As it has done for the last six years, the Church in Ocean Park honored some of the “best hearts and brightest lights” in the community with Communitas Awards on Sunday night, September 11, a dinner at the church.
M.C. for the evening was State Senator Sheila Kuehl.
The activists who were recognized for “their commitment to elevating community were Torie Osborn, executive director of the progressive Santa Monica-based Liberty Hill Foundation, local architect Mario Fonda-Bonardi and teacher/artist Sylvia Gentile and and educators Chris Chapple and Maureen Shannon-Chapple.
Osborn, who recently stepped down from her post at Liberty Hill, is known in the wider Los Angeles community as a coalition builder and funder of various progressive causes throughout the region.
Fonda-Bonardi has been an advocate for affordable housing, preservation of the Shotgun House in Ocean Park, and has served as a soccer coach and active parent in local schools.
Active on feminist issues, Gentile has run her own artistic banner business, been a vocal coach for local schoolchildren, and teaches at the highly regarded University Elementary School.
Chapple is a scholar, specializing in world religions and spiritual traditions. He heads the extension programs at Loyola Marymount University. Shannon-Chapple is a teacher who uses principles of non-violence and ecology in the classroom.
The honorees’ discussion of their ideas of community and the means of achieving it, was a highlight of the evening, which also included a buffet dinner and music.The evening’s proceeds will help underwrite the maintenance of the Church’s three historic buildings in Ocean Park, and its ongoing programs in the community.