Summer YDA is off to a great start!

Sharefest’s Summer Youth Development Academy kicked off this week with more than 240 campers eager to learn, play, and work together during their sessions at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Middle and high schools students were split into groups and participated in numerous activities, from team and leadership building exercises to writing classes, swim lessons, dodge ball, and more. Check out a few moments from this week’s camp!


Students receive a YDA bag on their first day which included an Under Armour T-shirt donated by Clayton and Ellen Kershaw of Kershaw’s Challenge.


Campers learn to work together as a team to complete activities.


Our amazing counselors lead and work with students throughout the week.


Students work together on their creative writing assignments.


Swim lessons—a highlight of each day as students work to improve their swimming skills.


Youth had a blast during the dodgeball tournament, and also learned important lessons about teamwork.


Campers meet with their groups and counselors at the end of the week to talk about what they learned.


A friendly soccer match breaks out during free time.


Sharefest Executive Director Chad Mayer sends student off with a high-five.





Local Graduating Students Encouraged with College Scholarships


Each year, Sharefest and its partners seek ways to encourage Los Angeles-area youth in their educational pursuits—challenging them to finish high school well and actively pursue their college dreams.

Yet for many, the college dream can seem daunting, particularly due to expense. But reports continue to prove that higher education is a worthwhile investment. In fact, Americans with four-year college degrees made 98 percent more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree, according to the Economic Policy Institute (New York Times, “Is College Worth It,” May 27, 2014). To help ease some of the financial concerns and encourage students that a college degree is attainable, Sharefest frequently seeks ways to raise funds toward college scholarships.

In April, with the support of Council District 15, Sharefest and its partners collaborated to create the Humboldt Bus Crash Relief Fund that raised close to $40,000 for the 26 survivors impacted by the horrific crash that took the lives of 10 individuals. And on June 4, Sharefest and Councilman Joe Buscaino surprised two Banning High School students at their graduation ceremony with $5,000 each in scholarships toward college. Karen Duarte and Johnathan Gutierrez will both attend Humboldt University this fall, and are survivors of the crash. These scholarships were possible thanks to the support and generosity of Councilman Buscaino, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Phillips 66, Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, and more than 100 individual donors.

“On behalf of Sharefest and many community partners, we want to recognize you and reward you for keeping your eye on the prize in the face of adversity. Please accept this $5,000 academic scholarship and know that your community will always do whatever it takes to help you succeed,” said Councilman Buscaino as he presented the checks. (Watch the scholarship presentation.)

Several high school seniors from the Wiseburn, Redondo, Torrance and Culver City school districts were also encouraged in their college dreams thanks to Balfour Beatty Construction (BBC), who awarded a total of $4,000 in scholarships to five exemplary students. Recipients were selected for their strong academic performance, service in the community, and for demonstrating leadership, teamwork, responsibility, and integrity. These students each plan to continue to serve a impact their communities in college and beyond.

“These scholarships epitomize Sharefest’s mission of creative collaboration for positive community change,” said Chad Mayer, Sharefest executive director. “By combining our efforts, we can maximize our impact. Thanks to our generous partners and donors, the funds we raised through the BBC golf tournament and Humboldt Bus Crash Relief Fund can now help these students pursue their educational goals and one day become leaders in their communities and businesses.”



2nd Annual Golf Tournament Raises More Than $80,000

It was a beautiful day on the green on Friday, April 25, as nearly 200 participants and supporters turned out for the 2nd Annual Balfour Beatty Construction/Sharefest Golf Tournament. Together with their sponsors and supporters, they raised more than $82,000 toward projects at the upcoming Sharefest Workday, a community-building service day benefiting schools and communities across the Los Angeles area, as well as the Sharefest Youth Development Academy. The tournament took place at the Skylinks Golf Course in Long Beach, followed by a dinner and awards banquet.

“Along with our company’s contribution, we had the support of 46 contractors, consultants, and vendors who helped us set a new bar for giving back to the communities where we all work,” said Tom Schlegel, senior program manager for Balfour Beatty Construction and the company’s Sharefest Project coordinator. “Not only did we greatly exceed the amount raised from last year’s tournament, our cumulative involvement has afforded us a tremendous sense of community pride. The net results of the monies raised will be used to improve the lives of thousands of people who live in these communities—something all of us will cherish and remember for years to come.”

The funds raised through the event will support four Sharefest Workday projects taking place on Saturday, May 3, at schools in the Redondo, Torrance, Culver City and Wiseburn school districts. On that day, more than 350 Balfour Beatty Construction employees, contractors, vendors, site staff, students, family and community members will work to help complete the projects, including landscaping, painting buildings, mural painting, and other upgrades. Additional funds will go toward Sharefest’s Summer Youth Development Academy, which provides academic and extracurricular programs to underserved middle and high school students.

“Thanks to BBC’s ongoing generous support, we continue to make a tangible difference in our communities,” said Chad Mayer, executive director of Sharefest. “With their help, the Workday projects we will complete at schools throughout Los Angeles County will not only beautify and improve the campuses, but also inspire communities to take pride in the places they learn, live, and work.”

This marks the fifth year Balfour Beatty Construction has joined Sharefest for a hands-on partnership, and the second year that additional financial support was provided through the golf tournament.



About Balfour Beatty Construction:

An industry leader for more than 80 years, Balfour Beatty Construction Services 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 sector. With more than 3,000 employees across the U.S., the company has been cited as a Top 10 Domestic Building Contractor and Top 10 Green Builder by Engineering News-Record. The company is part of London-based Balfour Beatty plc, a global infrastructure services business operating in more than 80 countries, with a worldwide commitment to providing assets that help societies function, develop, and thrive.









Thanks to Kershaw's Challenge our Youth Development Academy Expands to Patton High School


Through the generous support from Kershaw's Challenge, led by Clayton and Ellen Kershaw, Sharefest recently extended its Youth Development Academy after-school programming at Patton High School in Harbor City. The program launched February 13 and will provide after-school classes for numerous deserving students this year in the areas of Leadership Development, Art Education, Service Learning, Physical Education and CAHSEE Prep Math and English.

According to Bill Steuwer, a social studies teacher at Patton High School, continuation schools are highly effective in fostering a small-school learning environment for students who have fallen behind academically or don't fit into a traditional learning environment. However, a significant challenge remains. It is difficult to offer and administrate the classes needed to meet the 230 credits required to graduate. That's where Sharefest's YDA program comes in.

"We are extremely grateful to have Sharefest offer programs to our school," said Steuwer. "This year, along with many wonderful classes, Sharefest is helping to address a big need in preparing students for graduation."

"Thanks to the support from Kershaw's Challenge, we can now provide much needed programming for the students at Patton High School," said Chad Mayer, Sharefest executive director. "We can't wait to see how these classes help prepare them to be successful not only in school, but as future leaders in our communities."


Remembering Janet Shour…A Local Hero.

It is with a sincere and heavy heart that we report our dear friend Janet Shour passed away last Monday. She loved and touched everyone that knew her. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Harbor Gateway Community as we mourn with them. Janet was named “Pioneer Woman of the Year” by Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino this year and the new Harbor Gateway pocket park was named in her honor. Her quiet strength and great resolve will be remembered by all that encountered her sweet spirit. We love and will remember you forever Janet. We know that you resting in peace with your Heavenly Father.

Born in Point Marion, Pennsylvania, on April 13, 1929, Janet Shour moved to Los Angeles in 1950 and settled in the Harbor Gateway. In 1963 she graduated from the Harbor College nursing program and worked at Torrance Memorial Hospital for 25 years until she retired in 1991. Since her retirement, she has been a very active volunteer in the Harbor Gateway community, the Police Advisory Board, LAPD Harbor Division, Wilmington Lion's Club and the Harbor Gateway food bank. She has dedicated much of the last two decades of her life providing youth in the Harbor Gateway a solid foundation to achieve their potential. Since 2006, following the shooting of 14-year-old Cheryl Green, Janet, together with her best friend Mary Ann Cyphers, founded and led the monthly "Mother's Meeting," now called the "MAC Meeting," as a way to inform and problem-solve in the community.  In 2012, Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino chose Janet as his Pioneer Woman of the Year, "not only because of her love and compassion for her community but for her selfless involvement in the community. This is what makes her so special to us," he said. The Los Angeles City Council annually honors fifteen women of achievement from each of the fifteen Council Districts who have made exceptional contributions in service of the community. On March 22, 2013, following years of advocacy, the City of Los Angeles opened a new "pocket park" in her neighborhood in order to create green spaces that provide opportunities for safe and secure recreational and social gatherings. The park was named after her, "Janet Shour Playground at the Harbor Gateway Pocket Park" and is achieving exactly what Janet wanted: increasing property values, reducing crime, providing a place where low-income families can have a sense of community, and most important, offering recreational opportunities for at-risk youth so they will stay out of gangs and counter other negative influences. While Janet had no children of her own, all of the kids in the community called her "Grandma." 

"Janet is the most humble and hard working woman you will ever meet," said LAPD Sgt. Catherine Plows during the unveiling of the park name at the opening of the park. Janet was preceded in death by her husband Maurice Shour and her brother Donald Doyle. She is survived by her sister-in-law Toshiko Doyle, her nephew John W. Doyle, numerous cousins, countless friends, neighbors and members of the community who will miss her dearly. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Healthy Start Program at the 186th Street Elementary School, 1581 W. 186th St., Gardena, CA 90248.

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