Empowerment is Key

Posted by on Jun 30th, 2011 and filed under Community News, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Robin is on a much needed/much-deserved vacation. She along with her husband, three of her boys and a stowaway – my daughter Molly – traveled to Florida. Of course being Robin, she is in constant touch via phone, email and even Skype. However with her gone the job of writing her column falls to me and, to be honest, it couldn’t happen at a more opportune moment.

About a week ago Robin was called by State Assemblymember Mike Gatto’s office informing her that she had won the Women in Business Empowerment Award. She kept saying “What? I did what?” It took a while for the news to become a reality. She was surprised, as she is every time someone thanks her for starting the paper or leading Prom Plus. To her this is just something she does – nothing special – but to others she inspires and yes, empowers. It is not easy starting a business in these difficult economic times but when you are a woman it is even more difficult. Times have changed but it is still a man’s world in many ways. You may be surprised how many off-the-cuff comments Robin has received not only because she is a woman but a mom and a grandma. When this happens my feminist blood begins to boil, while Robin just stays the course, calms me down and reminds me the best way to prove the stereotype wrong is by building a strong business. This is typical of her attitude of just doing her job and why she inspires others. There are some that still don’t get how hard this job is and part of that is because Robin and I are having so much fun despite the pressure. But many, like my daughters, do see how difficult this is, who do hear some of the comments and watch Robin push on. They also see the great family she has raised and her cuddling with her baby granddaughter. My girls, and others, see all of this –that’s empowerment and that is why she so deserves this award.

I guess empowerment is a good word for this week. On Saturday The Fire House teens had a “CV Needs A Skate Park” event, which started a little rocky. The Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation were to bring a temporary skate park but at the last minute had equipment trouble so we were stuck with an empty parking lot, a ton of hot dogs and skaters on their way. The first thing I thought of was to call Steve Pierce. In Crescenta Valley when something needs to be done that is usually the first phone call made.

“What do you need for a skate park?” Steve asked. I had no idea, boxes and stuff to jump over, I guess. Steve started making calls. I thought I had better go into The Fire House and break the news to the kids. What I found were about six kids on their cellphones with Cooper Iven guiding them on who to call and what to ask for. Cooper, 16, is the main organizer of the skate park project. He and his friends didn’t skip a beat when they found out about the empty parking lot – they just went to work. We got two trucks and picked everything up and in a matter of minutes equipment was in the parking lot. Cheryl Davis and her husband brought by a handicap ramp that they had in their backyard. (That ended up being one of the most popular toys.) Susan Dubin borrowed a rail from her son. Steve helped unload the equipment and he, along with Cheryl and Susan, stayed to help. The skaters skated and Park and Rec’s Al Evans showed up to talk about organizing a park.  This is typical CV. When something needs to be done everyone pitches in but what is nice to know is that this is a tradition that is handed down. These kids did exactly what CV is known for….they volunteer their time and work together.

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