Kids Turn Out for Life Walk

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By Isiah REYES

The second annual Foothills Life Walk on Nov. 16 encouraged high school students to come out and learn about local community organizations, as well as giving them the chance to win a car.

Two groups of students, one from Verdugo Hills YMCA and the other from La Cañada City Hall, began walking at 10 a.m. to Rosemont Middle School where they found several booths from local organizations such as C.E.R.T. and City of Glendale Youth and Family Services.

“The whole purpose of the event is just to get kids connected to the resources that are available,” said Mark Yeager of the YMCA of the Foothills. “So we give away a free car to get them to come.”

Yeager said it’s always a friend who helps a friend who’s in need. So the students who showed up formed a relationship with someone who can help them out or a friend.

“It’s just a real small effort on our part to let them know there’s resources here when they’re backed up against the wall and when they think they don’t have any choices,” said Hank Paz, an organizer who helped set up the event. “We should get that message out and save one or two lives. We’ve lost too many kids up here on the hill so it doesn’t matter what end of the valley you’re from, you’re valuable to us. We’re just trying to reach out. That’s all we’re doing.”

Once they arrived, each student was given a ticket that would be used for the drawing of the free car. They received a second ticket for completing a Life Walk card stamped by all Life Skills fair contributors.

Bob Smith Toyota and the Foothills YMCA sponsored the vehicle, which was a 2008 Ford Eclipse with 60,000 miles on it.

At 12:16 p.m., Yeager pulled out the winning ticket. The winner was Bryan Kim, a junior from Crescenta Valley High School.

“I’m shocked,” Kim said. “I never thought I’d win this car. I really like it.”

The event will take place again next year giving more teens the opportunity to connect with their community.

Photos by Isiah REYES

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