A Week of Creativity, Learning, and Service: Summer YDA, Week 2

Week two has flown by, and it has been an incredible week of learning at Session 1 of the Summer Youth Development Academy. Students further explored what it means to be a leader and uncovered how they can use their strengths and gifts to lead. During their classes, students practiced expressing thoughts and ideas creatively through art and writing projects. Swim lessons and team-building activities allowed time for students to get active while having fun. And high school students heard from special guest speakers, including Joyce Sharman, wife of the late Bill Sharman, 10-time NBA Champion, and Chris Wilson, field representative for Assemblymember Mike Gipson. On Thursday, students learned to lead by serving during a day of giving back to the community. Check out some of this week’s highlights in the photos below:


YDA Service Day: Students arrive at Wilmington Senior Center ready to help beautify and clean the space to create a refurbished, welcoming environment for community members. Thanks to Phillips 66 for generously providing funds to allow us to complete this important work!


Students eagerly jump into their work at the senior center, knowing they are making a tangible difference for the community of Wilmington.


Students chat with local residents who will benefit from the work they completed.


During an art lesson, students decorate the covers of their creative writing journals as a way to express who they are through art.


Together, the students’ journals create a mural, designed by local artist, PeQue.


High school students work on creating a point of view presentation board to highlight a need in their community.


Enjoying lunch, thanks to our friends at Chick-fil-A!


Joe Buck, a USC and RUHS alumnus and professional basketball player in Europe for 11 years, stops by for lunch with students who sold 10 or more Toyota Opportunity Drawing tickets and encouraged them to reach for their goals and persevere!


Check back for additional YDA updates and be sure to follow Sharefest on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more YDA news. #SFYDA






Learning to Lead: Summer YDA, Week 1

Session one of the Summer Youth Development Academy began on Monday, July 6, with 118 middle school students and 26 high school students. Students had a blast enjoying the week’s activities, from team building activities and leadership sessions to basketball and swim lessons. Check out a few highlights from the week!


Students arrive at California State University, Dominguez Hills for the first day of Summer YDA.


Students learn what to expect throughout the week and about YDA’s focus on service through leadership.


Through team building activities, students learn to work together to achieve a goal.


The high schoolers hit the courts for a quick game of basketball.


During a session on leadership, middle school youth discuss skills they see in leaders.


Students bond during swim lessons.


Gabriela Medina, field deputy for Councilman Joe Buscaino, speaks with high school students about getting involved in the community and being leaders for positive change.


Pilar Hoyos from Watson Land Co. shares her leadership story with high school students.



A special visit from Anthony Pirrozi and his team from Boeing closed the week. They inspired middle schoolers by teaching them about satellites, sharing personal stories about how they got where they are today, and demonstrating how rockets work by creating water bottle rockets. The kids had a blast!


Check back for additional YDA updates and be sure to follow Sharefest on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more YDA news. #SFYDA






Students Take the Lead in Workday at Jane Addams Middle School

On May 2, nearly 3,000 volunteers turned out at sites across the Greater Los Angeles area to bring about positive change by providing renovations and improvements to 38 schools, community centers, and neighborhoods. At one school in particular, Jane Addams Middle School (JAMS), students took the lead to coordinate their Workday site, from pitching the project, to raising funds, to facilitating the work on May 2.

Under the guidance of their language arts teacher, David Navarro, 26 students wrote business letters and presented their project proposal to representatives from Lawndale Unified School District, Sharefest and King’s Harbor Church. In addition to their efforts for bringing positive change to their school, these assignments allowed them to apply writing and presentation skills, putting their learning into action and practicing key life skills.

“My goal is to teach my students how to have a goal, develop a plan, and execute their plan using many of the skills they have learned at school,” said Navarro."They have written descriptive paragraphs about the various proposed projects, written business letters, created presentations using Google Slides, and presented to a group of adults. The commitment, enthusiasm, and professionalism of my students have been very exciting and encouraging!”

The students’ letters brought in support from local community businesses, including:

  • More than $600 in donations from King’s Harbor Church
  • $1,500 in donations from Jane Addams ASB
  • $400 for plants from Sharefest
  • Coffee for Workday volunteers from Starbucks in Lawndale
  • Lunch for volunteers from Chick-fil-A in Hawthorne
  • Snacks for volunteers from CostCo in Hawthorne
  • 20-gallons of paint from Dunn-Edwards Paints in Lawndale
  • Garden soil, mulch, a planter box, and landscape fabric from Lowes in Hawthorne
  • Mulch from Travers Tree Service in Lomita

The also pooled together 250 volunteers from several organizations, in addition to JAMS students, staff, and families. Volunteers participated from King’s Harbor Church, South Bay Church of God, Girl Scouts, Undivided, LA25 Foundation of the Arts, and The Olson Duncan Agency.

As a result of their efforts, numerous projects were completed at the school, including painting at the entrance, student store, and several other key areas; cleaning in the preschool classroom, computer room, and more; weeding and planting throughout the school; and creating a vegetable garden for the preschool students.

“This was a huge undertaking that took many months to organize. I am really proud of my students for their commitment and hard work. They are an inspiration to me,” said Navarro.


Record-setting Golf Tournament

The sky was clear and the weather beautiful as 160 golfers headed onto the course for the third annual Balfour Beatty Construction/Sharefest Golf Tournament on April 17 at the Skylinks Golf Course in Long Beach. The team at BBC, along with their sponsors, surpassed the amount raised last year and brought in a record $100,050 to support the 2015 Sharefest Workday.

“Balfour Beatty Construction models what it means to give back to the communities they work in,” said Chad Mayer, executive director of Sharefest. “We are thrilled to partner with them again this year for Workday, and their generous support and strong volunteer workforce will positively impact learning through revitalized facilities at these schools.”

Funds from this year’s tournament will support revitalization and beautification projects at local schools in Culver City, Redondo Beach, Torrance, and Wiseburn, including Alta Vista Elementary School, Birney Elementary School, Culver City Middle School, Da Vinci Innovation Academy, Lincoln School, TUSD District Offices and more. Any remaining funds will be directed toward Sharefest’s Youth Development Academy to further support education.

“We are elated to host the Balfour Beatty Construction Golf Outing for the third year in row,” said John Bernardy, senior vice president, Balfour Beatty Construction - Los Angeles/Orange County. “I couldn’t be more proud of the construction community that came together in such a big way by raising even more money than last year. The effort is a true testament of our employees’, sponsors’, contractors’, consultants’, and vendors’ commitment of beautifying and improving the schools and neighborhoods where we all work.”

Additionally, Ben King at BBC personally raised more than $83,000 in in-kind donations for projects that will be completed in the Torrance Unified School District. Ben’s passion for service is infectious. He desires for everyone to understand the joy of serving others, and leads his project sites with enthusiasm. “Last year, after my Sharefest projects ended and everyone had gone, to see the completed project left a feeling of pure happiness inside my heart. It felt so good to see that the hard work had paid off,” said King.

About 300 BBC employees will volunteer at this year’s Workday to see these projects through to completion. It’s sure to be another incredible year of community change as a result of their contributions.

Watch a recap of this year’s golf tournament and view the photos:



About Balfour Beatty Construction US:

An industry leader for more than 80 years, Balfour Beatty Construction US provides general contracting, at-risk construction management, and design-build services for a wide variety of markets, serving clients in both the public and private sectors. The company is the U.S. subsidiary of London-based Balfour Beatty plc (LSE: BBY), a leading international infrastructure group that finances, develops, builds and maintains complex building programs focused on social and commercial buildings, power and utility systems, and transportation. Consistently ranked among the nation’s largest building contractors, Balfour Beatty Construction Services US has been cited as a Top 10 Domestic Building Contractor and Top 10 Green Builder by Engineering News-Record. To learn more, visit








Committed to Community Collaboration

Eleven years ago as Sharefest was establishing its mission and vision, Cornerstone Construction Group, Inc. came alongside to help support a significant community project. Through their resources and volunteers, Cornerstone provided the essential coordination and construction management for the Morrell House restoration project in Redondo Beach.

Now, in 2014, this mission-oriented company led by Vic and Linda Braden continues to walk alongside Sharefest and support its people and programs, including a generous $25,000 sponsorship at the recent fundraiser dinner.

“Vic and Linda and the team at Cornerstone have played a significant part in many of our projects over the years,” said Sharefest Executive Director Chad Mayer. “We share a passion to see our communities thrive, and I am so grateful for their continued partnership and support.”

Sharefest’s focus on community collaboration is one of the features that first inspired Cornerstone to get involved. “Cornerstone’s mission is to honor God through service. In construction, we work to help clarify a vision, find an attainable solution, and manage the process to realize that vision. By partnering with Sharefest, we can help achieve their goals by constructing or improving parks, schools, community centers, and community gardens,” said Linda. “My favorite was the Harbor Gateway/Cheryl Green Center. This was a community that had no open space or parks for the kids; they were in constant fear of gang violence. We helped take a dead-end street and turn it into a place for kids to enjoy.”

In addition to service projects, Vic and Linda strongly support the youth development programs and Sharefest’s efforts to help underserved youth see their potential as future leaders. “There is still so much to do, and there’s a great need in the community for the service that Sharefest provides,” said Linda. “Cornerstone plans on continuing our partnership with Sharefest because our service missions are so closely aligned. We look forward to seeing many more young lives touched and changed toward a brighter future.”

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