The Westlake Action Team is living up to its name based on the student volunteers’ whirlwind of activity in Conejo Valley, Calif. and surrounding communities during its first two years.
On Thursday, June 15, Westlake held its second annual “Action Run,” a 5K race at Conejo Creek Park to support youth from Area Housing of Ventura Country, a housing facility for low-income families that in addition to less expensive rent also provides activities and educational programs for their children.
“We come in and we work with these kids and we’re able to raise some money through donations,” Action Team Captain Matthew Mitnick said of the race, his favorite of the community service activities Westlake conducts. “This 5K, we were able to bring some of the kids and they were able to participate in it, which was quite the experience for them. It’s an event that hopefully they can remember for years to come.”
Last year’s 5K brought in over $3,000, with an additional $1,500 coming from this year’s race.
On Tuesday, June 20, with proceeds from the race, Matt and his fellow Action Team Captains rented a bus and took 22 kids from the low-income housing group out for an afternoon of fun.
“We first took them mini golfing at the Sherman Oaks Park; many of them had never done that before,” Mitnick said.
From mini golf, the group ventured to Dodger Stadium to watch their beloved Los Angeles Dodgers take on the New York Mets.
“We went in early to the game so the kids could see batting practice,” Mitnick said. “Then we went up to our seats and enjoyed the game with them. The kids had a fantastic time!”
This was the second straight year the Westlake Action Team has used funds from the Action Run to plan an unforgettable trip to a Dodgers game for the kids.
Events like these are helping Westlake Action Team make a positive impact in the local community. “This year was our best year in the two years of our existence,” Mitnick said. ‘We were able to put on roughly 30 events this school year.”
The Westlake Action Team has tried to identify and anticipate the needs of its community partners, so it’s made a point of continuing its efforts during the school’s summer recess with a summer camp for local youth.
“Many of the kids’ parents are working all day, so we come in and provide them with activities throughout the summer,” Mitnick said.
There’s also a trip to the Stagecoach Inn planned for this summer to show the kids the history of the Conejo region; a night hike that will provide an opportunity for the kids to get outdoors, learn about the trails and grill some hot dogs, and an outing at a nearby community pool.
Serving as an Action Team Captain the past two years, Mitnick says he has learned a lot about giving back to the community, as well as himself.
“This program, the Action Team, and everything we’ve done, has really changed my mindset and who I am as a person,” he said. “It’s given me the leadership experiences that I know will be vital for me in the future and it’s really showed me that there are people in this world that are less fortunate than me. Working with them has shown me the reality that some people face.”
Check out this Westlake Action Team-produced video here.
Enrollment in the Action Team never stops, so click here to become a member today!