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Cal State LA, Speaker Rendon honored by YMCA for strengthening communities

May 3, 2019

By Jillian Beck | Cal State LA News Service

Cal State LA and California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon were honored Thursday by the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles for their work to strengthen communities.

The university and Rendon received the Strengthening Communities Award at the Southeast-Rio Vista YMCA’s 2019 Strengthening Communities Gala & Silent Auction at the downtown Los Angeles Athletic Club. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the community by individuals and organizations.

“We look forward to more years of collaboration, we look forward to more innovative approaches to the challenges faced by the communities of the Southeast, more opportunities to improve the futures and the well-being of our people,” Cal State LA President William A. Covino said at the May 2 gala.

Rendon, Cal State LA and the YMCA have been collaborating on higher education, arts and culture, and community engagement initiatives to support youth and their families across Southeast Los Angeles.

“All the YMCA does for our constituents, for our district is incredibly important to me, so this is a tremendous honor,” said Rendon, whose 63rd Assembly District includes the Southeast-Rio Vista YMCA.

Achieve LA, launched in 2017, is a partnership between Cal State LA and the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles that creates pathways to higher education for youth in L.A.’s most underserved communities who participate in the Y’s Urban Initiative: Cradle to Career Success program. Achieve LA is also supporting youth and their families through initiatives promoting civic engagement and academic enrichment.

The Southeast-Rio Vista YMCA is one of the locations where Achieve LA is offered, along with the Weingart YMCA Wellness and Aquatic Center in South Los Angeles, Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA and the Crenshaw Family YMCA.

The Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State LA is a governing board member of the SELA Collaborative, a group of nonprofits and other local organizations that aims to strengthen communities in Southeast L.A. through community engagement and economic development initiatives. The Southeast-Rio Vista YMCA is a member of the collaborative.

The Pat Brown Institute recently worked with students in the Southeast-Rio Vista YMCA Youth & Government Program to host two forums for candidates vying for the Los Angeles Unified School District 5 board seat.

During the forums, students served as event volunteers, panelists and moderators, questioning candidates about pressing issues affecting their education. Candidates discussed their positions on topics such as class size, charter schools, equity in academic offerings and opportunities for Dreamers to attend college. The Pat Brown Institute organized the forums with the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles and the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles.

“Cal State LA is proud to be partnering with Speaker Rendon and the YMCA to enrich the lives of our youth and their families in the communities we serve,” said Jose A. Gomez, Cal State LA executive vice president and member of the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles Board of Directors.

Photo: Cal State LA President William A. Covino accepts the award at the Southeast-Rio Vista YMCA gala. (Credit: Robert Huskey/Cal State LA)

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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 28,000 students and has more than 245,000 distinguished alumni.

Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit