Beyond the Bell, Howard Serpas
Beyond the Bell’s vision is for every child and youth to have a safe place to be in the presence of a responsible, caring adult while engaging in activities that support achievement and promote social, emotional, physical development beyond the regular school day. In collaboration with community partners, the program ensures that all children and youth in the LAUSD have access to high quality, safe, and supervised education, enrichment, and recreation programs that engage and inspire learning and achievement beyond the regular school day. Howard’s vision and tireless support has enabled LAFC and the LAFC Foundation to partner with Beyond the Bell on numerous projects including the building of futsal courts, shoe giveaways and soccer clinics. We are honored to recognize Beyond the Bell’s Regional Director, Howard Serpas as our Community Spotlight recipient presented by Target.
Black & Gold Running Club
The Black & Gold Running Club was started in 2019 organically by one of our supporters, Neal Tyner, a member of the Empire Supporter Group in The 3252. The Running Club meets 1-2 times a month to organize group runs around Los Angeles. They have run at Griffith Park, Silver Lake Reservoir, and Downtown LA just to name a few spots. Everyone is welcome to join, no matter how seasoned or inexperienced you are at running. The Black & Gold Running Club is for every LAFC fan! Follow them on Instagram & Twitter to find out when and where their next run will be @BlackandGoldRC. Run for LA Football Club Ole! We are honored to recognize the Black and Gold Club as tonight’s Community Spotlight presented by Target.
SEE-LA, Stephen Gutwillig
SEE-LA’s mission is to build sustainable food systems and promote social and cultural activities that benefit both low-to-moderate income residents of Los Angeles while also supporting California small and mid-sized farms and local small businesses. SEE-LA is a leading Southern California nonprofit organization, connecting people to healthy food, promoting economic development, and building sustainable food systems. They operate the largest network of mission-driven farmers’ markets in Los Angeles as well as programs that provide nutrition education, food access, and opportunities for small regional farms and local food businesses to thrive. LAFC and the LAFC Foundation partnered with SEE-LA and other organizations to execute a farm box program that supported food access in South Los Angeles during the COVID-19 pandemic. This partnership conducted nine veggie box donations at Banc of California Stadium, providing over 12,000 boxes of fresh produce to families in need while supporting local farmers. We are honored to recognize SEE-LA’s and its Executive Director, Stephen Gutwillig as our Community Spotlight recipient presented by Target.
South LA Cafe, Celia and Joe Ward-Wallace
South LA Cafe’s mission is to build community through coffee, culture and connection. South LA Cafe is a community space to take pride in the history, legacy, and future of the South-Central Community. Celia and Joe started the South LA Cafe because, after decades of living in a food desert, they wanted fresh, affordable and healthy food options for themselves and their neighbors. They are committed to bringing the same quality food and drinks found in other neighborhoods to the South LA community. They are also committed to becoming a central hub in the community where everyone will know your name, and where you will feel a sense of belonging. LAFC and the LAFC Foundation partnered with South LA Cafe and to execute a grocery box program that supported food access in South Los Angeles during the COVID-19 pandemic. This partnership conducted 2 grocery box donations at South LA Cafe, providing over 300 boxes of fresh produce to families in need. We are honored to recognize South LA Cafe and its co-owners, Celia and Joe Ward-Wallace as our Community Spotlight recipient presented by Target.
Kaiser Permanente, Jenny Cruz, RN
Kaiser Permanente provides primary and specialty care to patients of all ages. When younger patients face more serious health care needs, members can count on compassionate, high-quality care in Kaiser Permanente’s highly specialized Pediatric Care Centers. Thanks to a wide array of pediatric health care professionals, world-class facilities, specialized care teams, and a family-focused approach, children get the right personalized care for the healthiest possible outcomes so they can thrive. As a registered nurse in pediatric oncology, Jenny believes that it is her job to take care of the entire family. It is her job to comfort not only the child but the parents as well. They are all on this journey together. She has been drawn to pediatrics because she feels that children are so resilient. And, their energy and positive spirits inspires her to do her best every day. LAFC has partnered with Kaiser Permanente to raise awareness about childhood cancer and empower kids with cancer through sport. During the month of September, we will focus on several events to bring greater awareness to the disease and highlight the warriors that have fought or are currently battling childhood cancer. We are honored to recognize Kaiser Permanente registered nurse Jenny Cruz as our Community Spotlight recipient presented by Target.
Athletes in the Making, Victor Murillo
Athletes in the Making is dedicated to providing the youth of America with teamwork, sportsmanship and learning experiences through sports participation. Athletes in the Making believes that all children should have the opportunity to reach their physical potential. They also believe promoting healthy lifestyles nurtures and enhances the mind. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Athletes in the Making has handed over 500 sports balls to kids that have been forced to stay home. They have driven around neighborhoods, mailed out to kids they had met on Instagram, set up and handed out on multiple streets around the East Los Angeles and Northeast Los Angeles. Athletes in the Making worked with the 3252 and handed out sports equipment to the farm workers in Oxnard as well as visited a center in Echo Park that had been set up for virtual learning and donated soccer goals, a basketball court and balls for every student. We are honored to recognize Athletes in the Making and its founder, Victor Murillo as our Community Spotlight recipient presented by Target.
LAFD, Engineer Robert Medrano, Fire Station 15
Robert Medrano has been a member of the Los Angeles Fire Department for nearly twenty years. He is currently an engineer assigned to Fire Station 15, serving the community of University Village, between Downtown and South L.A. His primary responsibilities include driving and maintaining the fire apparatus, monitoring safety threats for his teammates, and most importantly, securing and operating the water supply at incident sites. Engineer Medrano recently returned from a 10 day deployment to the frontlines of the Santa Clara Unit Complex Fires in Santa Clara County. He is currently assigned to the Bobcat Fire through Sunday, 9/27, helping to cut defensive fire lines for at-risk communities. Engineer Medrano is one of five exemplary LAFD members who will be honored in November at the LAFD’s annual VALOR ceremony for firefighter who perform courageous acts above and beyond the call of duty. Engineer Medrano resides in Norwalk. He was ecstatic to be nominated for this opportunity because he and his family are die-hard LAFC fans! We are honored to recognize the Los Angeles Fire Department and Engineer Robert Medrano as our Community Spotlight recipient presented by Target.
Edger Tapia decided to become a teacher after volunteering as a coach for a local high school. He loved it so much that he decided to go back to school and become a physical education teacher to help kids develop a love for sports and fitness. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Edger Tapia continues to find ways to keep his students engaged and active via virtual learning. He teaches his students about fitness by having them read and perform tasks as best as they can through distance learning. Edger Tapia has always loved how LAFC provides an inclusive environment and tries to make each new season better than the last. He has met so many new faces by being an LAFC member, and his favorite moment thus far has been signing his and his family’s name into the concrete of the groundbreaking event. We are honored to recognize Edger Tapia as our Community Spotlight recipient presented by Target.
Our Own is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Their mission is to build and strengthen communities through consistent, life-changing experiences. Our Own creates access to resources for mental, physical, and emotional health to support the underserved. These tools empower people to reimagine themselves and impact their community. The initiatives they have created such as Be Right Back, Keep It Run Hundred, Seed & Soil and SELF provide the access needed in underrepresented communities. Communities served include, Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Compton, Watts, Long Beach, Inglewood and Altadena. Our Own understands that the limited access to mental, physical, and social emotional resources increases stress and trauma, which drastically stifles the opportunity for growth in the community. They believe engagement and a relationship built through experiential learning and actionable tools empowers the community to make informed choices and reclaim their future. LAFC has partnered with Our Own to elevate the importance of registering to voting while educating Angelenos on the importance of voting. We are honored to recognize Our Own and its co-founders Dustin Young and Lee Johnson as our Community Spotlight recipient presented by Target. We thank you for your commitment to Los Angeles.
EmpowHer Institute’s mission is to empower girls and young women in marginalized communities by helping them gain the skills necessary through education, training and mentorship to become confident, college and career ready. EmpowHer Institute is dedicated to serving teen girls in under-served communities. They partner with middle schools in high-need areas to deliver our programs to girls that need it the most. They provide continued support to alumnae as they navigate through high school. Los Angeles is the second highest leading producer of dropouts in the nation, with about 32,000 non-graduates a year. This dropout epidemic is particularly devastating for African-American and Hispanic students. Their programs are designed to help teen girls overcome many of the negative challenges that contribute to these statistics. EmpowHer Institute believes that by reaching teen girls in middle school we can give them the tools they need to develop self-esteem, cope with challenges, and stay engaged in school so that they ultimately graduate from high school with a clear vision for their future. We are honored to recognize EmpowHer Institute and its founder/CEO Betty LaMarr as our Community Spotlight recipient presented by Target. We thank you for your commitment to Los Angeles.
Vincent Cortez served in the Marine Corps for 6 years and was stationed at Marine security force Bangor, Washington for his first 2 1/2 years. He was then stationed at Camp Pendleton, California with the 1st Marines 5th Battalion. His battalion was always on the move around the world. He came home in 1990 and met his wife (Renée) 3 months later, and now have 3 sons and a daughter. They are season ticket members and bring family and friends to the games on regular basis so they can experience the atmosphere and see how special this club and fans are! Vincent believes that experiences with LAFC are one of a kind. We are honored to recognize Vincent Cortez as our Community Spotlight recipient presented by Target. We thank you for your commitment to Los Angeles and thank you for your service.