Maxine Waters to speak to Rotarians; church encourages sharing produce with needy

BY GEOFF MALEMAN

A group of students from Positive Alternative Choices Today (PACT) recently joined Heal the Bay to help clean up Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey, adding to the Mar Vista organization’s effort to promote community service as well as work ethics.

PACT’s mission is to provide real-world work experience and enhance youngsters’ self-esteem in an effort to break the cycle of gang involvement. The majority of PACT’s students come from the Mar Vista Gardens Housing Project in Del Rey.

“It is critical that we show these young people that there is more to life than gangs,” PACT Chief Executive Officer William Ewald said. “If we do not give kids a real chance to learn about work ethics and why community matters, gangs will continue to offer them an appealing choice because they will see no other options.”

The youngsters, ages nine to 15, who participated in the Nothin’ But Sand Beach Clean-Up are part of PACT’s Work Ethics Program in which they are accompanied by a reference-screened, fingerprinted adult mentor as they go door-to-door on the Westside selling short-term newspaper subscriptions. For the past 15 years, the program has been commended for its efforts in helping more than 1,000 at-risk youngsters stay away from gangs as they develop work skills.

In addition to teaching work ethics, the organization takes students on trips to local amusement parks and stresses the importance of community service opportunities like the beach clean-up.

For more information about PACT and the ways in which it is helping local students find alternatives to gangs, please visit www.pactla.org/. PACT continues to look for mentors in the community who are interested in working with these at-risk students. If you are interested in being a mentor, please call (310) 313-4119.

WATERS TO SPEAK TO ROTARIANS

Congresswoman Maxine Waters will speak to the Rotary Club of Westchester Wednesday, August 19th regarding a variety of national and international issues. The event will begin at noon at The Crowne Plaza ——Los Angeles International Airport at 5985 Century Blvd. in Westchester. Admission is $20 per person and includes lunch.

Following her presentation, there will be a question-and-answer period.

“We are pleased to have the congresswoman join us,” said Rotary Club President John Ramey. “She is widely considered one of the most powerful women in American politics today, and it is always interesting to hear her take on the issues of the day.”

Elected in November 2008 to her tenth term in the House of Representatives with an overwhelming 80 percent of the votes in the 35th District, Waters represents a large part of South Central Los Angeles, the communities of Westchester and Playa del Rey, as well as the diverse cities of Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood and Lawndale.

She continues to be a member of the House Committee on Financial Services and the chairwoman of its Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity. Waters also serves on the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, and the Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology.

She also continues to serve on the Committee on the Judiciary and its Subcommittees on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, and on Immigration, Border Security and Claims.

HOLY NATIVITY HELPS LOCALS SHARE FOOD WITH NEEDY

Do you have fruit trees in your yard or neighborhood producing more fruit than you can handle? If you have more fruit than you can use then Westchester’s Holy Nativity Church can help.

The church has launched Harvest Westchester, a community-based program that aims to collect excess backyard fruit and deliver it to Food Pantry LAX, where it will be shared with those in need. Collection time is Thursday afternoons so that the food can be delivered to the food pantry on Friday mornings.

To donate food, you can box it up and bring it to Holy Nativity at 6700 West 83rd St. (at the corner of Dunbarton Avenue and 83rd Street) on Thursdays. Volunteers can also come by to pick it up or even help you pick the fruit.

Church volunteers are working hard to create a large database of residential fruit trees that will be available for harvest throughout the course of the year. As a consequence, volunteers will strengthen the support offered to property owners and residents to preserve and maintain their trees as a valuable food resource.

For further information on fruit donations or volunteering, please visit www.harvestwestchester.org/, email holynativity@sbcglobal.net/ or call (310) 670-4777.

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