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WEINGART EAST LOS ANGELES YMCA 2900 Whittier Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90023 Summer 2013


LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Hello Friends of the Y, On behalf of the staff, volunteers and the Board of the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA, we hope you enjoy reading this newsletter, which will provide you with an update on the ever increasing scope of our impact in the East Los Angeles community. As you'll see, 2013 continues to be a great year for the Y as we introduce new, innovative and impactful programs like SPLASHBALL and expand existing programs such as our Youth Institute, Youth & Government and Early Learning Readiness program. In addition, the Board of Managers and I are excited to announce that a new, dynamic group of professionals has been elected as the class of 2013 to serve on the board. We were impressed with the new class, its success in a wide variety of professions and willingness to be engaged in our cause-driven organization. I am very excited to work in partnership with our new Board Members and Board of Managers to continue to advance our Y and to strengthen the East Los Angeles Community. 2013 Elected Board Members Dr. Rafael Amezcua – Bienvenidos Carla Cruz – Loyola Marymount University Dr. Melissa Gaeke – University of Southern California Johnny Gonzalez – Farmer John Luis Juarez – Panda Restaurant Group Sevanne Sarkis – Keck Medical Center Hugo Sibrian – Benefits & Risk Solutions, Inc. The YMCA has a long tradition of service in the communities of Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles. In fact, the Y built the first sports field in Los Angeles. This year we are excited to continue celebrating 102 years of high quality, dynamic and passionate service to our community. Our area encompasses the vibrant historic core of the city’s Latino community and our aim is to continue to serve it with greater precision by providing targeted programs and opportunities for this largely underserved segment of the population. As the most recent data shows, the WELA YMCA has become the central meeting place for families in our community. Our facilities now sustain close to 7000 youth and families who have found both a center to support their efforts towards greater health and wellness as well as a hub where civic and community connections are made. This last point is important because we know that lasting personal and social change only comes about when we all work together. That’s why at the Y, our ultimate mission is strengthening the community’s foundation. Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. We look forward to hearing from you and your continued or future engagement in advancing our cause-driven organization.


IN THIS ISSUE MEND, Healthy Kids Day and Camp Round Meadow Youth Development Aquatics : Splash Week A Y&G Story: Angel Flores Youth & Government Chairman’s Round Table Youth Institute Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition Catching up with the kids in Pre-School

ENJOY THIS ISSUE? Feel free to share this newsletter with anyone who you think may find it useful.

SAVE THE DATE! 9th Annual “Heart of the Family” Luncheon October 17, 2013 Los Angeles , CA The Millennium Biltmore Hotel

Victor A. Dominguez, Executive Director & Vice President of Community Development 1

Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it! Healthy Kids Day Camp Round Meadow 2

MIND, EXERCISE, NUTRITION, DO IT! (MEND) This year the Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it! (MEND) Program has created partnerships with California’s Child Health, Disability Prevention (CHDP) Program and AltaMed Health Services in order to reach families who are most in need of obesity prevention education.

HEALTHY KIDS DAY 2013 Healthy Kids Day 2013 welcomed nearly 300 visitors from our community. Twenty-five community organizations and businesses participated by providing information, partaking in giveaways and demonstrations, as well as health screenings such as blood pressure and glucose readings. Children were especially thrilled with activities such as a visit inside a LA Fire Department fire truck, an obstacle course and our 3rd Annual K-9 “Wagathon."

CAMP ROUND MEADOW This summer (June 21-July 6), 120 boys and girls from the Boyle Heights/ East Los Angeles communities embarked on a life-changing, week-long residence camp trip to Big Bear Mountain. It was a week filled with a variety of programs such as rock-climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, archery and other heart-pumping activities. For many campers, this was their first time away from home, away from the noisy city, free from their electronic devices, free from social pressures that at times restrict kids from being exactly that…kids! Camp is more than a week filled with activities - camp is an experience. It is a week where kids accomplish challenges, establish friendships, conquer fears, and grow to appreciate the peace found in nature and the diversity in people.





This summer, Splash Week served 314 children, 72% of which were non-members and for whom this was their first swim lesson. One of the highlights of Splash Week was a six year-old girl who was taking her first swim lesson. When she had swam halfway across the pool, the girl climbed out of the water and ecstatically yelled at her mother’s cell phone “Daddy! Daddy! Did you see me!?” Upon looking at the phone, we saw the girl’s father, dressed in a U.S. Army uniform giving both the staff and his daughter a “thumbs up." It was heartwarming to see that although her father was halfway around the world in Afghanistan, he was still able to make it to his daughter‘s first swim lesson. It was amazing to witness this and countless other families grow stronger through Splash Week.

INTRODUCING...Splashball™ Early childhood is a time for physical development, experimentation and skill building. Splashball is designed to introduce the sport of water polo to children through water safety and swimming skills. It harnesses all the fun and dynamic aspects of the game in a safe, easy-tolearn experience that help kids learn to swim, make new friends and stay fit.

Angel Flores came into our YMCA as a high school sophomore looking to fulfill a simple community service hour requirement to check off from his list of things to do for graduation. However, It has been two years since Angel initially came through our doors and he has become a model for what we strive to do with youth that come to our YMCA. His simple checklist led him to become the kid at our Y that is always eager to participate in any activity that comes his way, with an infectious “can-do attitude” and constant willingness to help others. Coming into our YMCA, Angel was timid and continuously struggled to find his voice. This was set to change as Angel’s exposure and participation in volunteer and community engagement efforts grew exponentially. Angel’s commitment to his community has led him to become a key player in developing a Running Club at our YMCA and in ensuring that recruitment for our Youth and Government program never fell short and continuously grew. Angel has been instrumental in ensuring that Y youth are active participants in community engagement activities through the Building Healthy Communities – Boyle Heights (BHC-BH) initiative, a 10‐year plan of The California Endowment to help communities develop into places where children are healthy, safe, and ready to learn. In the BHC-BH, Angel is active when it comes to planning events with the Youth Engagement Committee or through the Alliance of California Traditional Arts by documenting cultural treasures in the community. Currently, Angel is a youth representative of Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition, a group that uses community-based participatory research and community organizing to identify issues to help improve the lives of young men of color. In the coalition, Angel serves as a youth advocate and he is resolute in ensuring that the youth in his community are not pushed out of school due to the punitive discipline measures that are currently in place. His work within the coalition is to target policy changes to fight for, implement new practices, support youth and to learn new strategies in order to be heard by elected officials, government agencies and voters. In the Youth and Government program, Angel used his knowledge from his work in the coalition to author a bill that sought to remove willful defiance as an expellable offense because it disproportionately affects young men of color in his community. Angel truly embodies social responsibility in all he does in and outside our Y. He initially came to the Y because he was required to complete community service hours, but stayed at the Y because he knew that he could never stop putting hours toward bettering his community. For these reasons and more, we awarded Angel Flores the Civic Commitment Award. 3


BACK IN SACRAMENTO: YOUTH & GOVERNMENT The WELA YMCA Delegation is in the process of developing a strong core of youth over the summer to ensure a successful program launch when the program restarts in the fall. The delegation has worked diligently to secure strong leadership and has voted in both its Vice President and President. The delegation’s Vice President will be Itzumi Gutierrez who grew up with the Y and will be entering her third year in high school and in the program this fall. The delegation’s president is Sabrina Ruiz, also a long-time Y kid and an award-winning delegate, recipient of the Rising Star in the Lobbyist Program Area. With this strong leadership deeply rooted in Y culture, the WELA Y is looking to have one of our most successful years yet in the Model Legislature and Court Program!


The Weingart East Los Angeles Board and Staff celebrated and recognized the great supCRT Dinner provides the Y an opportunity to recognize and thank its donors and friends for their contribution to a cause-driven organization. This year, 100 friends of the Y joined the celebration at Luminarias Restaurant in Monterey Park. The Weingart East Los Angeles Board and Staff are thankful and appreciative of donors and friends as they help us continue to advance our cause and impact in the East Los Angeles community. 4



DID YOU KNOW…  Drowning is the leading 

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 The last week of June saw the launch of our second "New Class" of the Youth Institute program. The group included 20 new participants and 10 returning alumni joining us for the summer of 2013. Along with staff, everyone traveled to Mammoth Lakes, CA for a Wilderness Retreat, encouraging team-building and good old fashioned camping in the great outdoors. We use this retreat as an opportunity to unplug from the city and many of the students raved about being away from the sounds of Los Angeles. Some of them were experiencing camping for the first time and we are thrilled that the Y was the place for them to do it! Starting in July and running all summer long, the group will be learning about technology through our curriculum. The emphasis is around filmmaking programs and creative applications. The summer will culminate with a film festival on Saturday, August 17, 2013. We hope many of you can join us to celebrate these young filmmakers and their films! Earlier this year, one of our youth-produced short films won Best Youth Produced Film at the 20th Anniversary of the San Diego Latino Film Festival!. The festival took place March 7-17, 2013 at the DigiPlex in Mission Valley. The selected film was titled “Latino Life” and was developed by LELA Productions, with original lyrics by Xavier Cardiel. Xavier is an upcoming songwriter and poet who wrote the song “Latino Life” as a reflection of his Boyle Heights community. Supporting Xavier Cardiel were four other youth who contributed to the production of the film: Raul Jimenez (Editor), Adaena Aviles (Graphic Designer), Erick Flores (Sound Designer) and Sandy Ahumada (Director). Congratulations, filmmakers!

cause of accidental death for children ages 1-4. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for children under 14 years of age. Children under age one most often drown in a bath tub, toilet or bucket. Drowning is a silent event. Children will rarely scream, call out or splash for help. Submersion takes less than 10 seconds. Losing consciousness takes 2 minutes. Permanent brain damage takes only 4-6 minutes. For every child who dies by drowning, another four are hospitalized. Many never recover from brain damage that occurs while they are under water. Most young children who drown in pools were last seen inside the house, had been out of sight less than 5 minutes and were in the care of one or both parents at the time of the event.

The Truth As the weather warms, more families will retreat to what has become a summer past time swimming. At the Y, we love the water and have been an advocate for safe swimming for over 100 years, as a matter of fact the Y is considered America’s favorite and FIRST swim instructor. However, we also understand that if not properly trained, the water can be a parent’s worst nightmare. Know Before You Go

Safe swimming starts with awareness. Schedule a free swim assessment at the Y to test your child’s swim ability. Visit t o learn three simple tips that could save your child’s life. Register for swim lessons at the Y. We offer classes for beginner, intermediate and advanced swimmers.

Check out YI videos at 5


BROTHERS, SONS, SELVES COALITION The Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA has been working hard, dedicating its efforts into improving the health and opportunities of students across Los Angeles and Long Beach through the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition. It was truly inspiring and motivating to see over 300 students work on marching, chanting, dancing and demanding the passage of the School Climate Bill of Rights at the Los Angeles School Board of Educators meeting on May 14, 2013. A lot of hard work went into the transformation of boys and young men into leaders in this struggle, from coming to consensus on shared goals and outcomes to engaging systems leaders and elected officials and developing/executing a communications strategy. Their most important task was organizing and mobilizing a base of students to let LAUSD know that “Every Student Matters”. With the passage of the School Climate Bill of Rights on May 14th, our youth were able to pass a policy that met their vision for ensuring a school climate that keeps students in the classroom and not out of the classroom. 6



Graduation This past 2012-2013 school year, 39 children graduated from our program. It’s been inspiring to watch the kids grow and take advantage of learning opportunities presented by the program while being supported by family every step of the way - a truly amazing experience for teachers and students alike. We are now planning for the next school year, when we will welcome 38 new kids to our Y.

Day Camp This summer, day camp will serve fifty 6-12 years-olds from the Boyle Heights community on a weekly basis. We are a very physical day camp, offering a variety of fun summer activities while teaching the children about the importance of living healthy.

Early Learning Readiness Program The Early Learning Readiness Program graduated a total of eighteen 2-5 year-olds who were supported by 15 mothers along the way. The program offers caregivers the opportunity to learn how to help children develop the necessary physical, educational and social skills necessary to be school-ready.


9TH ANNUAL HEART OF THE FAMILY LUNCHEON Our Annual Luncheon is a time to celebrate family and community, the very pillars of our mission. Every program at the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA serves to reinforce these values. This family- and community-focused approach has been the basis of our success, and the funds raised at our Annual Luncheon are central to ensuring that these successes continue. To this end, we recognize fellow Los Angeles community members and partners who have supported families and promoted our community through both their personal and professional work. We have recognized supporters such as famed former boxer Oscar de la Hoya and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Matt Barkley. As a supporter of our Y, we hope you will make plans to attend this year's event and help us spread the word through your professional and personal networks. The 9th Annual Heart of the family Award Luncheon is scheduled for October 17, 2013 at The Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. We expect 600 attendees from business, government and industry circles across greater Los Angeles. Entertainment, silent auction and a full-service lunch will accompany the awards presentation. To find out how to get involved, please visit


Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA Summer Newsletter 2013  

See your donor dollars at work in our Summer 2013 newsletter.

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