Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.

Lawndale is the “Heart of the South Bay”. Volunteers are what makes that heart beat. In the beginning, community volunteers, through the Lawndale Civic Association (originally established in 1939), were responsible for many community improvements. As Lawndale grew, the Civic Association's tasks multiplied, and in 1945 the Businessman's Group was formed. This group incorporated in 1948 as the Lawndale Chamber of Commerce, which has been a mainstay in community affairs at all levels. In the decade between the incorporation of the Chamber of Commerce and the creation of the City of Lawndale, the major advocate for the needs of the general community was the Chamber. When County government requested what services were required by the citizenry, or approaches to capital improvements, this organized voice assisted in focusing input from all concerned individuals. A few highlights of this decade include the final solution to flood control and street improvements, improved county services, such as library service and a local fire station, and major construction to promote the identity of Lawndale.

Today Lawndale is faced with a new challenge: to create a volunteer force in the City second to none. Opportunities are almost infinite; however, although there is some interest in having programs for Neighborhood Watch, Beautification, and recreational leadership, there seems to be little to no momentum from our residents to participate in these programs and keep them going.

As we enter a new millennium in our city, residents have the choice to establish a safe, involved community where inhabitants can feel secure that they live in a wonderful locale and know that their direct efforts help to improve the quality of life in Lawndale for all, or we can continue to expect others to direct the City and remember the ‘good old days' when neighbor actually helped neighbor.

Now is the time to voice your feelings about volunteerism in Lawndale: registration/interest forms are available at City Hall and the Municipal Services Department to help determine what types of volunteer organizations city residents would like to establish.

Currently, three commissions, two committees and one board serve the City Council in an advisory capacity. Members are appointed by the Mayor, with the approval of the City Council, generally for two year terms. Specific policies governing each of these bodies have been adopted over the years by the City Council. These policies include matters such as eligibility for membership, the purpose of the commission/committee, term of office, conduct of meetings, and more. These commissions and committees are:

Other programs in our city include:

  • Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
  • Crime Watch
  • Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES)
  • Any viable volunteer program for the enrichment and betterment of our community.

There are as many reasons to volunteer as there are volunteers. It is more than an opportunity to use knowledge, skills, abilities, talents, and interests to contribute to our community. It is also a ‘feel good' exercise for yourself! Teaching a young person life skills, coaching gymnastics, coordinating a fundraising event, assisting our seniors, promoting literacy, saving abandoned or unwanted pets, cleaning up a park, helping out in an emergency--there are endless ways that Lawndalians can get involved.

A word of caution: volunteering can make things happen! Remember that it was a group of volunteers almost 50 years ago who helped to make our city the “Heart of the South Bay.”

For more information, or to register for upcoming volunteer opportunities in the City of Lawndale, please call the Emergency Preparedness Office at (310) 973-3285.


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