Neighborhood Spotlight – Kim Sinclair

Connecting and highlighting incredible people in our South Bay community is one of our favorite parts of our jobs.

 The inspiration we draw from those we interact with keeps us fueled through the ups and downs of the daily grind!

With the start of April, the designated Autism Awareness Month, we are proud to feature Kim Sinclair – Executive Director for the Autism Society Los Angeles!

After meeting Kim and sharing our story, she reached out to us to be featured as a Neighborhood Spotlight. This act is a perfect portrayal of Kim and her commitment to representing the Autism community.  Kim’s role with The Autism Society Los Angeles has provided her with an incredible platform to empower individuals with Autism, as well as serve as a resource for their families. With over 20 years of experience in both corporate and non-profit environments, Kim’s efforts have brought a focus on processes, fundraising, and program administration and development to the ASLA.   Kim and the whole ASLA team work ardently to improve the lives of individuals with autism, their families and professionals. Kim is especially passionate about using community collaboration to empower, educate and, ultimately, improve the lives of all individuals with developmental disabilities

Kim’s other passions include cycling, spending time outdoors and with her family.

  1. You are very passionate about what you do! What is your favorite part about working for The Autism Society Los Angeles?

Our mission is truly making a difference: “improve the lives of all affected by autism. We help empower individuals with autism (self advocates), their families, and professionals through advocacy, education, support and community collaboration”.  I love our entire community and that we are making a difference in people’s lives every day.

2. The Autism Society Los Angeles has a broad range of services, can you please give us a brief run-down of the services/experience that the organization offers?

We are engaged throughout the community in Public Policy to influence the laws that support our individuals and families.  Through Advocacy ASLA represents individuals with developmental disabilities in Sacramento through membership on statewide commissions and committees and building relations with legislators and administrators.  ASLA trains medical and law enforcement professionals improving the outcomes of interactions for our community members.  Providing a resource “warm-line”, to provide support for in need families, self-advocates and members of the community.  Presenting conferences and trainings, to provide education and increase advocacy skills.  ASLA also just launched a Self Advocate Speakers Bureau, to provide speaking opportunities for Self Advocates to community groups representing their voices. And finally, we provide an Annual Summer residential camp to young adults – Camp NAVIN to support independence and friendships.

3. Of the many programs the organization offers, which one is your favorite and why?

I love the newly launched Self Advocate Speakers Bureau. We train individuals with disabilities on presentation skills and then connect with community groups for public speaking presentations to create acceptance of differences. It is powerful and provides employment for our disability community.

4. What would you say is the biggest place where you have seen The Autism Society Los Angeles make an impact?

Our programs and services help families and individuals across all developmental disabilities develop advocacy skills and become educated on how to navigate the multiple support systems in California to improve their quality of life. Most importantly, we have been the lead organization in passing laws in California that will have a profound impact on the thousands of individuals with disabilities.

5. Does the Autism Society Los Angeles only help individuals with Autism?

No, we help families and individuals across all developmental disabilities, and professionals including medical and law enforcement.

6. What do you see for the future of the Autistic community and how is The Autism Society Los Angeles helping shape that future?

We are THE resource in the LA disability community and have trained thousands of family members, individuals with disabilities, and professionals.  And we will continue to support the community across all stages of their lifespan.

7. What impact do donations to The Autism Society Los Angeles make within the community?

All donations stay local, unlike many peer organizations. ASLA is mostly a volunteer-run organization that relies on donations to keep our programs and advocacy efforts continuing.  The funds raised support our mission and all dollars raised by ASLA stay in our community.  We are also always in search of passionate and dedicated volunteers that can help.  And we always value business support to help sponsor programs.

Details of how to donate or become engaged can be found at www.AutismLA.org

A great opportunity to get involved with the Autism community is taking place THIS SATURDAY from 12:00-4:00! The Nick’s Community Chili Cook-off guarantees delicious food, adult beverages & unlimited fun for kids, with profits benefiting Nick’s Community & ASLA

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Women Who WOW Us

With today’s celebration of International Women’s Day and March’s designation as Women’s History Month,  we felt it was only fitting to highlight South Bay women whom we have found to be both influential and inspiring.

But first, a short background On International Women’s Day:  IWD has been celebrated for over a hundred years and has gained recognition in as an official holiday in a number of countries, including Uganda, Cuba, Russia and Vietnam. The United Nations began sponsoring International Women’s Day in 1975, designating a new theme each year. 2017’s appointed theme is “Be Bold For Change” or if you frequent social media, #BeBoldForChange


We are honored to highlight five local women who we have had the privilege of getting to know over the past year. Each of these women have created a way to pursue their unique passions and seek careers that give them personal fulfillment. Their stories inspire us and remind us that we are capable of shaping our own futures.

Aaaaand here they are:

Amy Errett, founder and owner of E3 Vehicles – a custom Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (golf cart) retailer based in the South Bay. Amy is a passionate about living the ultimate South Bay Lifestyle, one consisting of jaunting around town enjoying the sunshine while going green and saving money. Amy and E3 Vehicles help people realize their dream lifestyle by offering  custom made-to-order electric vehicles that are substantially under competitors prices.

In Amy’s words,

“I am amazed and pleasantly surprised by the support I have experienced from all areas of the community, both businesses and city governments.  The local business people, in particular, are very supportive of E3V’s concept and mission.  They have all offered recommendations to help me spread the word and come up with creative ideas to collaborate in the future. I have a lot more work to do when it comes to connecting with more people and businesses, but it has been such an encouraging process, so far.”

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Allison Gander, owner and principal of AGA Design – an architectural consulting firm, recognized early on that with her drawing abilities and aptitude for geometry a career as an architect would be the perfect fit. With over 12 years of experience in the profession to-date, Allison prepared for her career not just with a Bachelor’s of Science in architecture, but also with a year at Ecole d’Architecutre de Paris-La Villette and a Master’s of Architecture from Georgia Tech. Lucky for us, Allison relocated from Georgia to Los Angeles where she promptly began working as a Project Architect consultant for Levin & Associates. (If you have ever been to the Dodger Stadium or the John Anson Ford Ampitheatre – you have likely marveled at some of her work!) Allison’s next step brought her to creating AGA Designs, is a full-service architecture firm which allows her to stay involved with each project from start to finish.

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In Allison’s words:

“I’ve always loved to draw and sketch.  Eventually I headed in the architecture direction because I could use those talents and couple them with my geometric brain and curiosity and find out how things should be put together. Meeting with clients, sketching out their ideas while assisting in some fundamental design approaches is my favorite part.  I bring along my roll of trace paper to every meeting because you have to document those brainstorming sessions.”


You may have noticed this Jen Carpenter around the South Bay .. as shes is usually accompanied by 6-8 dogs she is hard to miss! Recognizing the busy schedules of South Bay-ers (not to mention the time spent in traffic for those of us commuting!), Jen founded Jen’s Dog Walking, a service that not only gives her furry customers their needed walks, but the love and attention that they deserve. Fueled by affection from her own three 3 dogs, Jen Carpenter is passionate about providing other canines with regular walks in order to ensure their health and happiness.

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In Jen’s words:

“I have been a dog walker for 12 years and it’s a very personal small business. I am pretty close with my clients, as I am taking care of their babies! I enjoy being a small local business because I’d like to maintain that personal family like feel with my clients.”


 

Growing up a harpist and a pianist, Anaïs de la Morandais eventually realized and decided to pursue her love for choral conducting. With a Master of Arts in choral conducting from the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria and a Maîtrise of Musicology from the Université de Haute-Bretagne in Rennes, France, Anaïs has the education to match her passion. While she works primarily with children, Anaïs has taught men and women of all ages throughout her career. From leading workshops on physical body training in support of the voice, to teaching youth choirs the basics of rhythm, Anaïs has experience in all realms of the musical world. Since her arrival in California, Anaïs has founded Atelier Musical in an effort provide music education services to Santa Monica, Redondo Beach and all areas in between. She offers piano lessons and vocal technique lessons, as well as French language support for students.

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In Anaïs’ words:

“Since I’ve created Atelier Musical, my goal is to be able to work in the area that I reside. I mostly bike to my clients and that is such a pleasure! I hope in the next months, I will be able to create a vocal group for the South Bay and maybe incorporate French and German into the music! Since I speak both languages fluently, this would be a great opportunity for singers to practice a language they learned at school.”


With a Communication Design degree from OTIS, as well as experience as both a marketing director and an art director, Cat Landry is the independent graphic designer and owner behind Cat Landry Design. Beyond her impressive resume, however, Cat has also honed a skill set that helps her to evaluate and determine not just the needs of her clients, but also their personal style.  What stood out to us about Cat was her dedication to truly getting to know her clients and creating work that embodies who they are. She is especially passionate about working with local business and supporting the “South Bay Bubble.” What could be better than working with a designer who really knows the community your business serves and the audience you’re trying to reach?

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In Cat’s words:

“In 1999, I decided that the best way for me to continue to enjoy my work was to do it my way… with a smile. I put in my two-weeks notice and left the corporate world to start my own business. Cat Landry Design was “born” on my birthday in July 1999. Although freelance design has its ups and downs (financially and logistically), I’ve never regretted the choice to enjoy my work every single day.”


As always, it is quite humbling when we look back at the incredible women that we have had the opportunity to mingle with. We applaud Cat, Amy, Anaïs, Allison & Jen for following their calling, while also using their abilities to contribute to their community.

While these women give us plenty of reason to celebrate today and look forward to the future, this Forbes article provides 7 (More) Reasons To Be Optimistic This International Women’s Day!

NEIGHBORHOOD SPOTLIGHT: Amy Errett, E3 Vehicles

This month we took a joy ride on a custom electric Cadillac themed E3 Vehicle with Amy
Errett, Founder and Owner of E3 Vehicles – a custom Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (golf cart) retailer based in the South Bay. Amy is a passionate about living the ultimate South Bay Lifestyle, one consisting of jaunting around town enjoying the sunshine while going green and saving money. E3 Vehicles helps people realize this dream lifestyle offering the South Bay custom made to order electric vehicles substantially under competitors prices.

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Below is our interview with Amy:

What inspired you to start this business? 

Years ago, as a stay-at-home mom, I was at a crossroads. Gas prices were high, car payments were excessive and the trips I was taking weren’t worth having to pile into the family SUV. It wasn’t long before I began looking into buying a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, a souped-up golf cart, to handle the day-to-day jaunts. I found myself doing a lot of short jaunts to drop at school, activities, sports practices, trips to the grocery store, and weekends going to the beach.  It took a while before I finally found my match: A six-seat T-Sport Cart, with room enough for my husband and three kids. Rather accidentally, my family switched over to one gas vehicle and one electric cart since the last year.  The catalyst was, in order to buy my ride, I had to head to Orange County.  This seemed rather curious and begged for me to dive deeper as to WHY there was no retail outlet or dealership HERE to buy my NEV?  After a bit of research this proved to be not only an amazing solution to the “short trip” or “jaunt” transportation mode but also the market for Neighborhood Electric Vehicles, is widely underserved in the Beach Cities.  Now, I am the very proud owner of E3 Vehicles at 350 N. PCH # C/500 Carnelian Ave., Suite 102, preaching the gospel of neighborhood electric vehicles to the people of the South Bay.

Give us a brief run-down of the services/experience you have created?

When you first step into E3 Vehicles showroom, I wanted to create the feeling as you have stepped into a place of the future, inspiring a sense of curiosity and thought provoking about how we get around town.   It’s a cross between a fancy garage/showroom, living room, and, oh by the way, look? What are these? Golf Carts? How fast do they go? What’s the charge? How far do they go? These are all questions I can certainly answer but truly I want my customers to feel like they just came home from an errand or from a bite to eat at “Eat at Joes” or fresh brewed pour over from Fika Coffee Company and truly understand the value of what E3 Vehicles is offering.  We are offering a low cost solution, where it is too far to walk but too close to drive. Since we are in the ideal location, our lifestyle in the “bubble” is perfectly suited to have an NEV in every driveway.  We offer good, better, and best products while at the same time offer a wide variety of makes and models of NEV’s to suit every budget and lifestyle.     

We also offer concierge type DMV services to handle the entire process similarly to purchasing a new car, financing, and coming soon will be E3 Vehicles Leasing and Rentals.

For those residents of the South Bay that already own NEVs (GEM Cars, EZGO or Club Car brands), we offer a complete line of repair and maintenance services.  

What is your favorite thing about riding around town in an E3Vehicle?

It is hard to describe until you drive one yourself, but there is an overwhelming feeling of energy and vitality associated with driving one of our vehicles.  We live in such an active community, with the sun shining most of the year making it the ideal weather, and driving an E3V makes you feel like you are actually outside enjoying the fresh ocean breeze.  My 8-year-old daughter describes it the best, “I love having the fresh breeze blow through my hair.”

In addition, I get a lot of gratification by driving a non-CO2 emitting vehicle. I feel like I am making an environmentally responsible choice when I drive a zero-emission vehicle around town to accomplish so many of my daily tasks and errands. Most gratifying and what I a love the most is knowing with every new NEV that hits the streets, it is one less gas vehicle on the road.  

Lastly, they are FUN!

How has living in the South Bay helped aid the growth of your business or inspired you in your business?

Having lived in the South Bay for over 20+ years, the growth and development has been astounding.  Although. I never dreamed of being so imbedded in the fibers of this community, it has been the most welcoming and inspiring experience to date.  I have made great strides with getting involved, connecting with community leaders, networking and always looking to find a way to get the word out.  Yet the most profound discovery came shortly after I decided to really “do this” business, I literally stumbled upon a180 page study from the South Bay Council of Governments. Incredibly they found as much to be true in their assessment of NEVs, published in June 2013. Over a period of 30 months, SBCOG researchers found that most trips taken by the study’s 51 participants from around the Beach Cities ran between one and three miles. That distance, the study says, is “too long to walk and too short for transit but ideally suited for NEVs.”  The participants concluded that YES this is a viable option over the gas vehicle but the barriers to entry where: a) price point too high. B.) No retail out to buy them.

CHECK and CHECK. I concluded that if I found the perfect space, created the right environment while giving the community the choice of good, better, and best price points that this would be a winner of a business concept. We all live in CA for one reason or another but when you are driving in an NEV, “ it feels like I am on vacation” said a woman while on a test drive. YES! That is why we live HERE! We are a community spoiled by gorgeous weather, beautiful beaches, great restaurants, and plush parks. South Bay-er’s are forward thinking and take ownership in the keeping this community a healthy and sustainable place to live for years to come.  Projects like Blue Zone and the Green Challenge are great examples of this initiative.  I truly believe the mission of E3 Vehicles is a complement toward making the South Bay a great place to live.  

Describe to us what a perfect weekend with and E3Vehicle looks like for a customer?

Let’s face it! We get home on a Friday night after a long week at work and park it.  You have found the perfect spot and not moving your car if your life depended on it for fear of losing it…Until, you start all over again Monday am.  Thankfully you have your little NEV parked in a compact little spot in your driveway all charged up! Saturday morning rolls around and it’s an epic sunny day, perfect for taking the family to the beach, or to go grab a coffee, pastry and cruise just go cruising to visit friends.   But, wait? How do we get there?  Thankfully, we have our E3 Vehicle all charged up and ready to start piling on the beach gear.  You can picture it, right?  The bags of beach toys, towels, beach chairs, cooler, and a cart to carry it ALL.  All in! Start with a quick stop to the local coffee shop to pick up breakfast, hop back in, drive to grab some cold beverage to bring to the beach. Load the kids with flip flops adorned, and head down for a relaxing afternoon at the beach (somewhere in Hermosa beach for now, since they offer free parking to 100% electric vehicles).  Get home, hose down the little people, Plug in and recharge. Ready to do it all over again on Sunday!  The best part? I didn’t pay for parking, gas or lose my parking spot!!!!!

What is your favorite part of owning this business here in the South Bay?

I am amazed and pleasantly surprised by the support I have experienced from all areas of the community, both businesses and city governments.  The local business people, in particular, are very supportive of E3V’s concept and mission.  They have all offered recommendations to help me spread the word and come up with creative ideas to collaborate in the future. I have a lot more work to do when it comes to connecting with more people and businesses, but it has been such an encouraging process, so far.

The location of our showroom is also the perfect find.  From the Saturday/Sunday morning breakfast rush at Eat at Joes and the overflow of coffee lovers from Fika, the foot traffic is amazing!  With the icon Eat at Joes directly across the street and landing in the “The black building” our showroom location just screams South Bay! I love it!

When you conceptualize this business what were you looking to bring to the community/ what inspired you to start this?

My personal story is what inspired me to launch E3 Vehicles.  I was looking for a functional and environmentally friendly way to move my family around town.  I am proud to say that for the last 16 months, we have eliminated a gas-powered vehicle for our family of 5, and replaced it with an electric powered

NEV.  I’m inspired to offer the same transportation options to residents of the South Bay.  The purpose of opening an NEV showroom here in the beach cities is two-fold, I want to help educate the local community about NEVs and, at the same time, facilitate ownership of NEVs to our residents.

What in your opinion makes Golden Hills/Redondo Beach a great place to live?

Where do you start?  People arrive in the South Bay for many different reasons.  This community has been home for me for over 20 years.  The reason that I have chosen to stay is because Redondo Beach has provided my family with great schools for my kids and a wonderful network of supportive friends for me and my husband. We have gone so far as to name our street and call it our village.  We spend holidays together, annual block parties and feel as though we always have a neighbor to call when in need.  We are like family and truly there is nothing more special when family lives across the country to be surrounded by a second family that lives next door.

Now, as a local business owner, I am compelled to become even more vested in our community and plan on being a mainstay and have an NEV in every driveway!   

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Get in touch with E3 Vehicles:
www.e3vehicles.com
www.facebook.com/e3vehicles

Mention “Weber Accetta Group” and receive a $500 cash discount on any E3 Vehicle NEV purchase!

Neighborhood Spotlight: Allison Gander

Staying inspired throughout the grit and grind of daily life is not always easy! Our meetings with our monthly Neighborhood Spotlights have become something that we genuinely look forward to …and always come away from feeling refreshed. We love getting insight into other entrepreneurs’ lives and seeing how they shape their careers around their passions.

This month we interviewed Allison Gander, owner and principal of AGA Design – an architectural consulting firm. Always sketching as a child, Allison recognized early on that with her drawing abilities and aptitude for geometry a career as an architect would be the perfect fit!

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With over 12 years of experience in the profession to-date, Allison prepared for her career not just with a Bachelor’s of Science in architecture, but also with a year at Ecole d’Architecutre de Paris-La Villette and a Master’s of Architecture from Georgia Tech. Lucky for us, Allison relocated from Georgia to Los Angeles where she promptly began working as a Project Architect consultant for Levin & Associates. (If you have ever been to the Dodger Stadium or the John Anson Ford Ampitheatre – you have likely marveled at some of her work!)

Allison’s next step brought her to creating AGA Designs. Opening her own firm allowed Allison the flexibility to express her passion through projects of her own choosing. She loves taking a hands-on approach and taking the time to be involved in the developmental stage of a project. From helping entrepreneurs looking to develop their first commercial space to designing a custom piece of furniture for homeowners, AGA Design is a full-service architecture firm and Allison stays fully involved from start to finish. Allison is community oriented and loves sourcing clients from right here in the South Bay!

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Sketch Perspective Design

Professionally, Allison is detail-oriented, focused and committed to quality work. Personally, she is genuine, warm and brimming with passion. Her big heart is as obvious as her talent and she is a true pleasure to be around. She shared her love story with us (Grand Canyon Proposal!) and we came away from our coffee date feeling as if we had just made a new friend. Read on to hear more about Allison and AGA Design!

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Interior Design by AGA Designs
  1. What inspired you to be an architect?                                                                                             I’ve always loved to draw and sketch.  Eventually I headed in the architecture direction because I could use those talents and couple them with my geometric brain and curiosity and find out how things should be put together.
  2. Give us a brief run-down of the services/experience that you offer?                                AGA Design is a full service architecture firm, doing everything from initial design consultation to construction administration.  We also consult with other professionals to assist on some other large projects.
  3. Do you have a personal favorite architectural style?                                                     I studied pure modernism heavily in school- and will always have an affinity for less is more and pure material design.
  4. How has living in the South Bay helped aid the growth of your business or inspired you in your business?                                                                                                                            I have met most of my clients in the south bay.  My children are in the schools and extra curricular programs here and it’s been a blessing to be in such a great family community, with such great people who can appreciate good design.
  5. What is your ideal client?                                                                                                             I love working with entrepreneurs who are making the move to expand and have a set vision of what they would like their space to be.  Equally, those homeowners who have a new idea for use of space in their existing home and get creative with space with me are fun to work with.
  6. What is your favorite part of doing your job?                                                                           Meeting with clients, sketching out their ideas while assisting in some fundamental design approaches is my favorite part.  I bring along my roll of trace paper to every meeting because you have to document those brainstorming sessions.
  7. What is your favorite project you worked on and why?                                                           The most exciting project I’ve done has been in collaboration with Levin & Associates, the Dodger Stadium Improvements since 2012.  The timeline was so tight but the team made 7 buildings happen, design through construction in 6 months.  It was invigorating standing in front of them on Opening Day.
  8. What in your opinion makes Golden Hills/Redondo Beach a great place to live?         The quality of families, the access to activities for all the family to enjoy, the walkability to the beach are great reasons to be in the Golden Hills.
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Custom Desk Design

Can’t get enough of Allison? (Us either!) Check out AGA Design online at http://www.agadesignla.com/

OR

Follow AGA Design on Facebook and Instagram: @agadesignla

**Allison & AGA Design are happy to offer a free design consultation for all residents of Golden Hills / Redondo Beach**

Neighborhood Spotlight: Jen Carpenter

 

You may have noticed this month’s Neighborhood Spotlight around the South Bay .. Usually accompanied by 6-8 dogs she is hard to miss! Recognizing the busy schedules of South Bay-ers (not to mention the time spent in traffic for those of us commuting!), Jen Carpenter simultaneously understands that many pet owners love their dogs as if they are human family members.  To help solve this issue, she founded Jen’s Dog Walking, a service that not only gives her furry customers their needed walks, but the love and attention that they deserve. Fueled by affection from her own three 3 dogs, Jen Carpenter is passionate about providing other canines with regular walks in order to ensure their health and happiness.

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A day in the life!

 

She services from Redondo Beach all the way to El Segundo, giving pet owners the peace of mind that their pals are being taken care of while they at work, on vacation or held up with other obligations. Jen and her employees offer an online scheduling option for the convenience of her busy clients!

Jen is a staple for dozens of South Bay families (pets included!) and we loved getting to know her and hearing more about her unique business venture! Keep reading to learn more about her approach to dog-walking and her take on life here in Redondo Beach.

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The Carpenter Family     
1. What inspired you to start your own business? As a dog-walker in particular?
I grew up with lots of pets and have always been a huge animal lover. I knew that I wanted a career working with animals, but I didn’t know what that was until I found the perfect one as a dog walker.
 
2. Give us a brief run-down of the services/experience that you offer
We primarily offer pack walks in groups of approximately 8 dogs. Each walk is 55-60 minutes. Pack walks offer your dog longer walks and more socialization for less cost. All of our walkers are very experienced at handling dogs and are animal lovers. We offer 3 group walk times during the day. Mid morning, mid day and mid afternoon.
3. Do you have a personal favorite kind of dog?
I love all the dog breeds! Our family has a Labrador, a small mixed breed, and a Japanese chin.
4. How has living in the South Bay helped aid the growth of you business?
 Living in the South Bay is a great location for a dog walking business. The weather is perfect and there are a ton of dog owners. Unfortunately a lot of beach area homes don’t have yards,  so it lends well to people needing a dog walker so their dog can get out and have some much needed  exercise.
5. Do you have any plans for further expansion of your business?
I have been a dog walker for 12 years and it’s a very personal small business. I am pretty close with my clients, as I am taking care of their babies! I enjoy being a small local business because I’d like to maintain that personal family like feel with my clients.
6. What in your opinion makes Golden Hills a great place to live?
I think the Golden Hills is a great place to live because we have a great community of neighbors. We all look after one another and help and support one another in this tight knit community.
*For clients that mention the Weber Accetta Group, Jen will offer 2 free walks when you purchase 10. That’s a $40 value!*

Neighborhood Spotight: Anaïs de la Morandais

By: Cathy Strini

Every Neighborhood Spotlight participant has been unique.. but so incredibly inspiring! This month’s feature, Anaïs de la Morandais, kept up that trend! Originally hailing from France, Anaïs has studied and taught music in several European countries, but (lucky for us South Bay-ers) has chosen to settle right here in Golden Hills.

Anaïs was gracious enough to welcome us into her newly renovated home, give us a tour, tell us about her life and even play for us on the piano (Check out the video below!).  On first impression, Anaïs is poised and charming, but as we chatted we were soon able to catch a glimpse of her fun sense of humor and passion for music!

 

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Lauren, Anais and Michelle

 

 

Growing up a harpist and a pianist, Anaïs eventually realized and decided to pursue her love for choral conducting. With a Master of Arts in choral conducting from the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria and a Maîtrise of Musicology from the Université de Haute-Bretagne in Rennes, France, Anaïs has the education to match her passion. While she works primarily with children, Anaïs has taught men and women of all ages throughout her career. From leading workshops on physical body training in support of the voice, to teaching youth choirs the basics of rhythm, Anaïs has experience in all realms of the musical world.

Since her arrival to California (barely a year ago!) Anaïs has wasted no time in establishing herself and finding ways to share her passion for music with the local communities. As stated on her website, Anaïs first created the Santa Monica Youth Choir, then served as the Choir Program Director where she taught “voice, music theory, and ear training while combining various methods in vocal technique, percussion, art, and memorization”. An ode to her French background, Anaïs has founded several Francophile groups, for both children and adults (details below for anyone interested in attending!) This past December, Anaïs founded Atelier Musical in an effort provide music education services to Santa Monica, Redondo Beach and all areas in between. She offers piano lessons and vocal technique lessons, as well as French language support for students.

Check out the Atelier Musical website to learn more about the individually tailored lessons available! Read on to discover more about Anaïs …

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1. How did you get involved in music and what instruments do you play / have played?

I’ve always wanted to play music since I was 2 years old. I started with piano and the celtic harp when i was 6. And I sang quite a bit in choir and at school. Then I chose to play trombone in middle school and discovered choir conducting in college. That is when I decided to become a choir conductor.

2. What brought you to California and what have you been up to since you moved here?

I met my husband in India when I was travelling. At the time, I was studying music in Austria, and I moved to be with him in Santa Monica after I received my master degree. I created a choir program for Santa Monica Youth Orchestra in 2014 that I led for one and half year before we moved to the Golden Hills of Redondo Beach. I wanted to serve more the local community so I created my own enterprise called Atelier Musical Inc., where I teach voice and piano lessons in the area. But I still do many projects in Venice Beach, Mar Vista, Beverly Hills and at the Chadwick School in Palos Verdes

Another project of mine is called Enchantés – the only French Vocal Ensemble in L.A. I created it a year ago and our second performance is already coming up! Rehearsals are 7:30 to 9pm on Tuesdays. (*More info below!*)

Mélodies and Do Ré Mi are two french children choirs and the music is in French as if you were in Paris. Both are held at the French Conservatory of Music and at the French Exchange After School program.

I also have several private students from ages 4 to 15 enrolled in piano and voice lessons.

3. Tell us a little about your experience with children and how you started working with them:

I love music and can’t help sharing this passion with others. With very little money to support myself through college, I worked hard and paid for my studies teaching music to kids. I was just 17 and have been teaching since then!

4. How is the South Bay (Redondo in particular) unique from everywhere else you have lived?

Since it is a safe area, I find the South Bay to be the perfect family-oriented community. It is both quiet and friendly. We know many of our neighbors, and it makes me feel special to be in such a close-knit neighborhood.

5. How do you plan on incorporating the local community as your business expands? 

Since I’ve created Atelier Musical, my goal is to be able to work in the area that I reside. I mostly bike to my clients and that is such a pleasure! I hope in the next months, I will be able to create a vocal group for the South Bay and maybe incorporate French and German into the music! Since I speak both languages fluently, this would be a great opportunity for singers to practice a language they learned at school.
6. What is your favorite song to perform on the piano and why?

I love to play classical music. At the moment, I am having tremendous fun working on a Gigue of Scarlatti. This music is so joyful and exciting to play!

7. What lessons/programs do you offer for children?

I offer 30 min, 45 min, or one hour private or semi-private classes in Piano and Vocal Technique. All the lessons are available in English, French or German.

The group lessons are part of my choir programs like Enchantés (for Adults and teenagers), and Mélodies and Do Ré Mi (for kids).

 

*For clients that mention “What’s up Redondo” and who live in the Golden Hills area, Anais will waive her transportation fee and charge only $35 instead of $45 for a 30 min. lesson. Or $50 instead of $60 for 45 min. lesson. And of course, the first lesson is always free.*

 

“Enchantés is an exciting francophile group meeting once a week to speak french and sing beautiful masterpieces from renaissance to contemporary repertoire, including French “chansons” and traditional folk music. Every season, we have a specific theme and one or two performances for the public. Located in Los Angeles/Santa Monica Area, this choir is for 16+ years of age. $10 suggested donation/class. Enchantés. Students and adults. Tuesdays 7:30-9 PM.”

“In September 2015, Anaïs launched a children French choir at the French conservatory of Music of Los Angeles. Specifically designed for bi-lingual children, Mélodies is a perfect weekly meeting for music initiation in French. Students explore the vast repertoire of french melodies composed for children as they would at the Conservatory in Paris! Mélodies. French Conservatory of Music. Tuesdays 3:30-4:30 PM.”

Neighborhood Spotlight: Kathy Burkholder

By: Cathy Strini

After meeting Kathy while out in the Golden Hills neighborhood, we were intrigued by both her and her line of work. Kathy’s Critters offers fun and educational zoology presentations for schools, birthday parties and other special events. From snakes to tarantulas to Madagascar hissing cockroaches, Kathy and her crew specialize in “misunderstood, but friendly critters”.  Former “Zookeeper” at the Insect Zoo, Los Angeles County Natural History Museum and Nature and Science Instructor for the City of Manhattan Beach, Kathy has years of experience working with reptiles, amphibians, arthropods. She has a degree in horticulture, but is always looking to learn more! Through conferences and research, Kathy works continuously to stay on the forefront of Entomology and to connect with other educated enthusiasts.

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Lauren, Kathy, Michelle

Kathy’s connection with her critters goes beyond the knowledge she has acquired through work and study. Even as a young girl she had a love for all bugs and reptiles!  When she was not out searching the gardens, she was inside teasing her siblings (and mother!) with her newly found “pets”. It was inspiring to hear first-hand how Kathy was able to create and grow a thriving business centered around her life-long passion. A true entrepreneur, Kathy has created a space to share her enthusiasm while educating others.  As a lifelong South Bay resident, Kathy has seen the area change tremendously and was able to share both some of her favorite memories and also how the community has helped foster the growth of her business. We love that we have neighbors who are actively working towards their dream careers, but still maintain a community-based mentality!

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Kathy and Jabba

We had a chance to meet some of Kathy’s little friends and to see her in action with them!

 

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(Left) Corn Snakes Hamlet, Ophelia and   Portia          (Right) Spike the Bearded Dragon

 

Kathy was kind enough to participate in a little Q&A session with us so continue reading to learn more about her:

1. Tell us about your experience in the “critter world” and how it led to starting your business.
 I have always been interested in the life sciences. In college (El Camino), I received my A.S. in Horticulture and took every Entomology class they offered.
 

I continue my education constantly by conducting my own research and attending annual educational Entomological conferences along with educators and scientists associated with institutions, universities, museums and butterfly houses from around the U.S. and abroad.

When I was a single mom with two children, I worked many jobs, sometimes two or three at a time. One of my favorites was as an Animal Control Officer at the Humane Society. I also worked at the Agriculture Department in pest control for projects such as the Mediterranean Fruit Fly and Japanese Beetle. While there (about 25 years ago), I was offered a position at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum as the Insect Zoo Technician (“Zookeeper”) for the Insect Zoo. Part of my job required that I do outreach programs, travel to schools throughout the county, and give lessons and assembly programs on the live insects we brought to them. After one of my programs, a teacher asked me if I knew anyone who did the same type of program only with reptiles. I thought to myself, I have enough of my own, so I offered to bring some. Word-of-mouth spread, and Kathy’s Critters began.

Eventually, Kathy’s Critters became my only job and I’ve been doing it ever since (over 20+ years).

2. Introduce and tell us a little bit about three of your favorite critters.
 As everyone knows, a mother loves all of her children equally. With that said, I have a fondness for the animals I’ve had the longest time, and they hold a special place in my heart. They include two of my corn snakes, Ophelia and Portia, who are over 20 years old; Blue, my blue-tounged skink (a lizard from Australia) who is almost 20; and Worf, a California Desert Tortoise around the same age.
3. Give us a brief run-down of the experience that “Kathy’s Critters” provides at birthday parties.
 The birthday child will be the center of attention as he or she shakes hands with a tarantula, caresses a cockroach, “trains” a stink beetle to “play dead” and “roll over”, becomes a habitat for a tree frog, gets kissed by a lizard, wears a snake necklace (or necktie) and much more.  He or she will be the “Zookeeper and Animal Handler for a day”.

The birthday child will carry the animals and show them off to his or her friends.  Everyone will get to touch, hold or pet most of the animals (if they so desire). Free toy souvenirs are included for the kids and the birthday child will receive a nice gift.

– See more at: http://www.kathyscritters.com

 
4. Do you have any plans for further expansion of your business?
 I am working on a traveling walk-in butterfly house, which can be brought to events such as spring extravaganzas, garden parties, butterfly parties. I’m also going to offer Butterfly Gardening lectures to local nurseries and Garden Clubs. I can include the butterfly house with these lectures. I’ve been growing a butterfly yard for many years at our house in Redondo Beach (Golden Hills area) and neighbors will often stop in front of our house and comment on the number of butterflies in my yard. I have a lecture entitled “Build It and They Will Come” which I recently presented to the Lorquin Entomological Society. The majority of the photos in this presentation were taken in our yard, which only proves that no matter how small of a yard, you can still successfully build a butterfly garden.  I also do consulting on growing your own butterfly friendly garden.
5. How has living in the South Bay, Redondo Beach in particular, helped aid the expansion of your business?
 The people of the South Bay are great. Our neighbors could not be better. We are a very close community and our block gets together annually for a block party, for which we’re always out in the front driveway with the critters for the neighborhood children.  The award-winning schools are fabulous and are always welcoming to our critters.

The weather here is perfect. I can do my shows year-round without worrying that my critters will get frozen on the way to my car while I pack them. I know other people in different states who cannot do winter shows for that very reason.

 
 
6. As a life-long member of the South Bay community, how have you seen the area grow and prosper?
 Our family was one of the “early settlers” in the very newly built Bodger Park area of Hawthorne. We were one of the first families on the block. Manhattan Beach was our hangout and only a short drive away down a beautiful two-lane country road lined with eucalyptus trees; I think it was Rosecrans. My early memory is while my dad was driving, the car would fill with the aromatic scent of the eucalyptus seedpods over which we were driving. We would also drive to Dockweiler Beach and look at the farms and horses on the way. I also remember the drive-in A&W Root Beer stand on, what is now, the El Camino parking lot. Across the street was a dairy farm with real cows.

The South Bay has grown a lot since then.

 

**For $50 off one of a school or birthday Kathy’s Critters program, email Kathy@kathyscritters.com and be make sure to mention the Weber Accetta Group**

Neighborhood Spotlight: Cat Landry

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As your local REALTOR’s, our goal is to connect the South Bay community. Each month we support and connect neighbors by sharing what they are up to! This month we were privileged to get to know Cat Landry, independent graphic designer and owner of Cat Landry Design. After meeting Cat while out in the neighborhood, we were immediately captivated by her vibrant personality and were excited to get to know her better over a coffee date.

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Shout out to Two Guns Espresso for their consistent deliciousness!

Originally hailing from Lafayette, Louisiana, Cat now has several decades of California living under her belt (and even convinced her parents to make the move out West)! While Cat has scores of clients around the country, she also works for and supports companies right here in the South Bay.

With a Communication Design degree from OTIS, as well as experience as both a marketing director and an art director, Cat has the expertise to supplement her natural talent as a graphic designer. Beyond her impressive resume, however, Cat has also honed a skill set that helps her to evaluate and determine not just the needs of her clients, but also their personal style. As she explains, “There is no cookie-cutter formula, it is a personalized experience.” What stood out to us about Cat was her dedication to truly getting to know her clients and creating work that embodies who they are.

Beyond being an entrepreneur, Cat is a dedicated mother and member of the South Bay community! Read on to learn more about Cat and what makes her great at what she does…

 

What inspired you to start your business?

After attending The Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design (it’s now simply called OTIS), I worked my way up in the corporate world starting with screen print design, then digital design and production for print advertising. My print experience led me to an art director position with a Santa Monica ad agency where I built my portfolio working with clients in luxury travel, cosmetics, gourmet foods, etc. I broadened my scope of work when I was recruited by a national marketing firm. There, my focus was product design for clients in pharmaceuticals, heath & beauty, wine & spirits, sports & fitness, and more.

Although I enjoyed the creative work very much, I felt that something was missing in each of these corporate businesses. It took some time for me to identify what didn’t feel right. One day I realized that there was a shortage of happy people in the work place. There were so many people who were unhappy, unsatisfied, bitter, hated being in the office, and resented their clients and coworkers. It seemed that I was the only one having fun. I love design and felt that I learned so much from each new client and project, and I craved a more positive environment.

In 1999, I decided that the best way for me to continue to enjoy my work was to do it my way… with a smile. I put in my two-weeks notice and left the corporate world to start my own business. Cat Landry Design was “born” on my birthday in July 1999. Although freelance design has its ups and downs (financially and logistically), I’ve never regretted the choice to enjoy my work every single day.

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What sort of graphic design do you specialize in? 

I work with clients in many different industries, including but not limited to: real estate, home furnishings, travel, corporate coaching, medical equipment, fitness, entertainment, elder care, automotive, apparel, churches, and health & beauty. My specialty, is corporate identity (logo design), branding, and marketing for print or web. I love working with new businesses and helping them along the path to success.
Example: I have clients who started their business, BioDesigns, in their garage in the South Bay over 15 years ago. I branded their company, created marketing materials, helped them develop a clear identity for their business, and stuck with them every step of the way. Now, their garage is where they park their luxury cars after successful days in their 6,000 square foot clinical facility in Westlake Village. They’re helping amputees all over the world live active, more comfortable lives. It’s a wonderful feeling to see a client’s business grow and flourish and it’s very satisfying to see good people succeed.
My clients love their work, I love making their businesses look great, and we all enjoy the process together. That’s what it’s all about.

 

What are some of the perks of a client working with a local graphic designer?

I love working with local businesses and supporting my community. The “South Bay Bubble” is a special area with it’s own unique culture. What could be better than working with a designer who really knows the community your business serves and the audience you’re trying to reach? Sure, a designer who lives in the heart of New York City may do stellar work, but they aren’t likely to fully grasp the vibe of our little pocket of the west coast.

 

Local / South Bay Clients:
  • Inner Glimmer – Manhattan Beach
  • Bionic Body/Kim Lyons – Hermosa Beach
  • St. Cross Episcopal Church – Hermosa Beach
  • Cass the Fix-It Lass – Torrance
  • Blue Water Realty Advisors – Redondo Beach
  • Elite Resorts & Spas – Redondo Beach
  • VIP Consulting – Redondo Beach
  • South Bay Pony Baseball – Manhattan Beach

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What makes you great at graphic design?

I am a collaborative designer. I want to work WITH you to make your business look amazing. I want to get to know you and hear your ideas. I want you to share/show me what you love so that I can create a designs that represent you and that speak to your audience in the way that you feel is important. I want you to feel proud and excited to show off your logo, marketing materials, and website. If your business needs a modern, clean and corporate look, great. If you want a fun, funky look that shows people that your approach is a little different, perfect. If you have absolutely no idea what you want or like and need some guidance, I’ve got you covered. Need related marketing professionals who do things that I don’t cover? I have referrals for you.

What do you hope to be known for in your community?

As a designer, I hope to be known as someone who is versatile and professional… but even more importantly; friendly, caring, easy to work with.

 

What is your favorite thing to do in the South Bay?

Walking the Strand. Leisurely strolls and browsing the shops on Pier Ave or Riviera Village. Sunshine drives up and around Palos Verdes to hike and enjoy the sunset. Romantic dinners with my honey. Family dinners with our three kids.
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 *To schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation for logo and marketing design, email studio@catlandrydesign.com and be sure to mention Weber Accetta Group!*

 

CONNECT WITH CAT:

Website – http://www.catlandrydesign.com/Cat_Landry_Design/Home.html

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/cat-landry-design-graphic-design-for-print-web-112189388813025/

Neighborhood Spotlight: Cedric Shen

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As your local REALTOR’s, our goal is to connect the Redondo Beach community. Each month we support and connect neighbors by sharing what they are up to!

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“Are you guys the What’s Up Redondo Girls?” – we hear a voice coming from somewhere above upon ringing the door bell. We turn around and look up to the balcony and see Cedric’s gracious welcoming smile. Off the bat, we notice his calm, friendly and welcoming demeanor as he enthusiastically shares with us the upgrades he did to his home and his love for living here. Eager to learn more about him, we ask him about what he does for a living. He humbly answers that he is an attorney and primarily practices immigration law and his passion for his work stems from his own experience becoming a US Citizen upon moving here from Canada. We could tell that he really cares about his job and the people he serves and that his own experience going through the process really helps him connect with and compassionately serve his clients. We left our first meeting with Cedric with a smile!

All our encounters since have been nothing but professional and inspiring. Cedric has a fantastic attitude, a high work ethic and is extremely professional which make us really excited to feature him on this months Neighborhood Spotlight!

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OUR INTERVIEW WITH CEDRIC:

When did you open your firm and what inspired you to focus on immigration law?  
I’ve been practicing law for over 11 years but I was always inspired to find a practice area that would allow me to help others.  I started my own immigration law firm in 2010 and as an immigrant from Canada, I had to go through the visa and green card process myself.  As a result, I was inspired to help others who wanted to immigrate to the United States.
What types of cases do you primarily focus on and specialize in?
 I primarily handle marriage green cards, employment visas, investor visas, and naturalization cases.  I particularly enjoy handling family-based cases and playing a role in helping families reunite, whether they be spouses, parents, children or siblings.
Why did you choose to live in Redondo Beach?
We wanted to to be in a family-friendly neighborhood, close to the beach, and with easy access to freeways and Redondo Beach was the perfect fit.  We love that there is a mix of sophistication with a laid-back lifestyle, and everybody we met has been welcoming and hospitable.
What about living in the South Bay inspires what you do?  
We love the diversity of the South Bay – seeing people from so many different cultures and all walks of life.  In any given neighborhood, you can find a family with young children, a friendly retired couple, or a yuppy in the prime of his/her career.  Living in a neighborhood as diverse as the South Bay has been a great experience and I know that it will only get better.
How do you see your business making a difference and impacting our local community?  
My practice can help businesses and individuals.  We often have local businesses looking to hire a foreign worker and they need a visa for the employee.  We can assess the position and the employee’s qualifications to determine whether there is a visa available.  We have also seen an influx of foreign entrepreneurs looking to start businesses in the South Bay – particularly in the tech field.  We can work with these entrepreneurs to set up a business and to secure appropriate visas to allow them to run their operations.
Anything else we should know about your and/or your business?  
As someone who immigrated to the United States, I understand firsthand the anxiety and stress that many people experience when trying to move to here.  So my job is more than just applying for visas on behalf of a client, but to also be there as a counselor, confidante, and a friend.  Seeing my clients’ dreams of living here is rewarding and something I couldn’t put a price on.
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For a complementary 15-minute phone consultation with Cedric about immigrating to the United States call (310) 591-8200 or email cedric@maxlawinc.com.

CONNECT WITH CEDRIC:

Website – www.maxlawinc.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/maxlawinc

Twitter – @ImmigrateMaxLaw

Neighborhood Spotlight: Lend A Hand Club

As your local REALTOR’s, our goal is to connect the South Bay community. Each month we support and connect neighbors by sharing what they are up to!
This month we are featuring Lend A Hand Club
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We wanted to learn what the Lend a Hand Club was all about so we rolled up our sleeves and spent a Sunday morning volunteering with them. What we experienced was inspiring! The club meets most Sunday mornings at their fearless leader, Jack’s house on Stanford Ave. They gather for about an hour assemble sandwiches, mix juice and organize their blankets and donations. The morning was  full of camaraderie, collaboration and energy. Kids gathered around a table swiping peanut butter and jelly, passing supplies from one to the next, all in the spirit of accomplishing their goal to put good back into the world. Once the last sandwich was wrapped the all the juice mixed we packed up the cars and headed out.
Here is where our time with the Lend A Hand Club was surprising. We have always heard giving out food on skid row is a humbling experience and it is, it makes you thankful for everything and everyone you have in your life. That we expected. What we were not expecting was witnessing the immense amount of leadership displayed by this group of high school students. The group was fearless in their interactions, handing out water, juice and sandwiches all with a smile. There is a sense of comfort and ease with the students you can tell their fearless leadership is a direct result of the guidance and protection of our neighbor Jack. He has been organizing Sundays just like this for at least 15 years. He is not only known in our neighborhood for doing so, but known among the inhabitants of Skid Row. He has a presence of a leader and a protector, with him it is apparent the students are free to come into their own as leaders and a source of inspiration. We were so inspired by this group and hope you are too!
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Our interview with Lend A Hand Club’s current President, Margot:
When was Lend a Hand Club created and how did it begin? 
Lend a Hand Club was created about 7 years ago when Sarah  who had been going to skid row with Jack through his Church started this club at Mira Costa to give more students the opportunity to experience what she had experienced. After a few years the leadership graduated and the club fizzled out. Since my older brother had been in this club I knew about it and really wanted to be a part of it so I decided to start Lend a Hand Club again and establish it as an active club at Mira Costa.
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What does Lend a Hand Club do?
As often as we can we take trips to skid row handing out sandwiches, lunch foods, clothing, shoes, blankets, and anything else we have to donate. We raise funds in order to continue paying for these trips, and we often do projects that come from Jack’s suggestions, like the Book Drive.
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How does Lend a Hand Club acquire food and goods? 
Students from Mira Costa raise funds through bake sales and donations, but we are always looking for more ways to raise funds and reaching more people who may want to donate.
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What do you see possible for the future of Lend a Hand Club and members involved?
Lend a Hand Club is looking at pairing up with a mission down town, and also starting a mentor program with Middle Schools kids who go to Teen Center so we can show them how their actions can make a difference in their community.
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How does Jack’s involvement in the club inspire all of you?
Jack Talerico is hands down the most generous person I have ever met in my life. He would donate the shoes from his feet or the coat from his back without thinking twice. He inspires me more and more every time we meet up. He is so kind and incredibly wise, always giving us advice for how to better ourselves and our community. I often feel like I need to write down everything he tells me because of the value of everything he says. He teaches me to be more generous, patient, and kind, but mostly he stresses the importance of listening to others and showing them that they are important which is something we can practice on our trips to skid row.
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How can the community support Lend a Hand Club?
Any donations at all are extremely appreciated, whether its blankets, clothing, shoes, food, money to buy food, socks, or hygiene items like deodorant, soaps, or feminine products.
Items can be dropped off (in the bed of the pickup truck in driveway) at: 1135 Stanford Ave, RB 90278
To donate you can purchase a Lend A Hand Club t-shirt HERE!
People can also get involved with coming downtown – volunteers are ALWAYS welcome.
Contact Jack to volunteer or with any questions: 310-683-9383