May 2017

Bulletin Subscribe

Subscribe to our eBulletin and stay up to date on the latest news and events.

Club Information

Welcome to the Friendliest Club in District 5280! Come and Enjoy a Fabulous Lunch and Great Fellowship.


Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 12:10 PM
Crowne Plaza LAX Hotel
5985 W Century Blvd
Los Angeles, CA  90045
United States
District Site
Venue Map
Follow Us On Facebook!
Facebook Plugin
Home Page Stories
For several years the Rotary Club of Westchester has been changing lives in our community with our "Extreme Home Makeover Project". Our Rotarian volunteers, along with partners in our neighborhood, spend a long weekend completely renovating the home of a deserving homeowner or family. Past recipients have included the elderly, disabled, terminally ill and, in 2015, the Westchester Senior Center. This February, we have set our sights even higher. We will be renovating Safe Place For Youth (S.P.Y.) in Venice. 
This year, our Makeover project will be at S.P.Y. in Venice.  They are a wonderful organization that provides critical services for homeless youth in West Los Angeles.  We will be upgrading their facility as well as providing money to expand S.P.Y.'s job training and placement services.
Our volunteer weekend will be Feb 16-20.  We'll be doing lots of cleaning, painting, and planting.  To participate you can sign up at
Just as importantly, we are looking for donations to make a S.P.Y. an even more welcoming place.  You can find our "Wishlist" at Every little bit helps!
Please join us in honoring a great friend of the Club and our community, Garrett Smith. It will be a night of fun and celebration, with all proceeds going toward our local and international projects.

Tickets are $100. RSVP to Cindy Williams at or 310-600-6196.
Join us for a fun night at the Comedy & Magic Club where we celebrate our Citizen of the Year and raise money for our local (Home Makeover, Vision to Learn, college scholarships, literacy, etc.) and international (End Polio NOW, clean water, maternal health, etc.) projects.

Contact Cindy Williams ( or 310-600-6196) for tickets and sponsorship opportunities.
Attention High School students in Westchester, Playa Vista, Playa del Rey, and Venice.  Rotary is sponsoring an arts, dance, music, and speech contest on February 6th.  Winners will receive $125 and the chance to compete for $1000.
Contact Sharma Henderson (310 649-1016, for more information.
The Westchester Rotary Club is proud to announce that this year's makeover project will be at the Westchester Senior Center!  We'll be remodeling the kitchen, brightening things up and a whole lot more.  Our goal is to make the center a more inviting place for our seniors and the community.
We'll be working on the center at the end of April, with our volunteer days (painting and gardening) being May 2nd and 3rd.  For more information, write to Warren Bobrow at
Stay tuned for more information here and our our Facebook Page (Rotary Club of Westchester).
Want to donate to the project?  Click on the button below.
Please join us on Feb 28th as we honor Alison Hurst, Executive Director of S.P.Y. (Safe Place for Youth) for her great work in our community.  We'll be at the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles International Airport Hotel, 5985 W. Century Boulevard, Los Angeles.  Dinner tickets are $75 per person.  All proceeds go to benefit international and community (like S.P.Y.) projects.
For more information contact Cindy Williams (310) 568-1024 or
Our Club could not be any prouder of Cozette who has been selected as the 2017-2018 District Governor!  No one works harder or delivers more for our District than Cozette and she will be an amazing leader of 5280.

Safe Place for Youth (SPY) is a nonprofit near and dear to the Westchester Rotary Club.  SPY works with homeless youth in Venice and provides three core areas of service provision: street outreach, drop-in center and case management.  The drop-in center provides food, clothing, hygiene products, Internet access, mail and phone services as well as mental health, health and wellbeing programs. 

A couple of weeks ago, SPY’s storage unit was damaged by an enormous fire and eight firefighters were injured fighting the blaze. The non-profit lost their supply of new underwear, socks, and warm winter clothing that the homeless youth desperately need especially since the winter months are approaching.

The Westchester Rotary Club is holding a donation drive at Sifted:LA in Westchester (6259 W. 87th Street, Westchester, CA 90045) on Saturday, December 6th from 11am-7pm.  Please contact us if you are able to donate any gently used winter clothing, new underwear, socks, sleeping bags, warm blankets and hygiene products or you may also make monetary donations to the Westchester Rotary Foundation and the funds will be forwarded to the SPY. 

Thank you!

Please make plans to join us on November 12, 2014 from noon to 1:30pm at the LAX Crowne Plaza when LA Country District Attorney Jackie Lacey comes to Westchester Rotary to make the annual Courageous Citizens presentations.  These awards go to people in our community who have who have acted with courage and at considerable personal risk to help a victim of crime, assist in the capture of a suspect or testify in the prosecution of criminals.
The cost is $23 (includes lunch and validated self-parking).

For reservations, please contact Rowena Ake at (310) 502-9991 or Bob Smith at (310) 493-3835 by November 2, 2014.
The 32nd Annual Holiday Home Tour is Sunday, November 2, 2014 from 11 am to 4 pm.  5 beautiful homes in Westchester and Playa Del Rey will be featured.
See the attached flyer about how you can support this great event.  Proceeds benefit Airport Marina Counseling Service, a private, non-profit outpatient mental health clinic.
We recently welcomed a new member, Stuart Buchbinder.  He's pictured here being inducted by PDG Rick Mendoza with his sponsor, Kim Williamson, looking on.
Progressive Dinner Sunday August 10, 2014
Dear Westchester Rotarians,
Thank you so much for changing my life. I was first exposed to your magnificent club one decade ago as a 9th grader attending Westchester High School. Almost immediately, something about being part of a community that cared about volunteering and the four-way test truly resonated with me. Jim Hill quickly became a mentor to me as I took on the role of president of the Interact club upon entering my sophomore year. Facilitating a stronger connection between Westchester Rotarians and Westchester High School students was our goal, and through pancake breakfasts, a couple of Extreme Home Makeovers, and did I mention pancake breakfasts? … he and I melded our communities.
That same year marked another milestone in my life. I was finally old enough to join Westchester’s Youth and Government Delegation – and BOY was I excited to finally join the “big kids.” Thirteen year old me witnessed my older brother join Youth and Government, and knowing that I had another two years before I could join meant a painstaking countdown for my friends and for me! From the time I was in middle school until my first year of Youth and Government, my perception of the program and its delegates was that it was a mark of adulthood. Youth and Government meant, “You made it” and “Adult life here I come.” At that time, the program served 10th through 12th graders, most of whom had drivers licenses, part-time jobs, and were old enough to begin worrying about adult things like studying for the SAT.  
As I participated in my first ever Youth and Government meeting, I distinctly remember that we began with an icebreaker. I was nervous, yet excited. I saw an opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and knew I was in a safe space where others would challenge themselves to do the same. As a member of “forum,” where all the 10th graders were placed, I opted to test out the waters as a lobbyist. Inspired by my peers, overwhelmed by our surroundings in the CA state capital, and thrilled to spend so much time with fellow delegates, our trip to Sacramento was one of the neatest weeks of my 15 year-old life. The Westchester tradition is to end the week in Sacramento with a friendship circle. It was here that tears were shed, memories shared and stored, and many a person’s fate sealed as we nominated one another for various leadership positions within the delegation.
I was nominated to run for Parliamentarian, and parliamentarian I became. From enforcing Robert’s Rules to teaching the delegation the proper format for our bills, this experience triggered my interest in the nuances of the political process. The Youth and Government program gave me the ability to explore in a hands-on fashion, the intricacies and importance of the democratic process. In a very real sense, Youth and Government taught me the ropes when it came to advocating for my community and speaking up for our values. Whether it was engaging in debate diplomatically or using proper syntax when formatting policy papers, the skills I learned on the job traveled with me to future leadership roles in college and far beyond.
The story of the relationship between Rotaract and the Youth and Government program is truly a story of shared values. Both programs foster in their members a desire to seek the truth, to advocate for fairness for all concerned, to build goodwill amongst the community, and to create something truly beneficial for all concerned. The four- way test is one of the greatest gifts I ever received. Programs like Youth and Government gave me good practice exercising these values while growing up, which allowed me to apply them in future phases of my life. Like so many of my Youth and Government peers, upon entering college I decided to run for student government. My goal in running my campaign as a third-party candidate was to bring awareness to the fact that many individuals in student government were not acting honestly or in a way that was fair to all concerned. Ending my year as a student senator, campaign finance reform (yes, even colleges need it!) became my legacy. The hope being, of course, that leveling the elections playing field would build good will and better friendships, which if you ask me, is absolutely beneficial to all concerned.
So why are these various milestones in my life worth mentioning on this stage tonight? My answer is simple. It’s because Youth and Government teaches young people in our community that their voice matters and that they bring a worthy perspective to the table, even when it’s not the popular opinion. And each of you fit into that equation because you’re making it possible each and every year. I’m simply one example of someone that benefited from the program but there are so many thousands of others all over the country, who can thank you for providing the resources necessary to keep this program alive and well, so that it may continue to act as the catalyst for paradigm shifts, aha-moments, community building, intellectual expansion, and self-esteem boosting.
Today I am the Communications Director at the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce and spent the last two years as a volunteer advisor for the Youth and Government program. I would consider my re-investment in my community the by-product of your investment in me ten years ago. Regardless of the fact that many of you don’t personally know the recipients of your generosity, you understand the importance of continuing the cultivation of your local youth because you understand that many of them will be leaders in this very community. Your investment in me, and thousands like me is felt in boardrooms, in City Halls, in non-profit work, in scientific research labs, and beyond. Like the old adage goes, “to keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it” and I am here tonight to thank you for providing that oil, to keep that lamp burning each and every year for the Westchester Youth and Government program.
New members Melanie Perry and Grace Yao have earned their badges and they were presented to them by President  Heather last Wednesday.

We recently welcomed Grace Yao to our Club.  Grace is the Director of Community Relations at Loyola Marymount University.  Pictured with Darin Early (also of LMU), President Edgar Saenz, and Senior Assistant Governor Jerry Brown.



Congratulations to Judy Delavigne for receiving an RI award for her work in Vocational Service at last weekend's District Conference. We are very proud out you!


Cozette Vergari was recognized at last weekend's District Conference for putting on the Paul Harris Celebration. An award well earned!



Westchester Rotary worked with Clubs throughout out district to collect items for S.P.Y. (Safe Place For Youth), including personal hygiene products, jeans, sleeping bags and other items to help homeless youth.  Thank you so much to District 5280 Rotarians in helping us in this effort.


  Thank a firefighter and a peace officer.

   On May 7, 2014, two great clubs team up to honor local protectors.  The Westchester Rotary Club and the Inglewood Rotary Club will hold a rare joint meeting to thank cops and firefighters from our communities for the their service.

    Luncheon meeting starts at 12:10 p.m. at the LAX Crowne Plaza.  Tickets for non-members are $25 (includes 3-course lunch and validated self-parking).  Contact Christa Haggai-Ramey ( or Jaimee Sul Cantrell ( for more information and reservations.Image

Last week our Club brought food and served meals at SPY (Safe Place for Youth) in Venice.  SPY is a drop-in center for homeless youth where they can come for food and services to help them get off of the streets.


Donna Lee Oda is the Director of the Center for Creative Professions at Otis College of Art and Design.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, and her Master of Education degree in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland, College Park.  Before coming to Otis, she worked in Career Services at Mt. St. Mary’s College and LMU, in Education Opportunity Program at UC Santa Barbara, and in academic advising at University of Maryland.  At Otis College, she and her staff help students prepare for internships and full-time employment in the arts.  She has been married to Alan Oda for 15 years and is the proud mother of Andrew who attends El Marino Language School, and Peter who attends Culver City Middle School.  She is honored to be a member of Westchester Rotary.

Allison Knight is the Creative Action Coordinator at Otis College of Art and Design.  She is an accomplished Photographer and Designer whose images are widely published in various on line and print articles.  Allison earned her Bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Barbara in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in communications, psychology and film.  Though never a Rotarian, Allison has been connected to Rotary though different avenues.  Allison’s grandfather, Joseph Knight, was a past president of the Hawthorne Rotary Club and, in 2009, Allison participated in the GSE (Group Study Exchange) program, traveling to Korea.


  WGEM and Tanyss Munro and The Amarok Society:

  Our club was privileged yesterday (Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014) to hear a true story of possibility and hope.  G.E.M. Munro described a program that he and his wife, Dr. Tanyss Munro, conceived and executed in the worst of the worst, the poorest of the poor, the slums of Dhaka Bangladesh.  The idea is radically simple:  teach illiterate mothers to teach their children.  His program is replicatable anywhere in the world.  His speech should be given to every Rotary Club and board meeting in the world.    

    The club's senior member said that G.E.M.'s program was possibly the most fabulous and important program he had ever heard in his 50 years in Rotary.  

Please join us on Saturday, April 5th as we honor the memory of Alan Cassman as our 2013-2014 Citizen of the Year.

The event will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 5985 W. Century Blvd in Westchester.  Tickets are $75 each.  Cocktails at 6, Dinner at 7.  Entertainment is provided by the Ry Bradley Band.

All proceeds from the tickets and auction go towards the Westchester Rotary Club's community (Home Makeover, Vision to Learn, scholarships, elementary school reading) and international (water wells, playgrounds, polio eradication) projects.

Contact Cindy Williams (310 568-1024, for ticket and sponsorship information.



We welcomed 35 Rotary Youth Exchange students (and their two counselors) from the 6 New Zealand Districts.  While here they went to Disneyland/CA Adventure, Universal Studios, and Hollywood.  They were also hosted for dinner by the St. Bernards/WESM Interact and LMU Rotaract Clubs as well as our Rotary Club.  We wish them well in their Youth Exchange Year.



We hope you enjoy the video from the 2013 Home Makeover project at the Ricks' house.  Thank you to the Rotarians, volunteers, and donors who made this possible.  Let Love Rule!

Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Immediate Past President
Club Service B
Club Service A
Community Service
Rotary Foundation Chair
Public Relations
S.P.Y. Makeover Links
Rotary Links
Five years since its debut, Rotary Club Central is getting a big upgrade
When we introduced Rotary Club Central in 2012, it revolutionized goal tracking and planning for clubs and districts — no more filling out paper club-planning forms or passing along boxes of historical club information every time a new leader took office. Rotary Club Central offered clubs and districts a quantifiable way to begin measuring local and global impact, specifically membership initiatives, service activities, and Rotary Foundation giving. But as with any technological advancement, in a few short years, Rotary Club Central began to show its age, and Rotarians took notice. They...
Rotary International Board adopts new zone structure
At its January 2017 meeting, the Rotary International Board of Directors adopted a new zone structure for Rotary clubs. Rotary bylaws require the Board to complete a comprehensive review of the 34 Rotary zones no less often than every eight years to ensure that each zone has an approximately equal number of Rotarians. The Board’s previous review of the zones occurred in 2008. The Board earlier approved the creation of three regional workgroups to develop rezoning proposals for Asia, Europe/Africa, and the Americas. These workgroups comprised one representative (either a current director,...
Centennial celebration honors 20 noteworthy global grant projects
Through The Rotary Foundation, Rotary members have supported thousands of projects that promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, save mothers and children, support education, and grow local economies. We’ve also led the fight to eradicate polio worldwide. As part of our celebration of the Foundation’s centennial, we’re honoring 20 global grant projects with special recognition. Learn more about the projects using our interactive map.
Convention: Southern hospitality
The Atlanta Host Organization Committee is offering some good old-fashioned Southern hospitality at the Rotary International Convention from 10 to 14 June. It has planned a wide range of activities featuring everything from good food and music to inspiring tours of local landmarks. If it’s your first convention, these events are chances to meet fellow Rotarians from around the world, and if you’re an experienced convention goer, you can catch up with old friends. Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron will host Rotarians for a “Strike Out Polio” night at the new SunTrust Park, where you’ll...
Member spotlight: The power of the press
When Teguest Yilma helped found the Rotary Club of Addis Ababa Entoto in 2002, she thought polio had already been eradicated from most of the world. But while Ethiopia had been free of the disease, Yilma was shocked to learn that new cases had started cropping up in surrounding countries such as Somalia. “I was thinking, it’s not possible, we can’t be free if the countries around us are not free,” she says. Yilma, the managing editor of Capital, Ethiopia’s largest English weekly newspaper, has brought a journalist’s skills to the fight against polio. She became vice chair of the Ethiopia...