Community Success Stories
By Sean Telles
El Monte, Ca -
El Monte, Ca – Community is more than just a nice idea, it is the essential roadmap between resources and needs. The following are three local examples showing the real-world impact and benefit from knowing the people in your valley.
When Mid Valley News began a Facebook page, the idea was to disseminate information and encourage online community involvement. One important relationship blossomed through a message from the Nuvein Foundation, a local non-profit working with children and the arts. Through that initial correspondence, the President of the Foundation, Chris Trevilla, later appeared as a guest on Mid Valley Radio’s local talk show “Around the Valley.” Through this interview the newspaper and the public learned about their work with the SGV community, such as the La Puente Artwalk. On a later episode, local artists Javier Hernandez, Art Lopez, and Chris Penalber discussed El Monte’s Day of the Dead Celebration, the Nuvein Visionary Scholarship for students, and the SGV Comic festival.
Despite all this work for the community, the foundation had no space to hold monthly board meetings. However, a few weeks earlier, Longo Toyota’s community relations team, Vicki McCoy and Brooke Perez, had also been a guest on “Around the Valley,” in which they promoted many under-known resources, such as a space on their campus allocated for non-profit meetings. A quick introductory email began the process of connecting the Nuvein Foundation’s needs to Longo Toyota’s resource, and the local community can now continue to benefit from ongoing events. All thanks being active in the community.
Another positive example of community building began with the Mid Valley News meeting community leaders to make sure the newspaper’s articles weren’t missing the powerful events that sometimes fall between the cracks of larger media coverage. Through a sit-down discussion at Asian Pacific Family Center of Pacific Clinics in Rosemead with Youth Specialist Nancy Trinh, Mid Valley News learned about and covered an event from their Prevention Program called the San Gabriel Valley Youth Summit.
Among the many talented kids and community leaders at this summit, a local artist, Justine Tsay Fan, was volunteering as a mentor. Later on, Fan planned and executed a community event in Alhambra to showcase local art as well as create a family-friendly, fun-filled evening for free. Through these events this artist was at the forefront of the mind when Mid Valley News learned of Whittier’s Pio Pico State Park’s campaign to raise awareness and fundraise in order to save the park from closure. Upon request, Fan donated her time to create and revise two images which were then incorporated into publicity and education at Pio Pico State Park. Mid Valley News also published these images along with the story of the park’s history and struggle. The results were a successful fundraising effort, assistance in saving the park, and the images now sit permanently in the lobby of the state park as a tangible reminder of community spirit and success.
The last example of the impact of community began at Pio Pico State Park when board member, Victor Ladesma, learned of this newspaper’s interests in important community stories. He then shared his contact information for the Vet Hunters, which he learned about at his local chapter of the American GI Forum. Joe Leal, President of Vet Hunters, then appeared on “Around the Valley,” where he shared, among other impactful actions, his organization’s support for an upcoming three day veteran event in Whittier Narrows. However, his dedication exceeded his resources and there were worries about food stocks.
When “Around the Valley” radio co-host and Rosemead Kiwanian, Art Landing, learned of this need, he immediately began making phone calls. Through Rosemead Kiwanis leadership and contacts, combined with local business involvement, such as Walmart and Denny’s, veterans did not have to worry about hunger pains as they learned about resources available to them over the three day event. What a tasty bite of community connection between resources and needs.
The amount of good work and donated time in the San Gabriel Valley is one of the least published attributes, which make our area one of the best places in the world to live. The next time you look at the mountains and hills that cup us into a valley, or plant something into the richest soil around, I hope you’ll remember these examples and continue being involved to making our community better for everyone.