Westchester community members prepare to break into a sweat for the area’s longtime nonprofit mental health center, the Airport Marina Counseling Service, at the upcoming Jet to Jetty run, Saturday, August 26th, at Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Rey.

The fundraising event includes a 10k run, a 5k walk/run, a team competition, a “fun run” for kids and a 10- and 20-mile “Family Fun Bike Ride.”

Participants can register for the Jet to Jetty the day of the event starting at 6:30 a.m.; and early registration is available from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, August 25th, at Ralphs Fresh Fare, 4700 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey. Registration is also available at www.W2Promo.com

Registration fees are $25 for the 5k walk/run and 10k run; $15 per bike for the “Family Fun Bike Ride,”; and $10 for kids to enter the 1k run.

The “Family Fun Bike Ride” begins at 7:30 a.m.; the 5k walk/run will start at 8 a.m.; the 10k run starts at 8:30 a.m.; and the final event of the morning, the 1k kids “fun run,” begins at 9:45 a.m.

The races are back to their traditional starting point on Vista Del Mar near Imperial Highway, with the finish line at a Dockweiler Beach parking lot. Last year’s route was changed due to construction.

Included in the Jet to Jetty festivities, along with food, lots of water, prizes and exhibitors, is an opportunity for a Hawaiian Vacation Trip to Maui, with an eight-day/seven-night stay at Maui’s Royal Lahaina Resort, $500 hotel restaurant credit and round-trip airfare, donated by the Pleasant Holidays and the William H. Hannon Foundation.

Don Francisco’s Gourmet Coffee will be on-site pouring “thousands” of free cups of coffee for runners and spectators, according to a Don Francisco spokesperson.

The grand marshal for the 2006 Jet to Jetty fundraiser is Alan Cassman, a local attorney and Westchester community leader. Jet to Jetty has been co-chaired by Polly Garstka and Irene Yoshinaga since its inception 22 years ago.

The Airport Marina Counseling Service is a private nonprofit outpatient clinic that has offered mental health services to the community since 1961.

The service was founded after a realization by community leaders and residents that there were no mental health services available in the Westchester area at that time.

Today , the clinic is a major provider of mental health services to adults, children and families living and working in Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey, Culver City, Venice, Westchester, Inglewood, El Segundo and other nearby communities.

The nonprofit clinic also trains mental health professionals.

It’s main services are individual and group counseling, family and couples therapy, child and adolescent counseling, psychological testing, psychiatric care, consultation and referrals.

Airport Marina Counseling Service provides 18,000 hours of child, adult and family counseling sessions annually, with a paid staff of only six and the help of roughly 60 interns from nearby graduate schools. About 400 children, adults and families are treated weekly.

The clinic has established outreach programs to local elementary and high schools, providing child therapy and preventative intervention.

“It’s been a mainstay,” says Garstka about Airport Marina Counseling Service. “It adds to the quality of life. If not for the clinic, there wouldn’t be a place in the community for people with mental health needs to go to.”

The revenue gained from Jet to Jetty is essential to the daily operations of the clinic as client fees account for only about 40 percent of the funds necessary to keep the clinic operational, according to Airport Marina Counseling Service.

Airport Marina Counseling Service is located at 7891 La Tijera Blvd., Westchester.

Information, (310) 670-1410.

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