Getting involved in your community in 2023

Jan 9, 2023

Is this your year to get involved in your neighborhood? If one of your goals for the next 12 months is to get more active in the community, there are plenty of rewarding and fun ways to make a positive impact on Westchester/Playa!

Whether you’re looking to get civically engaged, give back, volunteer or meet new friends, here are some ways to connect with your community in 2023!

Run for Neighborhood Council.

Interested in making your voice heard and impacting important decisions that affect the area? Consider running for a seat on the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa (NCWP). The NCWP is an advisory board to the L.A. City Council that meets the first Tuesday of the month to hear and vote on pressing issues for  Westchester, Playa del Rey and Playa Vista. Board meetings discuss issues like development projects, airport construction, public safety and more. The NCWP also has 11 committees that meet regularly (or as needed) that the community is invited to participate in and attend.

The volunteer board is made up of 31 members that live, work, own property or are “community interest stakeholders” in NCWP’s boundaries.

This election cycle, 15 seats will be on the ballot including: Residential Seats 1,3,5,7,9,11,13 and 15; At Large Seats 2 and 3; 90094 Business Seat, Income Real Property Seat; LAX Seat; Religious Seat and the Senior Citizens Seat. Those interested in running must submit a candidate application with the city by January 10 at

Voting will take place in person or via vote-by-mail ballots. Election Day is March 26. More details on voting and requesting a ballot will be made available at

While the NCWP monthly board meeting takes place on the first Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom, due to the holidays, the January meeting has a special date of Tuesday, January 10. Items on the agenda include the SoCalGas’ Playa del Rey facility and the upcoming election.

For more information, please visit

Join a local club or service organization.

Westchester Rotarians help raise money for beautification efforts by participating in the Westchester Team Challenge.

With the amount of local clubs in the area, there’s no denying that Westchester/Playa is a community that likes to volunteer and give back. Joining a philanthropic or social club is a great way to meet people in the neighborhood who share common interests and are passionate about supporting their hometown.

Some clubs meet weekly, monthly or more sporadically depending on their missions, and most require some sort of financial commitment to help with operations or the group’s charitable giving.

Some of the area’s most active clubs include:

• Woman’s Club of Playa del Rey. This group meets monthly from September through June for a group luncheon and to update members on club happenings. The club, one of the longest running in the neighborhood, was founded in 1938 and is made up of local women who volunteer to promote “civic, cultural and education efforts in Playa del Rey, Silicon Beach and surrounding communities.” The group, which has its own headquarters on Manchester, recently hosted their second annual Holiday Boutique to raise money for high school scholarships, and they also participate in the Fourth of July Parade. In between meetings, members meet for walking groups, chats over coffee, trips and other social outings.

Learn more about the club and membership at

• Westchester Elks Lodge. The Elks are known for their yearly car show and chili cook off, as well as supporting causes dear to their hearts like Veterans’ issues and education. Once a member, you can enjoy social functions at the Lodge on Manchester Ave. in Playa del Rey and participate in meetings. If you don’t know a local Elk, you can fill out a membership inquiry form at, but you will need a sponsor to join.

• Rotary Club of Westchester. Founded in 1950, the Rotary Club of Westchester excels in do-goodery in Westchester and beyond. The club meets weekly for lunch, and also has a Young Professionals group that meets in the evenings. On any given month, the club and its members are volunteering their time to support a variety of local groups and causes from beach clean ups and collection drives to organizing WAM and giving away scholarships. The group’s major projects include the annual Book Sale over Memorial Day weekend in Westchester and its bi-annual Makeover Project. This year, the club will embark on its most ambitious makeover yet at St. Margaret’s Center. Learn more about this project and how to volunteer on page 21 and at

• Westchester Mental Health Guild. For 61 years, the Westchester Mental Health Guild has been raising money to support mental health services at Airport Marina Counseling Service, which is located on La Tijera Blvd. For decades, the Guild had a small boutique in Westchester, but in recent years they have focused their fundraising to events like the Holiday Home Tour, virtual wine tastings and more. Last month, the group held its annual Holiday Lights Tour & Contest, which featured more than 25 homes.

January is a great month to join the Guild and learn about their volunteer opportunities, since they hold their annual membership meeting on Wednesday, January 25. Members and guests will be treated to a catered lunch by Cantalini’s and will hear from featured speaker, Mishele Vieira. Vieira, an organization expert, will give a talk about getting organized and cleaning out clutter.

Memberships for the Guild start at a donation of $35 per year.

For more info about the Guild, visit To RSVP and get more info about the luncheon, please email

• The Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club. This local service group is known for “having fun and getting it done.” The club meets weekly for breakfast at Whiskey Red’s in Marina del Rey, and there’s never a shortage of volunteer or social activities on their calendar. Some of the club’s major projects include its Holiday Adopt A Family program, a pancake breakfast at Fire Station #5, and the annual Santa Tour. This month, the club will distribute thousands of dollars to local educators at its Teacher Mini Grant Breakfast.

Learn more about the club at                    

Connect with local businesses.

Business leaders network at the chamber’s recent State of LAX, which featured more than 400 attendees.
Photo courtesy the chamber.

If you’re a local business owner or manager who is interested in networking with fellow entrepreneurs, give the LAX Coastal Chamber a call to find out all the ways they support and promote their members.

The 600-plus member organization  is celebrating 70 years this spring, and they continue to regularly add new networking opportunities and events to their robust calendar. Some of the chamber’s most popular programs include monthly in-person and virtual networking events, a State of LAX lunch with more than 400 people in attendance and numerous committees that meet about a wide variety of topics from Education to Public Policy.

This month, the chamber will hold a Government Affairs Breakfast featuring Councilmember Traci Park as the speaker, celebrate the opening of the Nook Breakfast Spot with a ribbon cutting and host Protectors’ Appreciation Week. In February, they’ll hold a small business certification program, which helps entrepreneurs apply for business opportunities with the state, city and county, as well as large corporations.

Learn more about what the chamber has to offer business leaders at

Attend a community event.

Westchester/Playa has a lot of great events to check out, including the Westchester Arts & Music Block Party, which takes place in September. Photo by Zsuzsi Steiner.

Community groups and local businesses can work for months to put on quality events for the whole neighborhood to enjoy. When an event is successful and has a large turnout, more sponsors want to get involved, which creates the potential for even more events to be created!

Below is a list of some of our favorite can’t-miss community happenings by month to mark on your 2023 calendar (exact dates for events are TBD unless noted):


• Kids’ March for Equality, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. on January 16


• LMU Wine Classic, to raise money for scholarships on February 5


• LAX Coastal Education Foundation’s Rock Roll & Run, 5K raising money for local schools on March 4

• Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club’s BingoFest, raising money for community projects


• Teacher Eddy Awards, celebrating 40 years of supporting local teachers and education 

• Westchester Rotary Annual Book Sale, raising money for community projects

• AMCS Spring into Wellness at LMU, fundraising for mental health


• Fourth of July Parade, parade down Loyola Blvd. in Westchester on July 4

• Shakespeare on the Bluff, performances of classic works held at LMU


• Westchester Team Challenge, a day of friendly competition raising money for the Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association


• WAM, featuring live music, arts and a block party vibe on Saturday, September 23

• Westchester Elks Lodge Car Show & Chili Cook Off, classic cars and a chili competition at the Lodge in Playa del Rey


• Spooky story writing contest hosted by The Book Jewel


• Holiday Lights Tour & Contest presented by the Westchester Mental Health Guild, featuring local homes decorated for the holidays

• Women’s Club of Playa del Rey’s Holiday Boutique, a day of shopping local with dozens of small business vendors

• Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade, decorated boats cruise the marina

• Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary’s Santa Tour, Santa and guests tour the community with help from LAPD, LAFD and community members

To get more information on these and other events as they become available, check out our Community Calendar at

Sign up to volunteer.

Organizations like WPV offer numerous volunteer opportunities to help seniors. Photo courtesy WPV.

A key part of any organization is the support of volunteers! If donating your time, talent or treasure is on your list of resolutions for 2023, here are some organizations that always appreciate help:

• The Friends of Ballona Wetlands hold monthly restoration and creek clean up days to help revitalize this important habitat and make sure native plants thrive. Check out their website at to view their upcoming volunteer opportunities, including a Ballona Creek Clean Up and Community Habitat Restoration Day on January 14 and 18.

• In March, Clean UP Westchester will celebrate two years of helping beautify the community through little acts of kindness. Every month, a group of dedicated volunteers of all ages put on their neon yellow T-shirts and head to a local intersection that needs some TLC and get to work making the area shine. Led by longtime Westchester resident Grant Francis who started Clean UP Westchester as a way to give back to his neighborhood, the group has collected hundreds of bags of garbage along Sepulveda, Manchester, La Tijera, Lincoln and beyond. The next clean up date is January 21.

Email to learn more about this grassroots group and for this month’s meet-up location.

• Seniors can often feel isolated and alone due to limited mobility, families with busy schedules and lack of transportation. Thankfully, there are organizations like Westside Pacific Villages (WPV) who are here to help. The organization was formed in 2009, and since then, WPV has worked hard to help seniors stay active, engaged and independent in their homes as long as possible by pairing them with volunteers.

With a commitment as little as an hour a week, volunteers can help seniors with a variety of needs, including tech support, transportation to doctor’s appointments, errands, grocery shopping, simple handyman tasks, pet care or yard work. A big component of the program is also offering friendship to seniors, whose social circles inevitably begin to shrink as they get older. To learn more about volunteering at WPV, please visit or email

• Playa del Rey’s Grass Roots Neighbors (GRN) has built a passionate volunteer base ready to help feed those in need. GRN offers multiple ways to support their organization each month, whether you’re interested in donating packaged food to be assembled into bags for the families they serve; baking bread or other goodies or supporting the organization by becoming a monthly donor. Learn more at

• Over the years, the volunteers at the Emerson Avenue Community Garden (EACG) have transformed an empty plot of land on the campus of Wright STEAM Magnet into a thriving organic garden, green space and a community hub.

More than just a place to grow fruits and vegetables, the EACG always appreciates new members and those interested in playing in the dirt to keep the garden a Westchester gem. Considering volunteering for their monthly community work days where people can assist with tasks like weeding, mulching, organizing and more, while meeting other locals. Upcoming work days are scheduled for January 7 and February 4.

Learn more at or attend their Annual Membership Meeting on January 21 to get the scoop on how you can get involved.

What’s your favorite way to connect with your neighborhood? Share your tips with us at

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