Santa Monica has a lot of choices to offer residents whether it is for their healthcare needs or other social services they may need. This year’s Santa Monica Cares Festival which was sponsored by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce (SMCC) highlighted many of the City’s offerings in these areas.
This is the first year the SMCC combined their annual health and non-profit festivals which meant there were about 75 booths for residents and others on the Third Street Promenade to visit on May 2.
SMCC member Gary Loeb was awarded the 2009 Jean McNeil Wyner Volunteer of the Year award during the event. Loeb is the President of Chezgal Merchandising Creations which specializes in creating, designing, manufacturing, and merchandizing promotional products for all industries and sizes of businesses. SMCC President and CEO Laurel Rosen told the Mirror that Loeb is a dedicated ambassador to the community and never says no when asked to contribute.
Jean McNeil Wyner received the SMCC Volunteer of the Year Award last year and it was decided at that time that the award would be renamed after her.
Many of the non-profits that participated are based within Santa Monica’s city limits and have participated before. These NPO’s decided to return because they have found it’s a great way to get the word out about the services they have to offer. The services offered covered a wide range and most of the non-profit representatives the Mirror spoke to stressed that they have seen an increased demand for their services due to the poor state of the economy.
Virginia Levanas who is an Employment Specialist with Chrysalis told the Mirror her agency has seen a 40 percent increase in demand for their services due to the recession. According to their literature, Chrysalis is “dedicated to helping economically disadvantaged and homeless individuals become self-sufficient through employment opportunities.” She also noted that during this recession her agency is seeing a different type of client. They are now seeing people who have “owned their own house, got laid off and haven’t looked for work in 20 years.”
The Mirror also spoke with Adrienne M. Lao who is the Director of Public Relations and Foundation Communications for Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital. They will be opening the Renee and Meyer Luskin Children’s Clinic at Santa Monica-UCLA and Orthopaedic Hospital on May 13. The clinic will focus on orthopaedic outpatient procedures for children such as fractures, sports medicine, congenital and developmental orthopaedic problems as well as the many other orthopaedic ailments that impact children.