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Author Archives: Naomi Bonman

LyLuLs Mentoring Inspires Young Girls to Achieve Greatness at 3rd Annual Phenomenal Women Tea

By Naomi K. Bonman

The Tea Rose Garden in Pasadena, California was filled with such positive energy of women, young and seasoned, uplifting one another and supporting each other on their journey to greatness at the 3rd Annual Phenomenal Women Tea presented by LyLuLs Mentoring.

LyLuLs Mentoring, which stands for ‘Love Yourself Like You Love Shoes,’ was founded by Charmel Sanders has a mentoring group dedicated to the empowerment of young women ages 14 to 18. LyLuLs was launched two years ago as an event to provide young women with a safe shopping environment at Sanders’ shoe boutique called, “The Shoe Lounge.”

“As the event grew, I added guest speakers and partnered with the Art Institute of Riverside Fashion Club to provide the girls with life skills and self-esteem tools for success,” Sanders stated. “My Motto is, ‘Stepping up to help others Step out into Success.”

Saturday’s tea was MC’ed by Matumaini “Matu” Taylor who did an excellent job of keeping the afternoon flowing as she introduced each guest speaker and activity of the day. The guest speaker of this year’s event was Danielle Holloway. Holloway poured motivation and knowledge to the graduating seniors on how to succeed on the next step in their journey.

Spelman graduate, Sabra Marie, also gave the girls inspiring words through a spoken word piece that she wrote about the journey that we go through in life as girls coming up to womanhood. In keeping the creative energy flowing, the Epifani Dancers gave a dance tribute to the tunes of “I Rise Up” and Jimmy Soul Smooth serenaded to the young ladies with a neo-soul piece to show them how they are appreciated and to always know their worth. That wasn’t the only singing though, Jackie Coco-Ford did an inspiring acapella piece for the girls.

The afternoon ended with a raffle and an award ceremony for the mentors and mentees who have assisted in making LyLuLs Mentoring a success, and those who have shown great community service. Mentors of LyLuLs presented Sanders with flowers for her dedicated work to the community and said a prayer over her vision for the organization as it continues to move forward.

Again, congratulations to the graduates, Destinie Wortham, Taylor Evans and Christine Jackson.

Citrus Hill High School Senior, Lela Owens, Awarded Ronald McDonald Scholarship

By Naomi K. Bonman

On Saturday, June 11, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California (RMHCSC) awarded 94 accomplished college-bound seniors scholarship funds totaling $288,000 during a celebratory event at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. The scholarships and medals were awarded during a recognition ceremony where recipients were honored and commended by their families, school counselors, RMHCSC representatives, and Southern California McDonald’s owners and operators. Chris Pan, founder of myintent.org gave an inspiring keynote message before the celebrations ended with photos and well wishes.

“The scholarship luncheon is a great opportunity to recognize our scholarship recipients for their hard work in front of their friends, family and McDonald’s franchisees” said Vince Bryson, CEO, RMHCSC. “We are committed to providing opportunities and resources that strengthen families and are inspired by what these students have accomplished and are looking to achieve.”

Among those 94 students was Perris’ Citrus Hill High School senior, Lela Owens. Owens is involved in her school’s STEM program and will continue her education within the STEM field at Duke University where she will be majoring in Computer Science. After she graduates from college, Owens wants to dive into a career with a major technology company, such as Google or similar.

“The Ronald McDonald Scholarship has taken a lot of pressure off my shoulders,” Lela Owens stated on being awarded. “It will definitely help to pay my tuition.”

Owens emerged into the STEM field after enrolling an AP Physics class during her Junior year. Her teacher at the time inspired her to look into field after telling her about another young Black woman who took the AP Exam and passed it.    Owens wanted to pass it as well, and from there she found a passion for the industry.

In addition to receiving her degree, the rising scholar also wants to start a mentorship classroom at her high school. Her community service won’t start there though. Owens was the captain of her cheer team where she participated in hosting summer camps along with her team. She also tutored students at March Middle School in Mathematics.

Recipients of RMHCSC scholarships are selected through a rigorous application process and represent the highest caliber students in the five counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura. These scholarships give the recipients an opportunity to pursue their education goals and help ease some of the collegiate financial burden. Interested applicants can begin the process for 2016 scholarships in October, 2015. More information about RMHCSC and its programs can be found at www.rmhcsc.org or on www.Facebook.com/RMHCSoCal and via Twitter.com/RMHC_SoCal.

Remembering Rialto Councilmember Shawn O’Connell

By Naomi K. Bonman

As a Journalist and being able to interview people of all walks of life from celebrities to people in the community, my favorite stories and interviews are always from the locals; the people that you run into every day. In 2012, I interviewed Shawn O’Connell when he was running for Rialto City Council. He had a very gentle, sweet, and down to earth spirit. His love for the community was made him best fit to be a councilmember. The recent news of his passing was definitely a shock. Although, I only got to interact with him a couple times after the interview, he will definitely be remembered throughout the City of Rialto and in San Bernardino County.

In addition to his seat on Rialto’s council, O’Connell ran a patrol team and was a crisis negotiator for the SWAT team. He was Officer of the Year in 1998. He had never seen himself stepping into the world of politics, yet his mother who served on an East Coast school board instilled in him a passion for public service.