Leadership Redondo Class of 2011 promotes vitality
Outside the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore in North Redondo, next to a bustling road of congested traffic and honking horns, are five new bike racks. The metal racks were put there to encourage community members to forget their car and opt for an environmentally friendly bicycle instead. The racks outside the bookstore are thanks to the Leadership Redondo Class of 2011. The 14-member all volunteer group, made up of a variety of professionals who live and work in the city, decided to use their year’s project to promote vitality and healthy living within the city. To do that, they decided to implement a twofold project; installing 40 bike racks around the city and recruiting 4,500 new members to sign up for the Blue Zone Project.
“One’s about getting healthy and one’s about moving naturally and improving bike-ability in the city,” said Aaron Benton, the Special Education Director in the Redondo Beach School District and member of the 2011 class.
The class was approached by a variety of community groups which have ongoing projects throughout the city. For the 2011 class, the possibility of paring with the Beach City Health District and Vitality City Blue Zones was an excellent opportunity to make a difference.
“It’s unique to have a project in town [that] is really trying to help people in the South Bay change their lifestyles ever-so-slightly by doing easy things,” said 2011 class participant Christian Anthony Horvath. “We felt [the project] would have a long-reaching affect on the community as a whole and could also affect individuals on a daily basis.”
They decided to install bike racks because some members noticed a lack of them around the city. “And if there were [racks] they were aging and dilapidated,” said Horvath.
It also helped that the city council had previously approved a city-wide bike rack style and was currently pushing a more bike-able city by redesigning Harbor Drive and implementing bike-friendly road changes. Because of those factors, the class decided they would raise money to help make the city promote their goals for a healthier community. According to Horvath, each bike rack can cost from $500 to $700.
Since pairing with Blue Zones, the group’s recruiting goal has almost been met. Members have recruited 4,000 new Blue Zone members and have installed 10 bike racks. However, according to Benton, they are far from finished.
“By the end of August we hope to have 30 more [bike racks] installed throughout Redondo Beach in various locations,” said Benton. At the moment, they have five outside the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore and five at the Galleria Mall. They also hope to install some in South Redondo at the Catalina Coffee Company, at Captain Kidd’s near the pier and in the International Boardwalk Plaza.
To raise more money for the racks and to recruit more Blue Zones followers they have been attending community events to help spread the word. In addition to recruiting people via their presence at events, they have also organized a fundraiser, “Red Hot Night of Comedy and Music,” at Brixton on the Pier on August 18 at 7 p.m. “It should be one wild night,” said Benton. They will also have a booth at the Redondo Pier’s “Summer of Music” concert on August 16 at 6 p.m. If they raise enough money they hope to install more than the 40 bike racks they were originally aiming for.
“The project is something that could easily be carried on by a future class,” said Benton. “There’s so much you can do, it could just keep going and going…and ultimately I want people to remember our project for what it’s linked to, health and the Blue Zones project and improved bike-ability.”
Classes before them have done many projects around the city. Previously they have fundraised for and built the 9/11 memorial, added art benches to areas in Riviera Village, created the Path of History around the city, and a still ongoing project, designing and fundraising for the Veterans Park band shell. This year’s class expects to be finished fundraising, recruiting and installing the racks by mid-September.
“We’ve been everywhere and done a lot of good work and learned a lot in the process,” said Benton. “It has been a great experience.”
To learn more about the 2011 Leadership Redondo class and to donate to their project, visit advancevitality.com. ER
Be an Easy Reader Free Press supporter!
Yes, we know Easy Reader and EasyReaderNews.com are free. But they are not free to produce. The advertiser model that traditionally supported newspapers is fading away. This is our way of transitioning to a future where newspapers are supported by their readers. Which is as it should be. We hope you’ll support us. — Kevin Cody, Publisher