2017 #Pride58

Ziba Beauty (Artesia)

December 2017

Ziba Beauty

Ziba Beauty's first business was located on 186th and Pioneer in Artesia. Today, Ziba Beauty currently has thirteen studios in Los Angeles and one in the Bay Area serving 60,000 customers a month.

Kundan Sabarwal founded Ziba Beauty in 1985. Her daughter, Sumita Batra, carries on eastern beauty traditions as well as the family business as CEO. Through Ziba Beauty, Sumita Batra's and Kundan Sabarwal's curiosity and passion for authentic eastern beauty traditions, introduced the Art of Threading™ to the United States 30 years ago.

Like her mother, Sumita's sense of community is strong, and one of her passion projects as been Senhoa, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to combating human trafficking through long-lasting partnerships. Sumita has donated office space for Senhoa to operate in California, and a percentage of proceeds from retail sales go to support the organization. Two years ago, she traveled to Cambodia to support the organization in their efforts and meet the affected women.

Sumita lives in Artesia with her husband of 27 years and their three children, Maya, Kavan and Hansa. The family is a longtime supporter of the Distinguished Young Women program and still actively involved in the community. Their "Pioneer" spirit captures the essence of the Pride of the 58th!

Bell Gardens High School Environmental Club (Bell Gardens)

December 2017

Bell Gardens High School Environmental Club

The Bell Gardens High School (BGHS) Environmental Club is a group of senior year, college bound students who advocate for environmental justice policies, clean resources, and beautification projects in all spaces, on and off campus, so people can live pollution free.

On campus, the club was able to get 20 recycling bins donated from their City Council after they expressed the need to ensure all items like paper, plastic and boxes are recycled. The money made from the recycling is used for a scholarship, which is awarded to 1 or 2 seniors on their way to college.

The club members have also worked with environmental non-profit, Heal the Bay, to participate in one of the biggest volunteer events in the world, the Coastal Clean-up Day. At this event, they were interviewed by the local KTLA 5 news channel and were trained to be site captains to help educate groups of over 200 volunteers and explore more about clean water advocacy.

As members of the Smoke-free South East LA Coalition, the club, along with the American Lung Association, played a large part in the passing of a city ordinance, writing letters to elected officials and meeting with City Council members, to ensure that public and recreational spaces become smoke-free. The BGHS Environmental Club is a prime example of youth taking an interest in their community and engaging others along the way. They also prove that you are never too young to have pride in your community.

Oliver Jimenez (Montebello)

November 2017

Oliver Jimenez

Oliver Jimenez began his journey as a community volunteer at Montebello High School in ASB. He became inspired to expand his involvement into the community and in 2013, co-founded the Montebello Youth Leadership Club. More affectionately known as MYLC, the club educates and empowers youth through community service and civic engagement.

Oliver works diligently to get out the vote and inspires youth to register to vote. As an active MYLC member, he attends public forums and has face-to-face meetings with elected officials to raise concerns and educate them on issues in his city. Some of his most recent efforts have been involved in participating in Beautification Day, volunteering at the "Christmas at the Cannon" food and toy distribution, and coordinating a meeting to discuss public safety issues with the Mayor, Fire, and Police services.

With Oliver's leadership, MYLC continues to grow and increase their efforts to create a new generation of leaders.

"Oliver embodies the ideals of leadership, passion, devotion, and commitment to helping the youth of Montebello. Through the MYLC program, he has donated many hours of his time to volunteer in community events and serve as a role model for the youth. He really has made a positive impact in Montebello," says fellow MYLC member Jennifer Gutierrez.

Ray Hamada (Bellflower)

October 2017

Ray Hamada

Ray Hamada, is a long-time resident of Bellflower and an active volunteer in the community. After retiring from a career at the City of Irwindale, Ray directed his passion for serving others to the Bellflower Kiwanis Club in 2009. He has volunteered countless hours supervising and transporting local youths to access services to keep them off of the streets and out of trouble.

Ray's dedication to service eventually elevated him to the position of Lieutenant Governor of Division 13 of Kiwanis International. During his tenure as Lieutenant Governor, he received the Hall of Fame Award.

Ray sets an example as a leader. He is always the first to open the Kiwanis Hall when it is needed, and is the last one to leave after activities are over. Ray's dedication to making Bellflower a better place to live, and for making meaningful impacts in the lives of its young community members is truly something to be proud of and demonstrates that anyone can find a way to educate, empower and engage their community.

PICO Project (Pico Rivera)

September 2017

PICO Project

People Initiating Community Outreach (P.I.C.O.) Project is a community-based and environmental organization founded in the City of Pico Rivera and serves the surrounding areas. P.I.C.O. Project focuses on preparing individuals to advocate for themselves and their neighbors, engage in community service, and initiate personal and collective change. While promoting lifestyles rooted in sustainability, health, and consciousness. Through discussions, workshops and events, P.I.C.O. Project creates teaching and learning circles, where individuals share knowledge to become healthy, well-balanced, and informed community members.

Over the past two years, P.I.C.O. Project has worked with the City of Pico Rivera to inform the community on sustainability and health. Pico Rivera's Summer Street Fest was an avenue to educate the community. P.I.C.O. Project was able to exhibit sprouting demonstrations, Do-it-yourself (DIY) garden and composting displays, and organic cleaning products. Additionally, the P.I.C.O. Project encouraged the community to garden at the Pico Rivera Community Garden. Through this effort, P.I.C.O. Project was able to educate and mobilize groups about the benefits of natural and sustainable gardening. Participants were also taught and received assistance on building barrel gardens, compost barrels, and aquaponics displays.

The P.I.C.O. Project also hosts a variety of programs that provide a sense of community and empowerment. "What's Up Innovators?" one of their many programs, brought activists together to share information in 2017.

P.I.C.O. Project has also become a hub of information and training. Through their social media, the group promotes local government programs/events, workshops, DIY projects, environmental updates, and much more.

Karishma Muthukumar (Cerritos)

August 2017

Karishma Muthukumar

Karishma Muthukumar, an extraordinary Whitney High School student and resident from Cerritos, started Synapse in 2015, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring interest in neuroscience and scientific innovation. Synapse, which has been recognized by neurologists internationally, has been featured at ABCUSD’s STEM Olympics. The nonprofit is known for launching a partnership with the local brain injury center, allowing high school students to form lasting friendships with survivors of brain injury.

Karishma’s passion for neuroscience and service is evident through her research that aims to provide a voice for paralyzed patients. She’s lectured at Stanford University, and MIT, as well as numerous international pediatric conferences and state-level competitions.

As the leader of bimonthly neuroscience workshops at the Cerritos Library, she facilitates the exploration of the brain and beyond. She has previously hosted the first neuroscience exhibit at the library in celebration of Brain Awareness Week, featuring booklets and informational tri-fold posters on a variety of topics. She is an inspiration to the community.

Matthew Trejo “Bubbles 4 Breast Cancer” (Downey)

July 2017

Matthew Trejo was only 9 years old when he found out his aunt, Michele Frantz, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, his aunt, Michele, survived the battle against breast cancer.

This event, however, “made a lasting impression on him,” said Martin Trejo, who is Matthew’s father.

Matthew asked his father if he could dye his hair pink in support of breast cancer research. Martin challenged his son to find other avenues to support breast cancer research.

It was at that point that Matthew thought of selling bubble gum to his peers as a way to gather donations. Matthew thought of bubble gum in part because bubble gum is pink, which is the color largely used to represent breast cancer awareness and research.

Now, three years after his initial idea, Matthew is still committed to his cause. He stands outside his school several days a week and sells bubble gum for 25 cents apiece.

“Bubbles 4 Breast Cancer” could not be possible, however, without Matthew’s classmate, Aron Smulovitz, who also dedicates his time after school to raise money.

Matthew and Aron have collected over $2,200 to date. “Bubbles 4 Breast Cancer” has even gained the attention of mainstream media, including Ryan Seacrest and Double Bubble. Double Bubble has provided over 32 pounds of bubble gum to keep the boys successful in their efforts. Matthew and Aron donate all the proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the largest breast-cancer organization in the United States.

Antonia Lupercio (Commerce)

June 2017

Antonia is involved with the “Embajadoras,” a volunteer group that works to promote the library’s functions and give input to the Commerce Library’s many programs and services. Antonia started to get involved in the group where her children participated in the library’s Summer Reading Club.

Embajadoras was established in 2000 and they are responsible for spreading the word on the library’s various programs. They meet once a month and volunteer their hours and help big events such as the library’s Food for Fines, an event in November, where library patrons can pay their overdue fines by donating canned foods for families in need.

Outside of her work with Embajadoras, Antonia has been a PTA President at her daughter’s school. Alejandra is committed to not only better her children’s education, but all children’s education in her community. She also sits on the library commission for the City of Commerce. They have monthly meetings to make sure the community’s needs are being heard. Most recently, she helped organize a “Know Your Rights” forum organized by the library and the United Farmers Workers Foundation.

“People recognize her in the community as a resource. She is not only a resource, but makes sure to pass on the knowledge she knows to others,” says Evelyn Diaz, Literacy Program Manager at the Commerce Library.

Robin Snow

May 2017

Robin is a long-time resident of Bellflower, where she currently devotes her time as a member of the Bellflower Family Lions Club and sits on the Board of Directors for the Bellflower Chamber of Commerce.

Outside of her leadership with the Lions Club and chamber, Robin has organized a highly successful Christmas program at Bellflower Hollywood Sports Park for the past 5 years. She has been involved with Hollywood Sports for well over 15 years and is currently their Director of Community Events.

The annual Christmas program provides toys for kids, a visit with Santa, and a breakfast for families recommended by the school district and local churches.

Robin is also involved with Arts Aloud Theatre Group, a local organization devoted to providing a path to the performing arts for teens ages 13-18 of various ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The organization’s operations rely on donations and Robin is in charge of all the organization’s fundraising.

Beyond her commitment to the theatre, Robin is a partner in a small family-owned business, StoneBridge Funeral and Cremation Services. She and her husband, Bob, have been happily married for 37 years and have two daughters and three grandchildren together.

Robin is a regular volunteer with the Neighborhood Watch Program and regularly attends city council meetings. Robin’s motto is, “I like to give to the community that gives to me.”

Joe Kaprielian

April 2017

Pride58 #Pride58 Joe Kaprielian Assemblymember Christina Garcia

Joe Kaprielian, now a freshman at Standford University, founded his own non-profit organization, Joe’s Organization for Youth (JOY) at the age of 16.

Growing up as a resident of Montebello and attending school in Pico Rivera, Joe’s grandfather taught him the importance of giving back to those in need.  With the help of community partners and his family, Joe founded his organization, JOY at the age of 16. JOY’s mission is to help foster the individuality of underprivileged youth so that they have the necessary tools to pursue their passions. 

For the past several years, JOY has provided thousands of toys during the holiday season to children in Montebello, Pico Rivera, Norwalk and Bell Gardens. JOY has partnered with organizations such as Heart of Compassion and is dedicated to fostering the creativity of young people, especially those who do not have the economic means to do so. Joe has ensured that all youth, including those who are pursuing the arts or require special needs, have the tools to pursue their dreams. Joe also regularly visits children at orphanages, both locally and abroad. More recently, Joe visited Armenia where he provided winder clothing for the children of an Armenian orphanage.

For these reasons, Joe is selected for the month of April’s #Pride58 award.

Christopher Jimenez (Montebello)

March 2017

In July 2013, Christopher Jimenez founded the Montebello Youth Leadership Club (MYLC) with the goal of empowering the community’s youth to become future leaders. His vision was sparked at Montebello High School when he joined ASB as a sophomore. By his senior year, Christopher was ASB President and was ready to bring something similar to the community where he could get youth involved.

 “Even though you‘re young, you can make a big impact,” said Christopher, who currently runs the club’s meetings and scouts events for membership to take part in. Additionally, he leads the club’s executive committee, which focuses on activities that will improve club members’ skills with speech writing and public speaking while building their self-confidence.

 “Those who have left [home] to go to college or start work have grown, they are now very involved in schools, organizations, and communities. They’re outgoing and have gained self-confidence through the efforts of the group,” added Christopher.

In total, MYLC has helped approximately 50 members give back to their community through emphasis on volunteerism and civic engagement.  The membership keeps active by volunteering, attending public forums, meeting with elected officials, and leading efforts like community cleanup and beautification days.

Christopher’s goals for the future include wanting to see the group grow in membership, but also expand into other communities. He would like to see MYLC’s efforts replicated in other communities and even throughout the state, focusing on community involvement to make our cities a better place.

Christopher works as a community service aid with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. In his free time, he likes to take pictures and he always keeps his camera with him. He photographs people and whatever else catches his eye. At the moment, he shares his photos on Instagram and is working to create a website.

Congratulations Christopher!

Lori Williams (Cerritos)

February 2017

Lori Williams

Lori Williams has been a dedicated Cerritos community volunteer since 1999. As an active member and past-president of the Cerritos Girls Softball Association (CGSA), Lori has spent countless hours on weeknights and weekends coaching teams, managing the organization's business affairs, and interacting with hundreds of players, coaches, and family members.

Lori was instrumental in obtaining important sponsorship funding from the local business community. Through these efforts and more, she has helped to provide high quality equipment while keeping participation fees affordable, which has increased participation among girls. Her overall dedication has produced one of the most successful girls' softball leagues in the area as CGSA attracts a large number of players from Cerritos, Artesia, Norwalk, and Bellflower.

Although Lori relinquished her responsibilities at CGSA in 2016, she continues to help guide board members and donates her time in support of female participation in softball. As Chair of the Legislative Women's Caucus, thank you Lori for your dedication and commitment to empowering women through sports!

Alexis Hernandez

January 2017

Alexis Hernandez

Alexis Hernandez has been serving the youth of Pico Rivera since the young age of 15. Alexis first began serving our community as a founding member and organizer of the El Rancho High School Teen Court which serves the neighboring cities of Whittier, Norwalk, Downey and Santa Fe Springs. Since joining the teen court program, Alexis has assisted over 5,000 youth to become informed and active citizens through their participation as jurors to the court. In 2014, his success resulted in becoming the statewide chairman of the California Association of Youth Courts.

Alexis’ accomplishments expand beyond the teen court program and into the youth voter education, information and registration program. Now 21 years of age, he sits on the board of the El Rancho Teen Foundation and the San Gabriel Youth Citizenship Project.

Mr. Hernandez’ ambitions, intelligence, and accomplishments make him highly deserving of the #Pride58 award.

Congratulations Alexis!