAY HOME TOUR — On Sunday, November 5th, the Westchester Mental Health Guild will present a grand tour of five Westchester and Playa del Rey homes at its 24th annual Westchester Holiday Home Tour. The tour will spotlight distinctive and exciting houses in the area, with all proceeds benefiting Airport Marina Counseling Service.

Hours of the tour are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Featured on this self-guided home tour are a hilltop beauty with a coastal view to forever; a gracious, friendly home just made for entertaining adults and kids; a cozy, yet roomy traditional family nest; a “Retro Contemporary” home that will leave you breathless; and a true treasure of a house shaped like a steamboat, sitting on a hill with unending views of the ocean just steps away.

Tickets are $25 per person and are on sale now at the Guilded Cage Gift Shop, 8917-B South Sepulveda Boulevard in Westchester. Children under 12 years old are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

Day-of-event tickets may be purchased at the YMCA Annex (formerly Westchester Woman’s Club), 8020 Alverstone Ave. in Westchester. Home Tour ticket-holders are invited to attend a reception and do some holiday shopping at the gift boutique hosted by The Guilded Cage, from noon to 5 p.m. the day of the tour at the YMCA Annex.

Information, (310) 641-7850.

SEPULVEDA CLEANUP — Hundreds of Loyola Marymount University students and community members will be on the street cleaning up the “strip lots” along the residential section of Sepulveda Boulevard in Westchester Saturday, October 28th.

From 9 to 11 a.m., community members are encouraged to join in the effort. For more information or to volunteer, contact Laurie Sale, special projects deputy for City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, (310) 568-8772 or laurie .sale@lacity.org

HISTORICAL SOCIETY OPEN HOUSE — “The Way We Were” is the theme of the Westchester/Playa del Rey Historical Society’s Fall Open House, which will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, October 21st, at the Playa Vista Branch Library, 6400 Playa Vista Drive in Playa Vista.

The program will include a half-hour video, “Ballona Wetlands: The Story of an Urban Oasis,” as well as a talk by longtime Playa del Rey resident Robert Krauch highlighting the history of the Del Rey Lagoon area.

Rare historical photos and memorabilia will be on display.

For more information, call Historical Society president Patty Crockett at (310) 641-3383, ext. 2.

“GROUNDSWELL” PREMIERES — The public is invited to attend a performance of choreographer Kristen Smiarowski’s new work, “Groundswell: a site-specific dance for the Ballona Freshwater Marsh,” presented by Loyola Marymount University’s 2006 Bellarmine Forum on Environmental Responsibility: Earth to You — Do Something Now, scheduled for Thursday, November 2nd.

Performances will be held at 6:30 a.m., 9:25 a.m., 10:50 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.

Audiences will be shuttled from nearby Loyola Marymount University to the marsh, where they will travel on foot to view the performance. The total duration, including roundtrip transportation, is an hour and 15 minutes. The entire performance is outdoors, so attendees should dress accordingly.

The goal of “Groundswell” is to draw attention, through dance, to the unique geography and habitat of the marsh, creating layers of images that illuminate the underlying tensions between human and environmental needs.

The piece is said to be uniquely situated to build intersections between dance and environmental issues, and between the dance community and the community of people who have a stake in the marsh.

The creation of “Groundswell” was supported in part by Loyola Marymount University’s Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, the College of Communication and Fine Arts Visiting Artists and Lecturers Program, The Durfee Foundation and UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures. Additional support came from the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy, Ballona Wetlands Foundation, the Center for Natural Lands Management, Friends of Ballona Wetlands and Playa Vista.

Reservations and parking and shuttle information, (310) 338-5845.

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