The Westchester Family YMCA celebrated the spirit of volunteerism as it honored seven local organizations and individuals for contributions to the YMCA during the Second Annual Volunteer “Rockognition” event Wednesday, June 8th.
Honorees included Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) — the City of Los Angeles agency that operates Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and other city airports — the Y’s Men’s Club of Westchester and local residents Laurie Cordobes, Al Pinheiro, Ryan Gales and Grace Foster.
Honorary Westchester mayor Barbara Yamamoto represented LAWA and Don Pierce represented the Y’s Men’s Club.
Westchester resident John Sharpe was also awarded “Program Volunteer of the Year” for supporting YMCA programs.
LAWA was honored for its more than 15-year partnership with the YMCA. The Y’s Youth and Government program holds mock legislative bill hearing nights in the LAX Administration Building auditorium.
LAX officials have worked with the Travelers Aid organization to support the annual YMCA “Coming Together for Youth” fundraiser that raised more than $200,000 for YMCA youth programs during the past five years.
The YMCA and the airport have collaborated on a pilot program called “Aviation and You,” an aviation-themed art class for middle school students that culminated in an art show at the Flight Path Learning Center of Southern California.
The Y’s Men’s Club, which, despite its name, includes women, was honored for 53 years of service and support of the Y.
The club has raised thousands of dollars for the YMCA through pancake breakfasts and the sale of Christmas trees.
Many club members, usually wearing their signature blue jackets, also perform repairs in and around the YMCA and handle gardening duties to make sure the facility always looks its best.
Cordobes, who first became a member of the Westchester YMCA as a young girl in 1968, was honored for her commitment to the Y Aquatics Department, where the ocean lifeguard serves as the president of the Orcas Swim Team and the swim team parents group chair for four years.
Pinheiro — known to friends as “Big Al” — was recognized for his support of YMCA programs, ranging from Junior Lakers and Trailblazers to the swim team and the annual support campaign.
Gales, who volunteers as a Y Youth and Government (Y&G) advisor and a summer camp counselor, was honored for three years of volunteerism, helping young leaders at the Y excel.
“I’ve always admired the way my dad volunteered his time to coach teams and participate in various community organizations,” Gales said.
“When I was asked to become an advisor for Y&G, it gave me the opportunity to follow a path which was already set. And I jumped at the chance to give back to a program and organization which gave me so much.”
Foster, a member of the Westchester Family YMCA for 20 years, was recognized for her efforts as head volunteer director for Camp Round Meadow, a Y popular summer camp.
Foster has also volunteered with Y programs such as Y Guides and Mommy and Me to Y Princesses and Youth and Government.
Sharpe, who received the Program Volunteer of the Year Award, was recognized because, as YMCA executive director Tisha de Felice said, “He truly embodies the spirit of volunteerism.”
For more than ten years, Sharpe has given his time to the YMCA and has been actively involved in the Y Guides and Princesses as a “Nation Chief.”
He says the YMCA is a “place for building relationships with family and friends, for instilling in my children a mind for healthy habits and attitudes, and providing an outlet for my own physical fitness needs.”
Sharpe has also been active in raising funds for youth program at the YMCA.
Information on Westchester Family YMCA events, or to become a volunteer, (310) 670-4316 or www.ymcala.org/wc
PANCAKE BREAKFAST — The newly formed Playa Sunrise Rotary Club will hold its first official club event 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, July 23rd, when the club sponsors an open house and pancake breakfast at Los Angeles City Fire Station No. 5 on Manchester Avenue in Westchester.
The breakfast is $4, $2 for children 11 years and under, and will include pancakes, sausage and a drink. Food and labor for the breakfast will be donated by Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel. Information, (310) 306-8525.
ROSENDAHL MEETING — Newly elected Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl — who used his City Council campaign to tout his plans for increased public transit and for stopping LAX expansion — will discuss these and other issues during a “Meet and Greet” event at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 21st, at the Westchester Elks Lodge, 8025 Manchester Ave., Playa del Rey. The public is invited, and admission is free.
SOCIAL SECURITY TOPIC — Congresswoman Maxine Waters will host a Social Security Town Hall meeting in West- chester to discuss various plans for Social Security now being discussed by Congress.
The Town Hall meeting, free and open to the public, will be between 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday, July 16th, in the Ahmanson Auditorium, University Hall, Loyola Marymount University campus.
Information, Edgar Saenz, (310) 753-1668.