Education, Arts & Culture

“Get Summer” at the YMCA

Take swimming lessons, play soccer, shoot hoops – these are just a few of the many fun activities that youth can enjoy at the YMCA this summer, and all for free.

YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles’ “Get Summer” initiative is offering 12 to 17-year-old boys and girls throughout the County a chance to use its amenities at no cost in June and July.

In certain areas, YMCA also partnered with the City and County of Los Angeles, as well as the Los Angeles Unified School District, to provide free meals, part-time jobs, and various programs and events exclusively for teens.

“I encourage families in the Second District to take advantage of this opportunity to keep their kids’ minds and bodies active and engaged this summer,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “The YMCA offers not only sports but also arts and crafts, and music and dance lessons for those with a creative bent, as well as activities to bolster academics and civic engagement.”

Facilities, classes, programs and meal availability vary by location. Some YMCA locations also offer childcare, preschool, tutoring and homework help, before-and-after school care, and college readiness classes.

“Get Summer” registration forms are available at all YMCA branches. To sign up, the youth must be accompanied by an authorized guardian and provide a photo ID.

YMCA locations serving residents of the Second District:

Crenshaw Family YMCA
3820 Santa Rosalia Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90008

(323) 292-9195

Culver-Palms Family YMCA
4500 Sepulveda Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90230

(310) 390-3604

Gardena-Carson Family YMCA
1000 W Artesia Boulevard
Gardena, CA 90248

(310) 523-3470

Weingart YMCA Wellness & Aquatic Center
9900 S Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90044

(323) 754-3191

Anderson Munger Family YMCA
4301 W 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90020

(213) 427-9622

Westchester Family YMCA
8015 S Sepulveda Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045

(310) 670-4316


A Visionary Educator

Remarks by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on the Passing of USC President Emeritus Steven Sample


“I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of USC President Emeritus Steven Sample, a visionary educator and friend.

“Under his exemplary leadership, USC rose dramatically in academic rankings to become one of the nation’s elite universities. His writings on civic engagement have greatly inspired me in my work as a public servant. I will always be grateful that he chaired my transition team when I was elected to the Board of Supervisors.

“On a personal note, I will always cherish our friendship, which spanned more than 25 years. I offer my deepest condolences to his wife, Kathryn, their family, and all my fellow Trojans.”


*Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas completed a Ph.D. in Social Ethics at USC in 1989.



A New Era in Education

Statement from Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on the Appointment of Dr. Debra Duardo as Superintendent of the Los Angeles County Office of Education:


Debra Duardo

Dr. Debra Duardo

“I look forward to Dr. Debra Duardo assuming the role of Superintendent of the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and continuing the important work begun by Dr. Arturo Delgado.

“Dr. Duardo is an expert administrator with years of experience in trauma-informed education systems. She will bring her outstanding leadership on dropout prevention strategies, restorative justice and special needs education – and she will put students first.

“Dr. Duardo’s appointment comes just two months after Michelle King was named Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. It is unprecedented, and remarkable, that the two largest education agencies in Los Angeles are headed by Los Angeles natives and women of color who came through the very same systems that they now govern. I can think of no better role models for our students.”

Dr. Duardo holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Doctorate from UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.


DigiGirlz Day

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ remarks at Microsoft DigiGirlz Day, part of the LA Fund for Public Education’s Girls Build LA initiative, with students from Grace Hopper STEM Academy in Inglewood and Orville Wright Middle School STEAM Magnet in Westchester:

“Welcome, everyone, to Microsoft DigiGirlz Day! Please join me in thanking Microsoft for hosting us in this wonderful space, and let’s give a big shout-out to the LA Fund for Public Education for inviting us all to be here.

“The LA Fund has done amazing things for students, providing internship opportunities, nutritional meals, wellness education and funding for arts programs. It has also launched an exciting initiative, Girls Build LA, which challenges middle and high school girls to better their communities.

“Girls Build LA is an opportunity for students just like you to identify a challenge in their communities and engineer a plan to solve it. Notice those words: Build… Engineer… Solve. I use these words deliberately because this is the vocabulary of the architect, the mathematician, the inventor.

“Nationally, women remain greatly underrepresented in the career fields of construction, manufacturing, computer science, business, engineering, and medicine. These fields represent jobs that are interesting and allow you to make a difference. They also pay very well. This matters because right here in Los Angeles, women earn only 84 cents for every dollar a man earns. And 30 percent of all girls under the age of 18 live in poverty.

“All of you get to rewrite this sad story because you attend schools that offer STEM and STEAM curricula. Your schools have hosted science-focused events such as Robotics Coding Workshops and Young Engineers’ Day.

“When we make science and math enjoyable and meaningful, we increase the likelihood that girls will continue to study these subjects in college. That’s why last October, I hosted the County’s first-ever Hackathon at the Lennox Library. South LA Hack Day featured workshops from Microsoft and other tech giants such as IDEO, CGI and NeoGov. Students got to create their own apps and share their ideas with one another. They felt inspired by what they’d learned and what they’d created.

“We’re hoping that you will feel the same way today after learning about careers in technology and participating in this afternoon’s coding session. I look forward to seeing how your ideas and your creativity will contribute to bettering the communities and the world we live in. Thank you very much.”


ET (External Tank) Comes Home

Endeavour Inglewood 055Here we go again. Four years after the space shuttle Endeavour thrilled crowds while making its way through the streets of Los Angeles, another massive spacecraft component is poised to make the same historic journey.

NASA donated its last remaining space shuttle fuel tank to the California Science Center at Exposition Park. Dubbed ET-94, the giant orange tank will be assembled with Endeavour along with twin solid rocket boosters to become the world’s only full stack space shuttle display in launch position – the centerpiece of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center opening in 2019.

IMG_2146 (1)

California Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Lynda Oschin, Supervisor Don Knabe, and Cordoba Corp. CEO George Pla

“I fondly recall when Endeavour rolled through the Second District communities of Los Angeles and Inglewood, and excitement is building again,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “We continue to make sure that math and science education is inspiring and accessible to everyone.”

“Nearly 1.5 million people came out to cheer Endeavour years ago,” Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts said. “It brought joy to everyone, young and old, and celebrated our sense of wonderment and community pride.”

STS-127_Launch_Pad_39A 3 (1)From the New Orleans facility where it was built, ET-94 would travel by barge through the Panama Canal to Marina del Rey. It would then be loaded onto a specially designed transportation device and trucked to the museum around May 21.

ET-94 is larger and longer than Endeavour but does not have wings, making it easier to maneuver on city streets. No trees will have to be uprooted along its 16.5-mile route.

Lynda Oschin, chairperson and secretary of the Mr. and Mrs. Oschin Family Foundation, said she “looks forward to joining the enthusiastic crowds” as it makes its way to the museum. California Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph said it completes the full stack space shuttle display, making the exhibit “an even more compelling educational experience.”

ET-94 was designed to propel a shuttle into orbit before being jettisoned and burning up in the atmosphere. It was built for flight but never used.

ET-94 Move Route with Directions