Westchester/Playa Hometown News November 2022 edition

Page 1

weessttcchheesstteerr •• ppl laayyaa ddeel l rreeyy w

maarri innaa ddeel l re reyy ppl laayyaa vvi issttaa •• m

November 2022 2022 November

Meet your local nonprofits...

page 1414 page



The market is quickly shifting and not selecting an agent with experience could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. YOUR NEXT HOME IS JUST A CALL AWAY.

8701 DELGANY AVE. #120

3 BD | 3 BA | 1,875 SQFT | $1,099,000

10100 EMPYREAN WAY #301 3 BD | 4 BA | 2,839 SQFT | $3,900,000

5625 CRESCENT PARK W #136 2 BD | 3 BA | 1,675 SQFT | $1,250,000

1160 GRANVILLE AVE. #104

2 BD | 3 BA | 1,525 SQFT | $1,199,000

7949 W 80TH ST.

4 BD | 2 BA | 2,337 SQFT | $1,650,000


6 UNITS | 14 BD | 6 BA | 4,528 SQFT | $3,295,000

Interested in selling and want to feature your home here? (424) 402-5386 Call The Suarez Team. hello@thesuarezteam.com DRE# 01428775 The Suarez Team makes no warranties or representation about the content of this flyer. This data has been secured from sources we believe to be reliable. We make no warranties, expressed or implied as to the accuracy of the information. This advertisement is not intended as a solicitation if your home is currently listed with another broker. James Scott Suarez DRE #01433992.

Page 2 • November 2022

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

This Month Brings You

help you prom help you prom nization or even e r e h T t e L nization orBe Leven ight! A look inside your HTN

Meet your local nonprofits 5 Questions With...Joe Chehade Historical Society revives holiday candle tradition NCWP Monthly Update In Pictures: YMCA Halloween Spooktacular

4 10 12 16 26


Jeff Blair, Contributing Writer Fay Craton, Contributing Writer

Shanee Edwards, Contributing Writer

About The HomeTown News (HTN)

The HomeTown News is a monthly community newspaper dedicated to providing information about the people, events and happenings of Westchester, Playa del Rey, Marina del Rey and Playa Vista. Look for the HomeTown News the first Thursday of the month at your home or at one of our drop-off locations, including: The Book Jewel, Westchester Family YMCA, Playa Pharmacy, Loyola Village Library, Playa Vista Library, Ralphs Sepulveda and Cantalini’s Salerno Beach.

Connect with the HTN:

Mailing Address: 8939 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. 110 #745 Westchester, CA 90045 • Email: westchesterhometown@yahoo.com • Website: thehtn.com • Facebook: facebook.com/thehtn • Instagram: instagram.com/thehometownnews The deadline for submissions is the 22nd of each month.

act us for rates and act us for rates and hesterhometo Front page: Leaders of local nonprofits pose for a photo at Westchester Park. Pictured clockwise from top right: Westchester Rotary President Mary Tabata; Westchester YMCA Executive Director John Loussararian; LAX Coastal Education Foundation President Lory Sarlo; AMCS President/CEO Eden Garcia-Balis; The Home EC Center Founder and Executive Director, Sydney Sonnier; and Friends of Ballona Executive Director Scott Culbertson. Photo by Zsuzsi Steiner/Zsuzsi Photography for the Hometown News.

The Westchester Town Center BID is proud to light up your holidays with the return of our popular landscaping twinkle lights. This holiday season, be sure to shop local because when you support small business, you’re supporting a

hesterhometo dream. When you support small business, you are keeping

Saturday, December 3rd

your hard-earned money in our community.

9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


us on Faceboo to-date with news and us on Faceboo A very exciting one day shopping event of handcrafted, homemade, home baked and one of a kind treasures made by local talent!

Plus Food Drive for LAX Pantry, Silent Auction & Music!

Thank you to our Gold Level Sponsors: The Book Jewel Stephanie Younger Group Enhanced Cellular Design

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

shop dine enjoy


November 2022 • Page 3

The Home Ec Center

LAX coastal Ed Foundation

Supporting the lost art of home economics & building skills for success

Supporting local schools & education

The Home EC Center was founded in 2021 with the mission to reconnect youth to a lost art and to bring home economics back into people’s lives. With an eye to the future, Co-Founder and Executive Director Sydney Sonnier, believes that home economics will prepare people with not only important basic skills, but also build responsibility and community. With classes like cake design, woodshop, sewing, budgeting, youth career programs, visual arts and more, Sonnier is excited to welcome the community to her artistic and creative space located in the Paradise Building. Q. What are some of the programs or initiatives that you’re most proud of for 2022? What are some goals for 2023? A. We are most proud of our Safe Sitters in 2022. Safe Sitter® prepares students ages 9 to 15 to be self-reliant when they’re home alone, watching younger siblings or babysitting. Our students learned life-saving skills, such as how to rescue someone choking, and used mannequins to practice choking rescue and CPR. For 2023, we are proud to relaunch our Youth Career Program starting in January. Our Youth Career Program comprises four career paths: entrepreneurship, music production, multimedia development and writing. We’ve partnered with exceptional music producers and vocal coaches, best-selling authors, publishing companies, media production companies and entrepreneurs to engage in this program, which will lead to promising developments for our scholars. Q. How is your nonprofit having an impact in Westchester/Playa and

beyond? A. The Home EC Center directly impacts Westchester/Playa by offering community collaboration and development possibilities. Our youth have the opportunity to join our youth development forums, “HeMatters” and “GirlTalk,” which are shaped around peer-to-peer discussion. Both groups offer our local youth a safe space to develop vital skills in a network of peers. HeMatters and GirlTalk are free, and participants are welcome to join all year long. We also offer opportunities for adults to network with empowering individuals in our women’s and men’s groups. Both our youth and adult groups volunteer their time once a month by partnering with local nonprofit organizations such as the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and more, to help better our community through engagement. Q. What is the best way for people to support or get involved with The Home EC Center? A. The best way to support our organization is by donations of money or time. (continued on page 24)

The LAX Coastal Education Foundation (LAXCEF) was launched in 2017 to support all schools— traditional public, private, charter and parochial—through grants, outreach and strategic partnerships. After a three-year hiatus, the nonprofit is excited to once again host the Rock Roll & Run at LMU in 2023, and will open sign-ups for 5K and 1K runners in the new year. After recently awarding STEM grants (through a partnership with SoCalGas) and art grants, the foundation is seeking new corporate partners to work with to support the 26 schools in LAXCEF’s footprint, which includes Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista and Marina del Rey. This month, LAXCEF President, Lory Sarlo, is readying to display student artwork in the Westchester Triangle as part of the foundation’s winter fundraiser to support the arts. Q. What are some of the programs or initiatives that you’re most proud of for 2022? What are some goals for 2023? A. In 2020, we started an art show and competition for the area schools for grades TK through 12. Thanks to the generous sponsors of this event, we’ve been able to offer $1,500 grants to support the arts at the foundation’s schools. We held our show and competition in March, and this fall, we were able to award a total of $12,000 to seven different schools that submitted grant applications. This competition grows each year with the number of schools participating and it is a fun opportunity for the community to see student artwork, which we display at businesses like The Book Jewel, Ayara, Tanner’s, and more. For 2023, we are most excited to be able to host the Rock Roll & Run. Save the date for March 4, 2023. We have

Photos by Zsuzsi Steiner

Q & A Q & A A

The holidays are here, and along with parties, shopping and decorating, it’s also a time to think about giving back. The Hometown News area is home to great nonprofits, and we recently connected with the leaders of some of our favorites to learn more about their organizations and how the community can get involved to support their worthwhile causes, just in time for Giving Tuesday on November 29. Read on to hear from the Executive Directors or board presidents of six groups that work every day to make a positive impact in the neighborhood and beyond.

had to pause this event due to COVID, so we can’t wait to be back at LMU to fundraise. Like at previous events, we’ll have a fun run 5K, kids’ 1K and vendor booths. This is a win/win event because each school can raise funds by signing up in-person and virtual runners. It also allows the foundation to raise money from sponsorships that we can then offer back to the schools in the form of grants in the future. Q. How is your nonprofit having an impact in Westchester/Playa and beyond? A. There are 26 schools located in the foundation’s geographical footprint. Over the past five years, we have funded more than $350,000 in grants to support crucial programs, supplies, and more. Already for this school year, we’ve handed out checks for $63,000 in STEM and art grants. This month, we’re funding more than $5,000 in transportation grants to help offset the increased cost of buses for school field trips. It is rewarding to see our schools enhance their curriculum or add an art program as a result of this needed funding. (continued on page 24)

Read about our other featured nonprofits on page 14 & page 18

Page 4 • November 2022

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

November 2022 • Page 5

Business & Nonprofit News

Photo by Zsuzsi Steiner


Support Mental Health by decorating your home for the holidays. Decorating your home for the holidays? Want to support mental health? The Westchester Mental Health Guild needs your support! The Guild’s largest fundraiser of the year is happening next month and the organization is calling all interested Westchester/Playa residents to sign up to be featured in their Third Annual Holiday Lights Tour & Contest! This year’s fundraiser will be held December 10 through 26 and participants are encouraged to go big with their decorations, inflatables and lights to wow the neighborhood. Community members can then support the fundraiser by purchasing a map of all the homes featured on the tour. With the printed or digital map, attendees can load up their car with family and friends, bring cookies and hot cocoa, and cruise through Westchester/Playa for a memorable night of viewing the area’s most beautiful holiday displays. Don’t forget to turn up your holiday music! As part of the fun, participants will get a chance to vote for a “Fan Favorite” and the homeowners have the chance to win prizes for placing first, second and third as voted by a panel of local judges. Those interested in signing up, can email info@westchestermhg.org for all the details! Another way to support the Guild this month is by registering for a cooking demonstration entitled “Spice Up Your Thanksgiving Sides.” The demonstration will be held Page 6 • November 2022

Photo courtesy Coach Azzam

The Third Annual Holiday Lights Tour & Contest encourages community members to go all out when it comes to decorating their homes for the holidays, with the winners receiving bragging rights for the year, as well as some cool prizes. Pictured: Gwen Vuchsas poses in front of her 2021 award-winning display.

Coach Ed Azzam celebrates with the Westchester High School basketball team after winning the Los Angeles City Section Championships in 2016.

virtually on Thursday, November 10 at 6:30 p.m. and is hosted by Robin Adams. Tickets are $20 and available at savorysides.eventbrite.com. Adams is a former Libby’s recipe innovator, known for her practical cooking advice. Learn more about the Guild, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, donating and volunteering, by visiting westchestermhg.org.

of high school coaches in California history with more than 900 career wins. With a record like that, there will be no slipping off to a quiet retirement. Alumni want to name the school’s gym after him, and toward that end, they will be holding a fundraiser on November 12 at the Playa Vista CenterPointe Club. Tickets to the event are $125, and proceeds will go towards installing new signage and display cases in the gym’s foyer. The keynote speaker will be former Lakers’ head coach Jerry West. Tickets can be purchased at comets4life.com/azzam-1. Visit our website at thehtn.com for an online exclusive article on Coach Azzam’s legacy and event details!

Check out “9 to 5 The Musical” at the Westchester Playhouse. Just in time for the holiday season, “9 to 5 The Musical” will open on Friday, November 11 at the Westchester Playhouse. Performances will be held through Saturday, December 10 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Matinee performances will be held on Saturday and Sundays at 2 p.m. The musical is based on the hit 1980 movie starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, and tells the story about three workmates pushed to a boiling point by their sexist and egotistical boss. Outrageously funny and thought-provoking, this musical is about friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era. Reserved seat tickets are $27 with a $2 discount for seniors and students. Tickets can be purchased at kentwoodplayers.org or by calling (310) 645-5156. The Westchester Playhouse is located at 8301 Hindry Ave. in Westchester.

Community invited to Friendsgiving Festival. The Westchester Senior Center is holding a Friendsgiving Festival luncheon on Saturday, November 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. During the event, lunch will be provided by the NCWP, and attendees Westchester High alumni can also enjoy games, entertainment ready to host gym renaming and fellowship. All ages are welcome fundraiser for Coach Azzam. to attend. Coaching legend Ed Azzam The Westchester Senior Center retired last year from coaching the is located at 8740 Lincoln Blvd. in boys’ varsity team at Westchester Westchester. For more information, High School after 42 storied years please call (310) 649-3319. comprising 933 wins and 285 losses. (continued on next page) That made him one of only a handful Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

A rendering of what Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital will look like once the build of the new nine-story hospital is completed in 2026.

Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey announces support for local organizations. Cedars-Sinai recently announced that it has awarded $4 million in grants to dozens of organizations in local communities around CedarsSinai Marina del Rey Hospital. The grants were part of a record $36.5 million Cedars-Sinai gave to more than 200 organizations in Los Angeles during their fiscal year. The funding helps community-based nonprofits realize their critical mission of improving life and health for all, said Joanne Laguna-Kennedy, Vice President and COO of CedarsSinai Marina del Rey Hospital. “We are committed to supporting our local community both inside and outside the walls of our hospital,” said Laguna-Kennedy. “Just like the construction of our new, state-of-theart Marina del Rey Hospital, these grants demonstrate our dedication to the patients and community we serve.” As part of its goal to enhance civic engagement, Cedars-Sinai granted more than $1.8 million to community-based organizations, including the proposed Lulu’s Place, which is being planned for

Accepting new clients to train in my garage gym in Playa del Rey with state-of-the-art equipment, in your home or at a local park. With a decade of personal training experience and a doctorate degree in physical therapy, I’d love to help you achieve your fitness goals!

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News Courtesy Cedars-Sinai

Decron Properties is a diversified real estate company Contact Contact us us today today to to schedule schedule aatour tour at atour our specializing in the acquisition, development, and fantastic fantastic apartment apartment communities: communities: Playa Playadel delOro, Oro, Playa Playa Pacifica Pacifica and and Playa Playa Marina! Marina! management of multifamily luxury apartment buildings. When you choose a Decron apartment, you’ll find top-tier Visit our website website to to view view our our Career CareerOpportunities Opportunities services and amenities.

Contact us todaytoday to schedule a tour at our Contact to schedule a tour at o Contact us today us to schedule a tour at our DECRON PROPERTIES DECRON PROPERTIES fantastic apartment communities: Playa del Oro, apartment communities: fantastic fantastic apartment communities: Playa delPlaya Oro, del DECRON DECRON PROPERTIES PROPERTIES Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! Playaand Pacifica and Playa Marina! Playa Pacifica Marina! Contact us today to Playa schedule a tour at our Contact us today to schedule a tour at our DECRON PROPERTIES fantastic apartment communities: Playa del Contact Contact us us today today to to schedule schedule a tour a tour atOro, at our o fantastic apartment communities: PlayaOpportunitie del Oro, PROPERTIES VisitDECRON our website to view ourPROPERTIES Career Visit ourto website to view our Career Opportu DECRON PROPERTIES DECRON Visit ourfantastic website view our Career Opportunities Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! fantastic apartment apartment communities: communities: Playa Playa delde Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! and join our team! and joindynamic our dynamic team! and join our dynamic team! Contact us today to schedule a tour at our Playa Playa Pacifica Pacifica and and Playa Playa Marina! Marina! Contact usContact today tous schedule tour our tour Contact us today to schedule a at tour ourat today toaschedule DECRON PROPERTIES fantastic apartment communities: Playa delaat Oro, DECRON PROPERTIES Visit our website to view our Career Opportunitie Visit our website to view our Career Opportunities fantastic apartment communities: Playa del Oro, DECRON PROPERTIES fantastic apartment communities: Playa del Oro, fantastic apartment communities: Playa d Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! and joinand our dynamic team! DECRON PROPERTIES Visit Visit our our website website to to view view our our Career Career Opportuni Opport and join our dynamic team! Playa Pacifica Playa Marina! Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! DECRON PROPERTIES Contact us today to schedule a tour at ou Contact us today to schedule a tour our and and join join our our dynamic team! DECRON PROPERTIES Contact us today to schedule adynamic tour at atteam! our fantastic apartment communities: Playa del Visit our website to view our Career Opportunities fantastic apartment communities: Playa del Contact us today to schedule aOro, tour DECRON PROPERTIES Visit our DECRON website to view our Career Opportunities fantastic apartment communities: Playa del Oro, Contact us today to schedule aCareer tour at ourat o DECRON PROPERTIES Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! PROPERTIES Visit our website to view our Career Opportunitie Visit our website to view our Opport and join our dynamic team! Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! fantastic apartment communities: de Contact us today tocommunities: schedule a tour at Playa our and join our dynamic Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! fantastic apartment Playa del Oro andPlaya join our dynamic team! and join ourteam! dynamic team! DECRON PROPERTIES Pacifica and Playa Marina! Contact us today to schedule a tour at ou fantastic apartment communities: Playa del Oro, Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! Contact us today toschedule schedule atour tour atour our Contact us today to aour at Visit our website to view Career Opportu DECRON PROPERTIES DECRON PROPERTIES fantastic apartment communities: Playa Visit our website to view our Career Opportunities Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! DECRON PROPERTIES fantastic apartment communities: Playadel del Oro, del Visit ourContact website to view our Career Opportunities fantastic apartment communities: Playa Oro, and join our dynamic team! us today to schedule a tour at our Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! and join our dynamic team! Visit our website to view our Career Opport Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! and join ourus dynamic team! Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! Visit our website to view our Career Opportunitie Contact today to schedule a tour at o fantastic apartment communities: Playa del Oro, Contact us today to schedule a tour at our Contact us today to schedule a tour at our and join our dynamic team! Visit our DECRON website to view our Careerteam! Opportunities PROPERTIES and join our dynamic fantastic apartment communities: Playa del Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! fantastic apartment communities: Playa del Oro fantastic apartment communities: Playa delOpportu Oro, Visit our website to view our Career and join our dynamic team! DECRON PROPERTIES Visitour ourwebsite website to view our Career Opportunities Visit to view our Career Opportunities Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! DECRON PROPERTIES DECRON PROPERTIES Playa Pacifica anddynamic Playa Marina! Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! and join our team! Contact us today to schedule a tour at our andjoin join ourdynamic dynamic team! and our team! Visit our website to view our Career Opportunities Contact us today to schedule a tourOro, at o fantastic apartment communities: Playa Contact usand today toour schedule aour tour atDECRON.C our DECR Contact us today to schedule aDECRON.COM tour atdel our Visit our website to view Career Opportu join dynamic team! Visit our website to view our Career Opportunitie fantastic apartment communities: Playa del Visit our website to view our Opportunities Playa Pacifica andCareer PlayaPlaya Marina! fantastic apartment communities: del Oro, fantastic apartment communities: Playa del Oro, and joindynamic ourand dynamic team! and join our team! Playa Pacifica Playa Marina! and join our dynamic team! Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! Playa Pacifica and Playa Marina! DECRON.C DECRON.COM Visit our website to view our Career Opportunities Visit our website to view our Career Opportu DECRO DECR andtojoin our dynamic team! Visit ourour website view our Career Opportunities Visit website to view our Career Opportunities and join our dynamic team! and joinjoin ourour dynamic team! and dynamic team! DECRON.COM



For housing or career opportunities, visit us at Decron.com

and and join join our our dynamic dynamic team! team!

Westchester’s LAX Northside area. Lulu’s Place’s received $1.25 million for the first year of a $5 million commitment, to develop a nonprofit youth center providing educational, sports and wellness programming at little or no cost with a focus on lowincome and disadvantaged youth. Other organizations that received grants include The People Concern in Marina del Rey to support their health equity work, with a focus on workforce development; AMCS to build capacity and the Mar Vista Family Center to establish a community wellness garden. “This year’s grants to the community surrounding Marina del Rey Hospital are helping set the stage for deeper investments in new areas such as youth homelessness and economic mobility,” said Erin Jackson-Ward, Cedars-Sinai Community Benefit Giving Office director. “We look forward to supporting our community partners in further advancing their efforts in those areas.” Have info to share about your business or nonprofit? Email us at westchesterhometown@yahoo.com for a chance to be featured.



From our farmers' market family to yours, wishing everyone a beautiful Thanksgiving! Swing by for all your fixings and we'll be OPEN Thanksgiving weekend!


November 2022 • Page 7

Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association

Help Us Beautify Westchester! WSIA is a grassroots nonprofit. For over two decades, we have been dedicated to making Westchester safer, greener, and more inviting to its residents, visitors, and businesses. Please help us with our continued efforts by: • Donating funds to maintain improved sidewalks, landscaping, and medians • Participating in marketing and fundraising • Sponsoring a tree! We’ve planted hundreds of young, healthy trees and each transforms the air quality and beauty of Westchester For more information on how you can help beautify Westchester, scan the QR code below.


We are a 501C3 nonprofit To Donate: https://www.westchesterstreetscape.org 8726 South Sepulveda Blvd, Suite D #1621 Los Angeles, California 90045 (Tax ID # 90-0080493)

Page 8 • November 2022 WSIA-Hometown-FullPg-002.indd 1


Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News 10/28/22 4:56 PM

Contact us if you need help!

Fall is here!

Have you booked your family photoshoot yet? Your kids grow up so fast. Capture every moment and cherish forever.

Just Steps Away From It All! AIRPORT OFFICE CENTER

Affordable! Convenient! Walkable!

• Have lunch delivered by our onsite Café • Run down to the ATM or many local banks to do your banking • Pick up a couple of items at Ralphs/CVS • Take your pet to Westchester Veterinary Service • Pick up animal necessities at Petco, vitamins at GNC, get a car wash or select from a myriad of shopping and food choices all within an easy walk (424) 312-1513 Contact Rena Singh Email: Rena@DrollingerProperties.com





Karen Dial, President 310.417.8048 310.417.8048 www.drollingerproperties.com







Book Your Session Today!

Family Mini Sessions

$85 / 20 Minutes / 3 Images Included

October - December

Marianne Pellin Photography mariannepellinphotography.com mp@mariannepellinphotography.com

8929 S. S. Sepulveda SepulvedaBoulevard, Boulevard,#130 #130 8929 Westchester, CA CA 90045 90045

w w w. D ro l l i n g e r P ro p e r t i e s. c o m Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

November 2022 • Page 9

5 QUESTIONS WITH... Joe Chehade ROBIN ZACHA Joe was born in Ethiopia to Egyptian parents and shortly after, the family moved to Lebanon. Joe loved growing up there, but was deeply impacted when a war broke out in his country. Inspired to make a difference, he began leading peace efforts, first as his university’s student council president, then with the Red Cross and Youths for a United World. While volunteering with that organization, Joe would meet his wife, May, and the two recently celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary. After having children, the two made the difficult decision to move to the U.S. to be closer to family. Moving to Westchester seemed like the perfect destination since he already had a brother that lived in the neighborhood. Luckily, Joe was able to find a house only a few minutes away, and he’s loved being able to raise his three children– now adults–here and being part of the Westchester/Playa community. Joe worked for decades as a pharmacist at big chain stores, but in 2008, he took

a chance and decided to open his own neighborhood pharmacy so he could better care for his community. While riding his bike along Manchester Ave. he noticed a “for lease” sign and for the last 14 years, Joe has served his neighbors at Playa Pharmacy. Running a business is not always easy, but he is honored to be able to be PdR’s local pharmacist, and listen, help and educate his clients on ways to be healthy. While Joe has continued his international volunteer work with organizations like Global Health Force and Crutches4Africa, these days he’s happy to be volunteering closer to home as the president of the Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club, where he previously served as Peace Chair. His favorite projects include feeding those in need at the Midnight Mission and the holiday adopt-a-family program to support the Mar Vista Family Center.


For nearly his entire life, Joe Chehade has been advocating for peace and looking for ways to bring people together for a common purpose and understanding.

“I’m always looking for peace,” said Joe. “I try to always say, ‘let’s be family.’ It might sound silly, but it works and helps change people’s perspectives on things.” We recently sat down with Joe and asked him to share his thoughts, so here is “5 Questions With...Joe!”


If you’re looking for the perfect evening out, where are you going?


What’s one local spot you couldn’t live without?

3 4

What do you tell people that are new to the area about Westchester/Playa?


If you were the Mayor or a member of the City Council what is the first challenge you’d tackle?

Since we’re lucky to live near the ocean, any perfect evening has to end there! First, we’d go to Playa’s Pita in Playa del Rey and chat with the owner Claude. Then we’d order chicken kebab for my wife May, falafel for me, and tabouleh, hummus and baba ghanouj. Then, we’d head to Toes Beach and the Ballona Pier to watch the last boats as they return to dock and catch the sunset!

The Bluffs Creek Trail between Playa Vista and Westchester is nature “in our backyard,” and located within minutes from our home and work. We go there for meditative walks, to forget our worries, and meet like-minded neighbors. Our dog Cashew loves it too, and meets many friends on the way! We watch birds and enjoy beautiful views of the entire city from the ocean, all the way to Downtown L.A.

I would tell them that they get the best of both worlds: close enough to everything L.A. can offer and a close-knit community that welcomes them, just like the theme song of the old “Cheers” sitcom says: ”Sometimes you want to go…where everybody knows your name.”

What’s a local organization you’d like to give a shout-out to?

Of course, the Rotary Club of Playa Venice where I’m currently serving as the club’s President! We are a vibrant group of diverse community members and leaders. Rotary’s motto is “Service above Self,” so we take action to create lasting change in ourselves, in our communities and across the globe. We do this while having fun and creating many opportunities for fellowship. One program dear to my heart happens during the holidays. We “adopt” numerous families in our community, and we ensure the families’ holiday wishes come true and become a reality. We also provide everyday necessities that many of us take for granted. Our club meets on Wednesday mornings for breakfast. I’m inviting everyone who wants to make a difference and make lifelong friends, to be my guest! Email me at joe.chehade@gmail.com and check our website playavenice.org. If you are not a morning person, consider becoming one or join our neighboring Westchester Rotary Club. They meet at lunch and more info is at rotary-westchester.com.

I would write legislation to create more small green spaces for families to meet in a healthy environment and to encourage us to be less isolated in our homes and backyards. By the same token, I would demand new apartment complexes to be less crowded and offer more space and common areas for people to meet.

Page 10 • November 2022

Cool Fact

Cool Fact

Joe can speak four languages: Arabic, French, Italian and English.

Joe and his wife, May, mentor married couples and offer advice.

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

Spotlight on Playa Vista


County Line Florals was founded by actor/producer Abigail Spencer in homage to her father – five-time US Champion and legendary surfer, Yancy Spencer III – who died suddenly of a heart attack while surfing County Line at the Malibu/ Ventura border on Valentine’s Day, 2011. Each floral offering telegraphs her Dad’s parting message to her: “you’re easy to love.” Using flowers as a means of storytelling, County Line Florals sets out to change the way people think about flowers. No longer a special occasion splurge: fresh flowers can be an everyday luxury that reminds us to take care of ourselves, each other & the earth. A true fashion and floral house, our approach as a concierge experience provides a unique, exciting, and elevated floral adventure. Each of our collections is full of soulful, seasonal, blooms & bouquets. It’s never too early to plan your holiday florals. Contact their Floristas for concierge designs and custom tablescape offerings now at hello@countylinefloralscom!

6030 Seabluff #112 Offered $2,199,000 3 Bed | 3 Bath | 2,005 SF

Kris Zacuto kris.zacuto@compass.com kriszacuto.com DRE 01972897

Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. License Number 01991628. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only and is compiled from sources deemed reliable but has not been verified. Changes in price, condition, sale or withdrawal may be made without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footage are approximate.

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

November 2022 • Page 11

Historical Society revives holiday candle tradition

Community members get creative in making their holiday candles at a workshop hosted by the historical society and led by board member Grant Francis. This month, the WPHS is also holding a raffle to win one of the decorations as part of its fundraising efforts.

By Cozette Vergari

displays started in the 1950s by two men that lived on Chase Avenue who were inspired to build the candles It’s all about candles and thanks to the idea of a young paper community this month! The delivery boy. They created candles for Westchester/Playa Historical their neighbors that stood six-feet Society (WPHS) has been hosting tall and, early on, their street became Holiday Candle Making Workshops known as Candle Lane, which drew since September, and the final one busloads of “tourists” to see the of the season is being held midNovember. WPHS Board Member holiday wonderland. Over the years, and community leader, Grant Francis, the decorations spread far and wide has been leading the activity and throughout the community and were receiving rave reviews from the the pride of Westchester during the participants. During the 2.5 hour holidays. As part of the tradition, if building session, attendees have been you sold your house, the candle was able to construct their very own supposed to stay at the same address. nearly five-foot candle with a working While there are a few of the original light, which they then took home to candles still put up each year on paint red or blue. The candles will be area streets, the WPHS is excited to displayed in their front yards, just in help more than a dozen Westchester time for the holidays. residents, some new and some For the WPHS, the goal is to honor longtime locals, have a chance to be part of the “candle club.” and resurrect the holiday candle If you’ve always wanted a holiday tradition. Due to the community’s candle, but didn’t have a chance to interest and feedback about wanting to make these nostalgic participate this year, the historical decorations, the historical society society is holding a raffle giveaway for had the opportunity to host a creative one lucky winner. The drawing will fundraiser, which was totally sold out be held on December 5 at the WPHS board meeting. For more information, this year. please contact cozetterotary5280@ According to legend, the candle

gmail.com. The winner will receive, in time for display this season, a red or blue candle and a fully assembled lighting kit. The WPHS will hold the fundraiser again in 2023. To show off the candles and the handy skills of the workshop attendees, the WPHS and the Westchester Mental Health Guild will be collaborating for the Guild’s Third Annual Holiday Lights Tour taking place in December. Some of the candles will be included on the tour map so community members can admire the work of their fellow neighbors! The Holiday Lights Tour is the Guild’s winter fundraiser and the proceeds support the efforts of Airport Marina Counseling Service in its two-fold mission to provide affordable, community-based mental health services and to train mental health therapists. If you would like more information or wish to support the Guild’s event, please email info@westchestermhg. org. Donations are tax-deductible. The WPHS’ Discovery Center is located at 6207 W. 87th St. and is open Sunday mornings during the Westchester Farmers’ Market, or by

appointment, through November 20. Come in and enjoy the current exhibit on maps. Thereafter, through the end of the year, the Discovery Center will be closed for renovation and will reopen in January 2023. In the new year, we will back offering small group tours and bookings for special events. As we head into the holiday season, I wish to acknowledge and thank the Westchester/Playa Historical Society board members and donors who make our existence possible. We are so thankful to our donors and have acknowledged each of them on our website. Please visit wphistoricalsociety.org/ support for more info and to support our organization. Cozette is an attorney and lifelong resident of Westchester. She is the President of the Westchester/Playa Historical Society. Together with a group of dedicated volunteers, the organization is working on creating new programming and events to celebrate the history of the area and engage the community in preserving it for future generations.

YOUTH CAREER PROGRAM Our mission is to Your child has the choice from our reconnect the youth with range of programs: lost art and bring home economics back into our Entrepreneurship, Multimedia, Author and Music. lives to help better our These programs will provide students with diverse future. classes and real life experiences and skills. Not only will your children leave us more prepared for their future, they also will be walking way with actual businesses, books, films and more!

Scan to find out more info about our programs

Page 12 • November 2022

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

November 2022 • Page 13

Friends of ballona

Supporting mental health and training therapists

Supporting the wetlands through education, restoration, and more

Taking care of your mental health has always been important, but as we come out of the pandemic, the need to focus on mental health has reached critical levels. While Westchester’s Airport Marina Counseling Service (AMCS) has served the community for more than 60 years, for the first time in the nonprofit’s history there’s a waitlist for individual therapy. For Executive Director Eden Garcia-Balis, the good news is that people are seeking help and treatment. Thankfully, after two-plus years of offering telehealth sessions, the clinic recently reopened for in-person therapy, giving people an option on how they’d like to receive counseling. AMCS also offers a variety of monthly therapy groups that deal with topics like “Women’s Process Group,” “Men’s Support Group” and “Emerging Adults.” Today, AMCS serves hundreds of individuals, children, families and couples weekly, with the services provided on a sliding-scale basis. Q. What are some of the programs or initiatives that you’re most proud of for 2022? What are some goals for 2023? A. What I am most proud of for 2022 are the new partnerships AMCS has formed with other organizations in the community. AMCS identified the homeless as a population that was not serviced by the clinic and quickly developed a partnership with The People Concern (TPC). AMCS now provides group therapy at a transitional living program, and the residents really enjoy the groups, reporting how much they appreciate a space to process life events and the feelings that come along with that. Our goal is to offer these groups at TPC’s other transitional living programs, as well. Equally important is our newly formed partnership with the Westchester Family YMCA. Every three years, Kaiser Permanente conducts a Community Health Needs Assessment according to different service areas. Its last assessment identified youth mental health as an area of focus in our service area. The YMCA developed a task force to address this issue and invited AMCS to the table, and therapy groups for youth at the YMCA were born! Partnering with the YMCA enabled AMCS to more effectively reach out to teens who need critical mental health services and might not otherwise receive them. During the pilot program, it became clear that many youths were suffering in silence, meaning they were more prone to suicide. Four out of 11 youths reported having suicidal thoughts, and they were quickly connected to more intensive services. I am proud to report that the suicidal Page 14 • November 2022

ideation was no longer present after the group sessions concluded. Goals for 2023 include expanding programming to meet the needs of our community. The pandemic wreaked havoc on everyone’s mental health and AMCS is busier than ever. AMCS developed a strategic plan, and the pandemic has changed things so much that instead of simply following the plan, we are paying close attention to the shifting health landscape and recalibrating accordingly. Q. How is AMCS having an impact in Westchester/Playa and beyond? A. The sole purpose of AMCS is to make it easy and reduce barriers for the Westchester/Playa community to access mental health services. To do that, we provide services seven days a week, so that regardless of your school/work schedule, you can find a convenient time to attend therapy. In addition, service fees are on a sliding scale based on gross income so that the cost of therapy isn’t an issue. We found a silver lining with the pandemic: through telehealth, we can provide mental health services to anyone in California! Q. What is the best way for people to support or get involved with your organization? A. The best way to get involved with our organization is to support our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Spring into Well-Being Celebration, by coming to the event, sponsoring the event, or participating in the silent auction. The next Spring Celebration is scheduled for May 18, 2023. AMCS has a fundraising arm, the Westchester Mental Health Guild. Their sole mission is to raise funds to support the programming at AMCS, and they have monthly “fun-”draisers that are truly that! Some are virtual, while others are in-person. To learn more about the Guild and the events it has planned, please visit westchestermhg.org. (continued on page 24)

For the Friends of Ballona Wetlands it’s all about education, restoration and advocacy. According to Executive Director Scott Culbertson, the coastal wetlands are an often-overlooked ecosystem that are incredibly important for the future of our planet. Not only do coastal wetlands capture and store three to five times more carbon than tropical rainforests, they also filter and recharge groundwater, and they will be incredibly important to help combat sea level rise. As L.A.’s last coastal wetland, Ballona is a refuge for wildlife and the public to experience and create a connection to nature in a dense metropolitan area. Q. What are some of the programs or initiatives that you’re most proud of for 2022? What are some of the goals for 2023? A. 2022 has been a year of growth for the Friends of Ballona Wetlands. We’ve been extremely fortunate to have received incredible support throughout the pandemic. In 2022, our education team worked tirelessly to engage with students through field trips, in-class lessons and summer camp, resulting in more than 5,000 interactions with students, which are similar numbers from before the pandemic. Our education team also piloted a new program for teens called E.C.O. (Environmental Careers and Occupations) Quest. This program aims to introduce career opportunities in the environmental field to underrepresented and BIPOC youth. By the end of the program, we saw that 44 percent of participants showed an increase in environmental career knowledge, and 55 percent of participants had an increased interest in pursuing an environmental career. We look forward to implementing new lessons and methods to enhance our program in 2023; however, we are very pleased with the data we collected from our first class of E.C.O. Quest Explorers! This year alone, our restoration team and more than 1,300 interns and volunteers removed more than 31 tons of non-native plants and planted 630 new plants in our hand-restoration projects on the Ballona Wetlands. The Friends host Community Restoration Events three times a month, and our restoration team of staff, interns and volunteers are out on the wetlands almost every day of the week, working tirelessly to improve the habitat as much as we can manage with our small team. These efforts ultimately support the largescale restoration that California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is currently working towards. In 2023, we will continue to expand

the federally endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly’s habitat by planting 200 more Seacliff Buckwheat on the ecological reserve, with hope that with more plants, more butterflies will show up next summer! Make sure to look for our Celebration of the Blues event next year for a chance to observe this little blue butterfly up close! Not only has the generosity of our constituents allowed us to continue to provide educational opportunities and push our restoration efforts forward, but our donors have also paved the way for the Friends to expand our staff by two! Adding two new staff members will expand our capacity to reach more diverse communities and specifically connect with more young people in underrepresented regions. Q. How is your nonprofit having an impact in Westchester/Playa and beyond? A. Since our founding in 1978, the Friends have advocated for the preservation and restoration of the Ballona Wetlands. We continue to educate the community and restore the Ballona Wetlands. Our environmental education program, “Explore Ballona!,” provides programming to K through 12 students from throughout greater Los Angeles. Local participating schools include Playa Vista Elementary, WISH Charter, Paseo Del Rey Natural Science Magnet, St. Bernard High School, St. Anastasia School, Westside Neighborhood School, and more. In 2022, the Friends had more than 5,000 student interactions, and we hope that these students will become lifelong stewards of nature. The Friends impact does not only affect Westchester and Playa del Rey, but also all Angelenos. According to the State of the State’s Wetlands Report, scientists have found that 90 percent of wetland habitat in California has been lost, and in Southern California, more than 95 percent of wetland habitats have been lost due to development. (continued on page 24)

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

Photos by Zsuzsi Steiner


“Real estate, like life, is all about getting the details right.”

8116 RAYFORD DRIVE 3 BED | 2 BATH | $1,649,000


8036 CAMPION DRIVE 4 BED | 3 BATH | $1,899,000

stephanieyounger.com 3720 HUGHES AVENUE, UNIT 10 3 BED | 3 BATH | $749,200

Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. License Number 01991628. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only and is compiled from sources deemed reliable but has not been verified. DRE 01365696

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

November 2022 • Page 15

NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL OF WESTCHESTER / PLAYA Working together to improve our communities!

“If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.” CWP~ Plato

Your Emergency Preparedness Guide for Westchester /Playa Hurricane Ian’s impact on the residents of Florida is a stark reminider that we must all be ready for an emergency. This emergency preparation guide was created by NCWP board member Gregg Aniolek when he was chair of of the Public Safety Committee. You can’t predict but you can prepare. In a crisis, help will be delayed and you and your family will need to rely on yourself to survive in the meantime. For more information on emergency preparedness, please visit www.ready.gov

Next Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa Board Meeting:

6:30 p.m., Tuesday, December 6, 2022 via Zoom

www.ncwpdr.org • 213.473.7023 Page 16 • November 2022

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

The Westside’s Favorite Real Estate Team Honored toto bebe voted Honoredand andgrateful grateful voted a Estate Team on on a Favorite FavoriteReal Real Estate Team the Angeles. the Westside WestsideofofLos Los Angeles. Thanks and fans! Thanksto toour ourclients clients and fans!

Your trusted Realtor for 17+ years. years. today at at 310.951.0416. 310.951.0416. Call Amy today

Amy Nelson Frelinger Realtor® | |DRE# Realtor® DRE#01484711 01484711

M 310.951.0416 amy.frelinger@elliman.com


There’s a better way to do high school. Vistamar prepares students with the skills they need to excel in college & life.

Join us at an open house:

Dec. 10

Learn more at vistamarschool.org/admissions Follow us @vistamarschool

VM 2022 Hometown news 10x6.75 Dec2.indd 1 Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

10/26/22 10:29 AM November 2022 • Page 17

Westchester Family YMCA

Supporting Westchester’s organizations, events & projects

Supporting healthy living & social responsibility

Since 1950, the Westchester Rotary Club has been supporting the community and making a difference in 90045. Perhaps best known for its Makeover Project, which has made big improvements over the years at local homes, the Westchester Senior Center, the Westchester Townhouse, Safe Place for Youth in Venice and the Emerson Avenue Community Garden, the club and its members, are always on the lookout for new projects. This year, Westchester Rotary is led by President Mary Tabata, who is excited to be at the helm of the 50plus member club and inspire fellow do-gooders to roll up their sleeves, volunteer their time and “imagine a whole new world” by sharing little acts of kindness. Q. What are some of the programs or initiatives that you’re most proud of for 2022? What are some goals for 2023? A. In 2022, we were able to use some of our funds to help AYSO Region 7 work on the turf for Nielsen Field, which we’re thrilled to share has been renamed Westchester Rotary Field! We were also so excited to bring back our Memorial Day Book Sale, which we’ve hosted for 67 years. It’s our largest fundraiser where we sell thousands of books to support our projects in the community. Likewise, we were happy to have pumpkin decorating at WAM and be a sponsor of that great event. For upcoming projects, we have identified St. Margaret’s Center in Lennox as our 2022-23 Makeover Project recipient! I can’t wait to see the impact we can make there. In the new year, we are also partnering with some of the Westchester schools to help with their green space and beautification efforts, as well as supporting literacy efforts. Q. How is your nonprofit having an impact in Westchester/Playa and beyond? A. In addition to everything I’ve already mentioned, we host and chaperone students for a spring shopping spree. We were recently honored by the L.A. Metropolitan YMCA for our cumulative giving to the Westchester Y. We also support the food pantry

Check out these other great Westchester/ Playa organizations: Page 18 • November 2022

and other initiatives there. Internationally, we support a literacy project and school in Guatemala, a school for girls in Malawi, clean water projects in Kenya, a school in Thailand, and “Floating Doctors” who provide primary medical care in the islands of Panama. In 2023, we will be providing funding for a solar project in Belize! As you can see, we like to help and support many important projects! Q. What is the best way for people to support or get involved with your organization? A. Come visit us at our meetings! We meet almost every Wednesday from 12:10 to 1:10 p.m. at the Westchester Townhouse on Emerson Ave. We also have a young professionals group that meets regularly. We have a lot of great, diverse members that are all interested in making a difference in the community and beyond. We all love volunteering and helping our community! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to learn more, and to see us in action. Q. What’s the number one thing the community should know about the Westchester Rotary Club? A. We are a very friendly club that is community-minded. If you have a project that you think would be of interest to us, please let us know! Learn more at rotary-westchester. com or scan the QR code at right:

• Food Pantry LAX: foodpantrylax.org • Grass Roots Neighbors: Grassrootsneighbors.org • Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary: playavenice.org • SOFESA: sofesa.org • Westside Pacific Villages: thewpv.org • Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association: westchesterstreetscape.org

If you’re not following all the projects, events and initiatives that are going on at your local YMCA, you’re missing out! Sure, there’s gym facilities, open swim, and exercise classes, but the Y is more than a gym, and the nonprofit really shines when it comes to building community and responding to the needs of the neighborhood. For families, check out their Adventure Guides Program; for volunteer opportunities, ask about stocking the Y’s Food Pantry; for teens, there’s Youth and Government; and everyone is invited to stop by Wednesdays from 2 to 4 p.m. for fresh produce and canned goods through their partnership with the FeedLA program. The YMCA is led by Executive Director John Loussararian, who leads a dedicated staff and volunteer team that is passionate about supporting the community, building new partnerships and being a resource for health and wellness. Q. What are some of the programs or initiatives that you’re most proud of for 2022? What are some goals for 2023? A. Over the past couple of years, I am proud of our board and staff’s focus on responding to our community’s most critical needs. At the height of the pandemic, we served the daily essential needs of our unhoused neighbors; worked alongside our schools in supporting the distance learning challenges faced by our students and their families; empowered our Youth & Government delegates in grappling with complex societal challenges through our “Finding Common Ground” seminar series, and the list goes on. As we emerge from the challenges brought on by COVID, we recognize that our youth and families were impacted the greatest. To that end, I am excited by our board’s commitment in responding to the residual effects brought on and/or amplified by the pandemic, including the social-emotional wellbeing of our youth and teens; the learning recovery of our students, and creating opportunities for families to strengthen relationships between parent/child, as well as building new friendships with other families in our community. Q. How is your nonprofit having an impact in Westchester/ Playa and beyond? A. Thanks to our continued partnership with the Drollinger Family Charitable Foundation, we have relaunched our Youth Yoga Program in support of the students at nine partnering schools in building resilience and coping skills through mindfulness

Photos by Zsuzsi Steiner

Westchester rotary

activities. We are also working with four local schools where our coaches are providing PE programming during the school day; and one local school where we provide an after school enrichment program. We are serving 3,200 students on 14 school campuses to respond to the health and well-being, mental health and learning recovery needs of our students. We have also relaunched our Adventure Guides program, which aims to facilitate positive lifelong memories for parents and children, while building bonds among families through various monthly activities. During the Safer-at-Home days, we had three families that kept the program on life support, and I am proud to report we now have more than 110 participating in the program! Q. What is the best way for people to support or get involved with your organization? A. There are two great ways to get involved. Join our YMCA through signing up for a membership or contribute through our online giving portal, ymcaLA.org/wcgive. One hundred percent of your contribution will directly support our Y’s response to the needs of our community. Q. What’s the number one thing the community should know about the Westchester Family YMCA? A. The YMCA is a charitable nonprofit organization committed to strengthening the foundations of community through programs that support youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We invite our community to join our efforts in supporting our neighbors through volunteerism and our year-round philanthropic efforts! Learn more at ymcala.org/ westchester or scan the QR code at right:

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

THANK YOU to our advertisers and

community partners for supporting this publication! Robin Zacha, Zacha Homes Drollinger Properties Stephanie Younger Group | Compass Jane St. John | RE/MAX Neighborhood Council Westchester/Playa Loyola Marymount University Westchester Town Center BID Airport Marina Counseling Service St. Anastasia School Visitation School Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos, LLP Amy Nelson Frelinger Douglas Elliman Properties SoCalSport & Fitness Kris Zacuto | Compass Los Angeles World Airports Tatiana Ruiz More Covered by More UCLA Health

Westchester Rotary Club Westchester Family YMCA The Book Jewel The Suarez Team Decron Properties LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce The Home EC Center

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

November 2022 • Page 19

Random Notes/Opinion Need fitness motivation? Try these tips

By Jeff Blair

Opinion: Have you ever thought to yourself, “If only I had the motivation to work out like my neighbor (friend, sister, etc.), things would sure be a lot easier. I just cannot find the motivation to work out consistently!” Maintaining motivation is one of the most common fitness challenges. This month, I am going to discuss four strategies that can help you with fitness motivation. 1. Some days I feel like working out and some days I do not. Relying on emotions can be tricky. Exercise motivation can come and go. At least, it does for me. I believe in committing to structures rather than hoping my emotions pull me into the gym. An example of a structure would be committing to another person that you will meet them for an exercise session. This works for a simple reason: we do not want to let other people down. If we tell someone we are going to meet them, we are just more likely to make it than when no one is waiting for us. Studies also show we will give a greater effort when we exercise with another person. We can also benefit psychologically through conversation and personal support. Exercise classes at a gym are another structure that can

help people’s motivation, especially when you personally know the other class members or the teacher. Of course, personal trainers are probably the most obvious example of an exercise commitment structure. If you pay for an appointment with a personal trainer, the likelihood of you showing up greatly increases. 2. Temptation bundling means if we pair something we like to do with something we need to do, we are more likely to do the thing we need to do. If you really enjoy listening to a particular type of music, but also know you should exercise, consider listening to that type of music when you exercise. If you want to really get motivated, allow yourself to listen to that type of music only when you exercise. This “temptation” approach can greatly enhance exercise motivation. When I was in graduate school, I allowed myself to watch sports only when exercising on some type of cardio machine. This strategy got me to do something I needed to do (cardio) by pairing it with something I enjoyed doing (watching sports on TV). Watching movies is another “temptation” strategy that has been paired with exercise to increase motivation.

3. Starting an exercise program can pose the largest motivational obstacle for most people. For many different reasons, simply going for a walk or stepping into a gym can feel like climbing Mt. Everest for some. My top recommendation to overcome these mental obstacles is to reduce your definition of an exercise session. If you feel intimidated by the gym or do not feel you have the energy for an hour workout, walk 10-minutes out your door, turn around and walk home. When you get to your driveway, you will have finished a 20-minute exercise session! Whatever you can do to make it easier to start will make that Mt. Everest feel much smaller. Over time, you can increase your physical activity as your endurance increases. You should add strength training at some point, as well. But starting small can make all the difference. 4. If you are trying to simply get started, consider not using intensity to judge your sessions. Just increase your physical movement on a weekly or monthly basis. All physical activity can be good for our health, as long as it is done safely. Whether it is walking the dog a few blocks longer, playing with your kids in the yard or simply raking your own leaves, all physical activity


is a step in the right direction. Many believe “hardcore” exercise is the only approach that can improve your health. The reality is your body, brain and health are all improved with moderate and consistent movement. Once a physical activity becomes something like a habit, then consider upping the intensity as appropriate and as you desire. Jeff Blair (M.S., CSCS) is celebrating 20 years as a Certified Personal Trainer and 10 years at the SoCalSport Personal Training Studio in 2022. He has been featured in several fitness publications. Email him for comments or questions at jeff@socalsport.com.

Show Off Your Lights! Love to decorate for the holidays? Feel like Clark W. Griswold’s light display has nothing on yours? Have more inflatables outside than you can count? Well, get out all your bulbs, bows, deer, and inflatable snowglobes, because the Westchester Mental Health Guild Holiday Lights Tour & Contest will happen this December. Westchester and Playa del Rey homeowners who are interested in participating will have their locations shared on a map and voting ballot for neighbors to drive by and vote for their favorite home, creating a community-wide Westchester / Playa Holiday Lights Tour. As an added bonus, prizes will be awarded to the winners. To enter the contest, you must complete an application and make a donation of at least $25. Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 1. Voting for the contest will take place from December 10-20. However, opportunities to view the holiday decorations will continue to December 26. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, December 21. Please visit www.westchestermhg.org for more information.

www.AMCShelps.com Page 20 • November 2022

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

Is gratitude part of your life experience? By Fay Craton Opinion: The summer I turned 16, my family visited my father’s parents, who lived in a rural part of Maine. I remember the forests, the meadows, the stream where beavers made their home, the wild blueberries (which I picked with the neighboring kids), and my grandfather’s pet—a wild turkey. The turkey was quite a character; he did not like any females and whenever he spotted me outdoors, he would start circling, getting ready to attack my legs. It was scary. I never before realized how large of a bird turkeys are. My brother would go outside to distract the bird so I could slip away. It is impossible to think about November without thinking about the change of seasons, pilgrims, gratitude and turkeys. When I think about that turkey in Maine, I remember the fear it created for me. However, after leaving Maine, my memories shifted to include laughter when talking about being prey for a bird. My feeling of fear is

not ignored. My feelings and memory became larger to include much more than being stalked by a large turkey. It is a memory bond shared with my brother. We both smile when we talk about that time. Practicing gratitude helps to enlarge awareness to include more than one emotion and more than just one way of seeing life. Gratitude is not about denying what is frightening, hurtful, or makes you angry. In developing gratitude as a daily practice, you develop a habit of seeing life from a larger perspective. You can think of it as stepping from a very small room into a much larger area. Both rooms are real. I find that the larger room gives me more space to breath, to experience a sense of lightness and an opportunity to find a sense of ease. Along with ease, I am able to laugh more. I am able to feel more compassion for myself and others. How do you develop a habit of embracing gratitude? One way is at the end of each day to record in a

gratitude journal something for which you are thankful. Another way might be to gather with your family daily to share what you are grateful for. Others might have a harder time identifying things for which they are grateful. Does this sound like your experience? Sometimes, when life or relationships are rocky, it is hard to think of anything. This is when it is very important to claim something–maybe something very small–so you can say “thank you.” An image that comes to my mind is that of a child who will soon lose a tooth. Starting with a little wiggle, the tooth starts to loosen. Over several days of small wiggles, the tooth finally becomes free. It is the small wiggles of looking for something for which to be grateful that you grow, and slowly the habit of gratefulness is formed. When confronted with something uncomfortable, do not deny your experience. It is more about reflecting upon the situation and seeing that in addition to the discomfort, there is something small for which you can

say, “thank you”—like “thank you for life,” “thank you for the clothing I am wearing,” or “thank you” for a spouse, a friend, or a specific person who was kind to you. Slowly, your perceptions will enlarge. Eventually, the process becomes easier. My wish is for you to live in the larger room where gratitude is part of your life. That way, when life is hard, you can experience some lightness in your being by allowing yourself to say “thank you” despite your pain. Allow yourself to shift just a little bit to see more than your difficulty. I hope your Thanksgiving celebration includes turkey if that is part of your holiday tradition. I hope it also includes gratitude and a sense of ease. Fay Craton, M.A. is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (mfc40011), which is the psychology license specializing in relationships (with ourselves or with others). She has an office located in Westchester. If you have any questions, please contact Fay at (310) 645-6762.

Thanks, Westchester/Playa. I love being here to help in a community where people are making a difference every day. Thank you for all you do. Tatiana Ruiz More, Agent 8705 Truxton Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90045 310-450-8833 tatiana@coveredwithmore.com State Farm, Bloomington, IL


Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

November 2022 • Page 21

Community mourns the passing of local philanthropist and health food pioneer Howard Pollack, owner of Del Rey’s Rainbow Acres and active community member, passed away on October 21 from COVID pneumonia. He was 82. Known affectionately by his friends as “Mr. Generosity,” Pollack was always willing to help, whether it was sponsoring the bounce houses for the pancake breakfast at Fire Station 5, catering lunch to say “thank you” to local protectors or transporting WWII veterans through LAX so they could visit war memorials in Washington, D.C. An avid traveler who racked up miles from flying all across the country in search of items to carry at his store, Pollack loved donating his rewards for fundraisers and to one lucky local educator every year at the Teacher Eddy Awards. A fan of surprises, the recipients would often show up to their flight and find out they had been upgraded to first class. “Howard was an absolute giant in so many ways. He was my dear friend and a treasured mentor,” said Lisa Schwab, owner of Cantalini’s restaurant and a fellow Rotarian. “To me, he was the real deal; he was so passionate about his business, funny, kind, generous and smart. He was a longtime Rotarian, community leader and incredible human. His legacy of love will continue

to reverberate in my heart forever.” When Pollack was 10, his family moved to Venice. Always a creative and entrepreneurial soul, as a kid he sold small bags of candy for a five-cent commission. While in school, Pollack dreamed of an army career. Choosing to focus on the military instead of his studies, he left high school early to head across the country and joined the army. After serving his duty, Pollack worked in sales and began working for a company called Service Foods, where he sold candles and spices to supermarkets. An epiphany on the importance of clean and healthy living, however, led him to start his own business, Nature’s Best. The distribution company sold a wide range of natural food products like trail mix, and a precursor to protein bars he called “Chunks of Health.” Five years later in 1972, Pollack sold his first company to a group of natural food stores when it had become too big and had outgrown what he originally intended. The next year, he started Campus Natural Foods, distributing healthy items to college bookstores. The business was a big hit with students, and Pollack would have to restock empty shelves at UCLA every few days.

Howard Pollack makes his way down Loyola Blvd. in this year’s Fourth of July Parade.

In 1981, Pollack opened his own health food store close to home, Rainbow Acres, located at 13208 W. Washington Blvd. During those early years, he worked tirelessly to get the business up and running and did not draw a salary. His hard work eventually put the store on the map to become arguably the most popular independent health food store on the Westside. Today, Rainbow Acres is a thriving market, complete with a deli, juice bar and natural pharmacy, as well as a successful wholesaler with more than

120 employees. Pollack will always be remembered as a pioneer in the health food space, and for being at the forefront of many modern health food trends, like raw food diets, macrobiotics and veganism. Pollack was not only a successful businessman but also a dedicated philanthropist, giving his time and money to many community organizations. He was a longtime member of the Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club and was very active with the LAX Coastal Chamber. Some of his favorite causes to support included the Fourth of July Parade, Protector’s Appreciation Week, his church, fellow entrepreneurs, veterans’ causes and education, especially Venice High’s Academic Jacket Program. Thanks to his support of that program and sponsoring numerous jackets for the school’s top students over the years, Pollack finally had the chance to “graduate high school,” when he received an honorary diploma. In lieu of flowers, his family has asked that donations be made to the Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club at playavenice.org, where Pollack was proud to be the organization’s oldest member.

SPONSOR A MEAL. GET FULL ACCESS TO THE Y! Elevate Energy Increase Strength JOIN TODAY! ymcaLA.org/join 310 670 4316

Page 22 • November 2022

Feel Better 30 day money back guarantee Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

Join us at our new meeting location, the Westchester Townhouse, to learn how you can help us support our Westchester community and beyond! We have lots of exciting projects we're working on!


Makeover Project | Book Sale | Scholarships | Sponsoring local events | Supporting YMCA Programs...and so much more!

Learn about St. Anastasia Catholic School Junior Kindergarten-8th Grade Now Enrolling!

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

November 2022 • Page 23

Meet your nonprofits (continued) The Home EC continued...

The Home EC Center is always seeking innovative and empowering individuals that are inspired to make a change in our community. Community members can support our organization’s mission by being a mentor for our youth, sharing a few moments in our empowerment groups, or assisting at one of our upcoming events. Please visit our website for more information at thehomeeccenter.org/contact. Q. What’s the number one thing the community should know about The Home EC Center? A. One thing the community should know about our nonprofit is our mission! We strive to reconnect the youth with lost arts and bring home economics back into our lives, which will help better our future. Not only does home economics prepare our society with basic skills, but it also builds responsibility. We believe that everyone has a prolific mindset within. Sometimes that creative bone is enlightened by culinary art, painting sunsets, writing poetry or fixing cars. Our goal is that no matter what sparks your light, we hope our space and instructors can magnify and strengthen those skills. Learn more at thehomeeccenter.org or scan the QR code at right:

LAXCEF continued...

Q. What is the best way for people to support or get involved with LAXCEF? A. We would love to see the whole community come out and participate in the Rock Roll & Run on Saturday, March 4! It is a great morning to either run or walk through the LMU campus. Following the run, there will be a pancake breakfast, music and booths hosted by sponsors for everyone to enjoy. The more people participate, the more money we raise for education! For businesses, we’re offering sponsorship packages for this event, along with the art competition, which is being held at the end of November 2022. Q. What’s the number one thing the community should know about LAXCEF? A. Our foundation is unique because we support all public, private, magnet, charter and parochial schools located within our geographical boundaries. Through fundraising and events, we have funded STEM, art, transportation, professional development and campus beautification grants over the past five years. Learn more at laxcef.org or scan the QR code at right:

AMCS continued...

Q. What’s the number one thing the community should know about AMCS? A. I can’t keep my answer to just one thing, so here are a few: 1. AMCS has been serving the community for more than 60 years. 2. AMCS is considered a top-notch training institute by universities near and far. 3. AMCS has been voted Best Nonprofit or Favorite Nonprofit in the Hometown News since 2015. 4. AMCS does not have any government contracts and relies solely on donations and grants to keep its doors open. To help the neediest of families get the services they deserve, please go to our website, AMCShelps. com and donate today. You can also subscribe to receive our educational emails. Learn more at amcshelps.com or scan the QR code at right:

Friends continued...

Restoring Ballona will provide several ecosystem services like flood control, water filtration and carbon sequestration, and also increase habitat for wildlife and public access to nature. Q. What is the best way for people to support or get involved with your organization? A. There are many

ways to get involved with the Friends; ultimately, a donation will support all of our programs and projects, amplify our message and empower the next generation. However, you can also get involved by taking a wetlands tour, attending a special event, or becoming a volunteer. We also have a monthly newsletter that arrives in your inbox at the beginning of each month to keep you up to date with the Friends. Visit ballonafriends.org for our schedule, details and event registration for our clean ups and fundraisers. Q. What’s the number one thing the community should know about the Friends of Ballona Wetlands? A. In 1978, Ruth Lansford and a small group of neighbors and academics founded the Friends of Ballona Wetlands to fight Howard Hughes’ heirs from developing the Ballona Wetlands. And they won! Since then, we have fought tooth and nail to preserve the now 566 acres of wetland habitat, and the Friends will not stop until we “Bring Ballona Back!” We also want to make sure everyone knows it’s pronounced “Bye-O-na” Wetlands. Learn more at ballonafriends.org or scan the QR code at right:

Meet the teachers • Hear about our curriculum Visit the Classrooms • Tour our campus STEAM Emphasis • Standard-Based Curriculum Diverse Student Body • Athletics Program • Spanish Outdoor Education • Music & Performing Arts Fine Arts • Differentiated Instruction • Extended Care

310.670.5422 • WWW.WLCS.ORG •

7831 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester, CA 90045

Page 24 • November 2022

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

Stylish Traditional Home

6383 W. 80th Street, Westchester List Price: $1,795,000

Inviting curb appeal welcomes you to this beautifully updated Westchester Home! Located in the coveted Kentwood neighborhood, this impeccably maintained property offers three spacious bedrooms and two bathrooms in a single story floor plan situated on an 8561 sq ft lot with a huge back yard and a sparkling pool! The open living and dining rooms have wonderful natural light through the oversized bay window, and its custom woodburning fireplace, crown moldings, gleaming hardwood floors, and custom paint sets the stage for wonderful entertaining. The three bedrooms and two bathrooms are in a practical center hallway floor plan, close to the updated bathrooms. Fresh white cabinets, stainless appliances, recessed lighting, contemporary counters and flooring and a cozy breakfast nook complete the kitchen- ideal for busy households! And there's a great utility room with new appliances and a useful mud room leading out to the back yard/pool area. A big window over the kitchen sink provides an expansive view of the swimming pool, covered gazebo, grassy backyard -a wonderful backyard retreat, room for playtime and pets, urban gardening and grilling. The finished garage is a perfect TV/family room, childrens play area, or offers endless work from home possibilities. A bonus room behind the garage can accommodate all your storage needs, and the long driveway provides ample off-street parking. This home is also equipped with a new tankless water heater, newer roof and forced air heating and air conditioning, a security system and exterior lighting on timers. You're just minutes from the local technology hub in Playa Vista, the airport, freeways and beaches. Don't miss this picture perfect home!

Save The Date

Playa del Rey / Westchester Children’s Hospital Toy Drive & Animal Shelter Collection

Saturday, December 3, 2020 Triangle Park on Waterview - Safe Drop Off: 9am-Noon



(310) 567-5971



Lic# 00998927

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

November 2022 • Page 25

Hosted by the Westchester Family YMCA | October 28

The Westchester Family YMCA brought the fun, and the scares, at its Halloween Spooktacular event on Friday, October 28. Thanks to the work of creative volunteers, the Y was transformed into a creepy crawlerthemed experience, complete with games and activities in the gym, a play area, prizes, candy and even a haunted maze! Guests also enjoyed food trucks, face painting, a magic act and more. This was one of the YMCA’s most successful events in recent memory, with more than 700 attendees making their way through the community hub. The Halloween Spooktacular is just one example of the Y’s work to engage the community, bring in new members and inspire volunteers, says YMCA Board President John Ramey. Through the work of its newly formed “Family Engagement Committee,” expect more events and activities coming soon that will provide opportunities for local families to make positive memories at their local Y! The event was sponsored by HHLA, SoCalGas, LAWA, Grandview House, Fit4Mom Westside, LMU, Cory Birkett/ERA Matilla Realty and Papa Johns Express. A special thank you to the event planning committee: Dante Cruz, Aisha Harris, Chrishawna Mitchell, Ahmanise Sanati, Christy Skura and Sylvia Wilson. Stay up-to-date on upcoming happenings by following the YMCA at facebook.com/ WestchesterFamilyYMCA.

Page 26 • November 2022

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

Photos by Marianne Pellin/MP Photography

Halloween Spooktacular

Join the Holiday Spirit at LMU Christmas Tree Lighting Friday, Dec. 2, 5 – 8 p.m. Program starts at 7 p.m. Alumni Mall

LMU is excited to bring back this annual holiday tradition for the whole family. There will be music, crafts for kids, food trucks, and photos with a special guest from the North Pole. Stop by the Community Relations table for a holiday surprise (while supplies last). This event is free and open to the public. Contact Fred Puza, Director of Community Relations, at community@lmu.edu if you have any questions.




Top 30%







Visitation Catholic School


STUDENT ACTIVITIES clubs, organizations, sports


Join us for a tour of the school led by our student ambassadors!


NOVEMEBER 17, 2022 & DECEMBER 6, 2022


8:30-8:45 AM: Coffee & muffins with the Principal 8:45-9:30 AM: Classroom and campus tour

Connect with us! visitationschool.org IG @visitation_school FB @VisitationSchoolLA

Register at visitationschool.org/school-tours

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

November 2022 • Page 27

We’re with you every step of the way Primary care available in Marina del Rey 13160 Mindanao Way | Suite 301 | Marina del Rey, CA To learn more or to book an appointment, please visit uclahealth.org/marinadelrey or call 310-596-1249

Page 28 • November 2022

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News