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Saturday, Sep 23, 2023

L.A. Public Utility Spreads Green With Grants

There’s money in going green. Several San Fernando Valley nonprofits have received $45,000 grants for energy and water conservation awareness from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. One of the charities to receive a grant was Pacoima Beautiful, a 15-year-old organization that’s focused on environmental education and resource conservation. Veronica Padilla, deputy director of Pacoima Beautiful, said the grant will be used to help fund a program at Arleta High School to educate students on the importance of water and energy conservation. “We can teach them about monitoring their shower time and turning lights off when they’re not in a room,” she said. “Every little bit helps.” Pacoima Beautiful has an annual budget of about $600,000 and works with more than 15,000 people each year. Gretchen Hardison, an environmental affairs officer at LADWP, said residential electricity usage in the city is more than 7.2 million megawatts per year and growing. The purpose of the grants, which totaled $765,000 citywide for 17 organizations, is to fund community-based organizations that want to educate future generations on conservation. “We’re trying to focus on behavior change,” she said. “And there’s always additional interest when it comes to kids.” Other local recipients included Pacific Lodge Youth Services of Woodland Hills, Community Enhancement Services of North Hills and Greater Community Missionary Baptist Church of Pacoima. War on Obesity “Triple Play,” a Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley program focused on obesity prevention in children, has received a $1,000 grant. The program on the campus of Canoga Park High School was awarded a HEROES grant from Youth Service America of Washington, D.C. and United HealthCare Services Inc. of Minneapolis. Fatima Gutierrez, life-skills coordinator for the club, started the program to help promote healthy living among students at the high school. The 40 children in the program get together twice a week and run at least two miles. “It’s not just about exercise,” Gutierrez said. “We’re teaching them all about healthy habits like not eating fast food, too.” At the end of the program, which coincides with Global Youth Service Day on April 16, members will participate in a run against obesity. The children will run a total of five miles to reach the program goal of 50. Michelle Pendoley, communications director for Youth Service America, said about $500,000 worth of grants has been awarded since the UnitedHealth HEROES launched in 2009. UnitedHealth HEROES grants are given for youth-led projects that fight childhood obesity through walking, running or other physical activity. “The Boys & Girls program is exactly what we look for,” she said. The Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley has more than 3,100 members between its nine sites, which include schools in Reseda, Northridge, Chatsworth and Canoga Park. Doctor’s Visit The Conejo Free Clinic has received a $50,000 grant from the S. Mark Taper Foundation. The Thousand Oaks clinic provides free medical care to residents of the greater San Fernando Valley region without medical insurance through volunteer medical professionals, including doctors from Los Robles Hospital, UCLA and Kaiser, said Teresa Seeley, executive director at the clinic. “Some of our patients haven’t seen a doctor in years,” she said. “This will have a huge impact on how many people we can serve.” The clinic was opened in 1976 and serves about 5,000 people each year with physician visits, lab tests, immunizations and imaging. It has a cash operating budget of about $500,000. The S. Mark Taper Foundation supports non-profit organizations and has grants ranging from $50,000 to more than $250,000. Staff Reporter Elliot Golan can be reached at (818) 316-3123 or egolan@sfvbj.com

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