By Kelcie Pegher, The Beach Reporter
The healthy and mighty on Aviation Boulevard have a new place to fill up their water bottles, thanks to the 2015 class of Leadership Redondo.
The class will dedicate its project at the former Aviation High School on Thursday. The project includes two drinking fountains and a refillable water bottle station, as well as a mural for the surrounding area.
Susan Anderson, who headed up the project called Activate Aviation, said this year's leadership class visited several different entities to learn about the inner workings of Redondo Beach. Among those included the Beach Cities Health District, West Basin Municipal Water District and Northrop Grumman.
At Beach Cities Health District, the group learned about the Blue Zones Project, which promotes health in the beach cities. At the West Basin Water District, they learned more about recycling and waste. And at Northrup Grumman, they saw how the organization had installed water refilling stations and handed out reusable water bottles. The project at Northrup Grumman was a huge success, Anderson said.
“We wanted to do something that focused on health and encouraging people to use the refillable water bottles cuts down on the plastic in the ocean, and also encourages people who are using that facility—especially kids—to drink water as opposed to sugary beverages,” she said.
The location, along Aviation Boulevard, was also right.
The group wanted to do a project in North Redondo, said Cheryl Kahnamoui, who was also in the Leadership Redondo class.
“We saw a need and we wanted to do something in North Redondo Beach,” she said.
The program, which lasts for 10 months and costs $795—including materials, lunches, and graduation—typically brings together civic minded individuals. Kahnamoui, who works for the Chamber of Commerce, said she joined to learn more about Redondo Beach.
“Because I work in Redondo, obviously working for the chamber, I thought I knew a lot about Redondo,” she said. “I learned how much I didn't know.”
Anderson said as the director of the library, she joined after seeing Leadership Redondo's 2014 class revamp the children sections for the city's libraries.
“For me, as the library director, it really helped me meet other people in the community who I could have partnerships with,” she said.
Arnette Travis, who is a vocal proponent of the upcoming waterfront project, said she started being active in city politics and was eventually asked to join Leadership Redondo.
“It gives you a good idea of the inner workings of the city, which I knew I needed,” she said. “It was really fun because you go in with a blank slate, pretty much.”
She said it was interesting to see how everyone interacted—some people in the class who are more shy came out of their shells over the 10-month period, she said. The class also teaches exactly what it says: leadership.
“One of the best things about Redondo and Leadership (Redondo), is they're really preparing people—that whole thing is very illuminating. It doesn't matter what you do in life, at some point you kind of have to take the bull by the horns, you have to take a leadership role,” she said. “It's a good training ground for that.”
Travis said she's excited about the project in part because of the synergy between different organizations in Redondo Beach. She'd recommend the program to everyone.
“It instills more civic pride. I know it definitely has in me,” she said.
To view the full Beach Reporter article, click here.