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Crenshaw Family YMCA gets a makeover

Kaiser Permanente volunteers paint, clean, install furniture

OW Staff Writer | 9/4/2014, midnight

Dozens of Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians will trade their stethoscopes and smartphones for shovels and paintbrushes to perform much needed renovation work at the Crenshaw Family YMCA on Saturday. This project is part of Kaiser Permanente’s employee community volunteer day events and runs from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. New carpet and furniture will be installed, asphalt patch work and replacement provided, as well as cleaning and painting—all performed by Kaiser Permanente employees.

Located on the corner of Marlton Avenue and Santa Rosalia Drive in the Baldwin Hills—Crenshaw neighborhood, the Crenshaw Family YMCA has been a pillar of the community since 1951, connecting hundreds of area residents to important resources to help them thrive. Today, the Crenshaw Family YMCA offers daycare, after-school sports, and various youth enrichment programs. These services have previously been scarce in the 2.9-square mile neighborhood.

“Without support from the Crenshaw Family YMCA, it would be difficult for my children to have the guidance, care and discipline that every child needs growing up,” noted Estela Nievez, a Crenshaw area resident who has been active in the Crenshaw Family YMCA for eight years. “As a single mother of five, working full-time, I appreciate the convenience of having several excellent quality programs available in one location,” affirmed Ms. Nievez. “My children look forward to their basketball and dance programs after school, and I am amazed to see the level of discipline and respect they are learning from the coaches and staff. The Crenshaw Family YMCA has been a blessing.”

Baldwin Hills–Crenshaw is a diverse, minority community that includes Baldwin Village, Baldwin Vista and the Crenshaw Corridor. In addition to having one of the lowest median household incomes in Los Angeles, the percentage of families headed by single parents in Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw is 31.9 percent, a rate that is high for the city and county.

“We are pleased to welcome Kaiser Permanente volunteers to the Crenshaw Family YMCA for this rejuvenation project,” said Merton Harris, executive director of the Crenshaw Family YMCA. “We are committed to providing a safe, nurturing environment for children to learn, grow and develop social skills. As a result of the work that will be performed on September 6, we will be able to accomplish our goal in an enhanced environment.”

Renovation work at the Crenshaw Family YMCA is funded by Kaiser Permanente’s National Facilities Services (NFS) department, who selected this YMCA as the 2014 site for their annual Community Volunteer Day. Saturday’s activities are a culmination of weeks of preparation that began in August.

“The National Facilities Services team is proud to donate our time and resources to support programs that create healthy communities,” said Ronald Smith, vice president, Kaiser Permanente National Facilities Services. “This project is an investment that includes more than 150 volunteers, 86 gallons of paint and nearly 3,000 square feet of carpeting, and I am so proud of the work our labor volunteers have already completed to prepare for Saturday’s event. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and working in partnership with our front-line staff to help brighten up this YMCA.”

“Community service is in our DNA at Kaiser Permanente,” said Georgina Garcia, executive director, Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center. “Since our earliest days, Kaiser Permanente physicians and employees have embraced community service as an opportunity to put their skills, knowledge and time to work enriching their communities and assisting those in need. I am honored that Kaiser Permanente’s Volunteer Day is benefiting such an important and valued community resource as the Crenshaw Family YMCA.”

The Crenshaw Family YMCA is located directly across the storied Marlton Square, a 22-acre redevelopment project that contains a parcel of land recently purchased by Kaiser Permanente to accommodate a new medical office building. The new Baldwin Hills – Crenshaw facility is expected to open in 2017. It is an extension of Kaiser Permanente’s existing presence in South Los Angeles, which includes the opening of the South Los Angeles Medical Office Building in 2011.

Volunteer opportunities for the Crenshaw Family YMCA event are for Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians ages 18 and up. To learn more about volunteerism at Kaiser Permanente, visit share.kaiserpermanente.org.