TV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” showed how communities can change lives by improving the living conditions of those who’ve fallen on hard times.
Over President’s Day weekend, the Rotary Club of Westchester brought that same kind of magic to Safe Place for Youth, a Venice-based resource and case management center that serves local homeless youth.
The group of 47 Rotarians and 96 community volunteers accomplished a workload that would make Ty Pennington proud. In just three days they constructed and fully stocked an education and job-training center, a health and wellness center, and a communal clothes closet for distributing donated items. They even had time and money left over to redo a bathroom.
Resources for the project came through local fundraising efforts and contributions by Rotary International, sister Rotary clubs around the world, the William H. Hannon Foundation, the Drollinger Family Charitable Foundation, and Adam Levine of the band Maroon 5.
Westchester Rotarians execute a makeover project every two years. In 2015 they redid the Westchester Senior Center, which represented a shift from renovating private homes to supporting the missions of public resource centers.
“We look for sustainable projects that will impact the greatest number of people in the community and support vocational services,” Rotary Club of Westchester President Christa Ramey said.
But the work doesn’t end there. Rotary grant funds are also supporting an internship program that will put Safe Place for Youth clients to work in local businesses, with some Rotarians already making hiring commitments.
1. Volunteer Angelo Georgetti and Westchester Rotarian Darlene Fukuji discuss the finer points of painting.
2. Rotarian Tori Hettinger takes sandpaper to a baseboard on day two of the makeover.
3. L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin rolls a base coat onto a new wall.
4. Volunteer Carly Donnellan stocks the new clothes closet with donations.
5. Westchester Rotarians and local volunteers know how to have fun while getting things done.
6. Rotarians Kim Williamson and Carol Tripodo weed planters on day one of the makeover.
PHOTOS BY ALLISON KNIGHT (allisonknightimages.com)