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Teaching the Children of the Future by Example.

Shima 0 comments 25.09.2016

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Every Monday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place.

Today’s MCM belongs to Peter Aziz who is committed to bringing awareness to others around him of foreign exchanges in hopes of bringing light, truth and knowledge of politics.

Aziz, 26, grew up in Redondo Beach and was raised in the South Bay. He went to all the local schools including Birney Elementary school, Adams Middle School, and Redondo Union High School. After high school, he went to El Camino College before transferring to UC Riverside.

He says he transferred to the university after having many options for school, initially majoring in sociology, hoping to change the world by understanding society. Instead, he says studying sociology made him look at the world more negatively which led him to take an unexpected academic leave.

After taking some time off, he came back to finish his bachelor’s degree and decided to pursue public policy. “I went back to work full time, working with underprivileged kids to inspire them to be role models with good values and set goals for themselves,” he says.

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His official title is Program Coordinator for the extracurricular school activities for underprivileged kids. “I manage a team of 7 at each site, and run games activities crafts and tutoring,” he says.

He finds the most challenging part of his job is not having enough energy to keep up with the kids and says the best part of his job is everything. “It’s rewarding to know that after deciding to leave after 7 years, I am leaving a legacy behind with not just the impact on the kids that I have met, and that they remember me as they go into high school. The most rewarding thing about my job is knowing that I have set an example of hard work ethic dedication and passion in these kids to see them become inspirational beings,” he says.

Aziz feels that he is paying it forward each day when he goes into work. He says, “I choose passion and inspiration as my catalyst or vehicle for giving back to young minds, interacting with each every single kid in the programs across the school district they remember the love and kindness I have shown them.”

Aziz feels it is important for children to attend after school programs because, "It instills values they may not be able to see being set in a home environment, they learn how to interact with kids of all ages and backgrounds. They learn how to give back to their communities through programs like this by being better people."

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In five years, he hopes to be in a place where he can advocate for policies in congress that continue to help create a better society whether that is for education or healthcare. His passion for politics come from a desire for justice and advocacy for voices that are unrepresented. He feels politics are important because it is a matter of being consciously aware of the repercussions of decision made at local levels from how our tax dollars are used, and the decisions that our elected officials choose to make based on their political agendas.

He says, “It is important that we be aware of things that affect us and future generations along the way that continue to negatively impact the world, and learn new ways of how we can change that.” He voices his opinion mainly by posting on social media sites what he thinks are relevant issues either to his immediate community or the vast majority of readers.  He is currently in the process of starting his own blog. He hopes to create a blog that is informative of politics issues and he wants to tie that with his other passion, COFFEE!!!!

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Aziz lives with one motto and that is gratitude.  He says without it, life doesn't exist. The word gratitude has dimensions of joy, appreciation, and humility and nonetheless, is a process to get to this State of mind.

Stay tuned as Aziz debuts his blog, Coffee & Politics, and look out for him on the political campaign trail hopefully in the near future. As he says, “It’s a team effort. You cannot become someone with a team behind you to support inspire encourage and uplift you.”

Thank you, Aziz, for inspiring the young children of our future and by informing the kids of our future of informational news.

Why Inglewood is HOT?

Shima 0 comments 23.09.2016

14390816_10157430835990526_1815462656285003161_nGuys, as predicted, Inglewood is coming up! The new casino opened yesterday and will have its grand opening this November. In addition, The Forum has been rated #4 in the WORLD for venues, Inglewood was voted Los Angeles's, "Neighborhood of the year" in 2014 and crime has been the lowest for five consecutive years.

Property values have increased 85.6% since 2012 and in January of 2016, the Los Angeles Rams announced their return to Los Angeles and residency in Inglewood! They are working on a $20 million dollar senior citizen building that will open next November and did I mention that it's home to Randy's Donuts?

It's not a bad time to buy in Inglewood right now.

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Lighting Los Angeles

Shima 0 comments 12.09.2016

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Every Monday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place.

Today’s MCM title belongs to Zouhair Shehab who despite spending nearly half of his academic life in a different country and culture, works extremely hard in providing the community with improved lighting and safety.

Zouhair Shehab , 34, was born in Daytona Beach, FL. He later moved to CA as a child but his parents decided it would be best to move to Lebanon so he and his siblings could learn the Arabic language and become familiar with their Lebanese traditions.

He continued most of his high school years in Lebanon and completed his last year in 1999 in Los Angeles. After growing up in two different cultures, he spent some time adjusting and balancing both the Arab and American lifestyles. “It was definitely a great life time experience I always share with my friends and will share with many in the future,” he says.

After his senior year in high school, he wasn’t sure what field he wanted to follow. He says, “I had the love for food and after my dad's pizza shop and eating pizza three times a day, I really wanted to become a Chef.” He asked many for advice and was not impressed with the time, effort, and long working hours one had to put in to make a living being a chef. In result, he began to seek alternative careers and continued to cook as a hobby.

He felt he was poor academically in Math and Science but always had a drive in competing against himself. “I motivate myself for new challenges and find ways to become better so I looked into engineering,” he says. Zouhair found that the beauty of engineering is that always has issues and obstacles to overcome and different ways to overcome them.

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Although academically poor in Fundamentals of Science and always struggling to pass, he had the drive and knew if had the right mindset and focus, he could overcome the struggles and become successful. He then broke down all the engineering majors and felt electrical engineering was the most fitting of all majors. He went to El Camino College and later transferred to Cal State Long Beach and graduated in 2006. He began working professionally with the City of Los Angeles in 2007 shortly after he graduated.

Graduating was a great accomplishment for Zouhair, especially for all the extra effort and dedication graduating as an electrical engineer. “It was a great milestone in my life to be proud of academically,” he says.

Today, Zouhair is currently working as a Street Lighting Engineer for City of L.A. The position itself is a very unique Job Classification. He is in charge of improving lighting for the general public and for public Safety throughout the City of L.A.

A typical day consists of evaluating tunnels, roadways, and sidewalks and seeing what type of street lights are needed so the public can feel safe at night. After, he will do illumination calculations on the roadway and evaluate where to locate his lights and then draft a plan doing engineering work on how to power the lights. Finally, the plans are signed sign and approved. A Contractor is then awarded the bid and begins construction. He makes sure the project is built per his specifications and design.

Zouhair says the exciting part of his job is making a change and being a part of the change to the environment. “Seeing the community happy and satisfied with the changes, you will be amazed in what improved lighting can do at night., especially on the road and sidewalks,” he says.

The most challenging and most difficult part of his job is tunnel lighting. “I got fortunate enough to be given the hardest task to tackle and it was a very difficult project,” he says. Tunnel Lighting is a special application that has to be designed very well. The Lighting in Tunnels transitions from very high illumination to lower Illumination at Exit during the day so the drivers’ eyes have to adapt and he has to make sure that the lighting is adequate enough and safe for the public to drive thru any time of the day.

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He remembers the most difficult project he designed and coordinated was construction for the LAX Tunnel.  “Over 100 thousand Cars travel thru this Tunnel daily, so the Retrofitted LED Lighting design and construction was one of the hardest and most challenging tasks to overcome,” he says. He is most proud of this accomplishment when it was completed.

When Zouhair is not busy working, he enjoys spending his weekends with family, cooking and barbequing. He enjoys trying new marinades on his meats including chicken and ribs.  When together, they enjoy eating, trying new restaurants, watching/playing sports such as basketball and more. He says his life motto is to simply, “Eat good, do good and be patient with your life...good things happen.”

He pays it forward by giving advice and helping others as much as he can. “I feel with advice and support, it is my duty to spread good and help others succeed in life. .I have to be a good role model for my family and friends and help others reach their goals,” he says.

Thank you, Zouhair, for being the guiding force in providing light and safety to our roads and making it a priority to help others succeed. The South bay is fortunate to have you as a member of our society.

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Why you can’t “sleep” on a house…

Shima 0 comments 08.09.2016

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After showing homes to clients that I know they love, I often hear, “Can I sleep on it?”

With homes selling faster than ever, here are 5 reasons why “sleeping” on it is a bad idea.

A lot of times people want to see what else is out there.

I’ve seen many people come very close to what they like, but insist on looking a little more. In the time that they decide to look elsewhere, the home has received multiple offers and they’ve lost on a chance of purchasing their dream home.

No home is going to be exactly what you want.

I personally believe that location is one of the most important factors in choosing a home. If a home is located in an area you absolutely love, don’t hesitate because of cabinets or carpet flooring. These things are minor fixes that shouldn’t stop you from writing an offer on a dream home.

An offer is not permanent.

When submitting an offer, a lot of people feel they are locked in- this is not true. Typically, a home will receive multiple offers if priced correctly which will then need to be reconsidered and sometimes countered. The goal of submitting an offer is to get in the game so you’ve got a chance to win. With the right contingencies in place, you’ve got nothing to lose and possibly, a great home to gain!

Your rent is never going to get cheaper.

A lot of people are paying rent that is equal to what their mortgage could be. Even scarier is that they’re paying towards something that they do not own- meaning that they’re investing in something that does not invest in them. By purchasing a home, you are getting more than a place to build a life…you are getting an investment and leaving your family an asset.

You don’t have the luxury of waiting another day.

Time is money and you deserve to put your hard worked money somewhere that will pay you back. By purchasing a home today, you are steps closer to building equity for your future. The time is now.

If you’ve had thoughts of purchasing but not sure how, contact me today and I’ll show you the way.

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Trust the journey

Shima 0 comments 29.08.2016

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Every Monday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place.

Today’s MCM title belongs to Marty Steging who teaches us that money isn’t the driving force to a happy life, rather following our passion is.

Marty grew up in Torrance, CA and graduated from North High school. Marty decided to pursue a career as a big rig cross country driver after realizing the pay would be consistent. He spent many hours working towards his goals until he realized it wasn’t for him.

Marty says he rode across the country from west coast to east coast and is grateful to have been able to see so many states along the way. In just nine weeks, he’d seen 30 states and drove every day for 10-12 hours. He quickly realized how much he disliked this lifestyle.

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He says, “I absolutely hated it. There where nights in the truck where tears would just rundown my face cause I was forcing myself to do something I had no passion for.” Although Marty pursued this career path, he knew it wasn’t for him. He says he lived in the truck 24/7- even to eat and sleep.

The only time they were allowed to stop was when they’d pull over to use the restroom or take their mandatory 30 min. break in an eight-hour period. “Other than that, it was pedal down and try to make the shipment on time,” he says.

One day, he woke up from sleeping in the truck while his partner was driving and they were heading back to California that he knew it would be his last time in the truck. “I was done with it. All of it, Driving, sleeping in a rolling truck, eating crappie truck stop food, showering if lucky every other day,” he says.

He realized not only how rough of a life on the road was, but it was a lifestyle that was against who he is. So, rather than staying stuck- he took a leap of faith and quit trucking knowing that he had no idea what he was going to do for work.

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However, prior to beginning his trucking career, he filled an application with ATM SOCAL. The company installs and programs ATM cash machines. Just three days after he quit trucking, ATM SOCAL called him and asked if he would come in for an interview.

“Of course I said yes and killed the interview. I have been working for them since mid-June,” he says. They immediately sent Marty to Florida for training and he has even helped train new recruits! He is currently located in South Carolina, replacing and up grading Gas station ATMS. “I’m truly blessed and God's timing is amazing,” he says,

Marty says, “I initially chose trucking cause I knew they make pretty decent money, especially if you pay your dues for about a year or two it opens up a lot of opportunities to make good money.”  He was chasing the money aspect of it which quickly diminished after realizing the intense lifestyle of a truck driver.

He was only in trucking for about 3 months and knew it wasn't for him. Although he liked driving and seeing different states, he says what was challenging for him was the lifestyle. “Being in the truck 24/7 with no interaction with people except when we stopped for gas was tough. I am a very social person so to put me in a rolling box 24/7, felt like prison to me,” he says.

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After the experience, he says he has high respect to the guys that do it for a living. Marty has learned a lot from his experience and says that for someone who hates their job, he’d tell them to leave it. “Don't do a job for the money, you'll miss out on a lot of life. Find a balance between work and life and make sure you're happy doing it, not chasing the dollar,” he says.

Marty likes to pay it forward to the homeless he comes across, typically standing at the freeway entrance or exit. “I flip him a couple bucks, give him my extra water bottle, Gatorade, maybe my leftovers from the restaurant I just at,” he says. Also, his dad is a Veteran of 18 years in the Army, so any time he sees a person in uniform, he thanks them. He recently paid for drinks for 4 Air Force guys while at a restaurant to thank them for their service.

Thank you, Marty, for reminding us that no amount of money is worth us living a life we do not enjoy. Keep up the great work and continue inspiring others to follow their passions!

“It's been a rough journey for me but I always knew it would get better someday and had faith it would. Now I'm part of a great company that truly takes care of me, they honor that I'm trust worthy, reliable, honest, hardworking.”

– Marty Steging

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Appraisals

Shima 0 comments 23.08.2016

Guest Blogger: Yann Fard

What is an Appraisal?
 
An appraisal is an opinion of value that is completed by a professional appraiser who randomly assigned by the appraisal management company chosen by the lender.
What Does the Assigned Appraiser Do?
 
The appraiser visits and inspects the size, condition, function and quality of the home. There are a few steps in the process. First, a licensed appraiser comes to the property and inspects the home. Next, the appraiser will research similar homes in the area and compare recent sales to determine a fair market value. The appraiser will then give a final appraisal report with all the data and research to issue a final "opinion of value."
What Determines the Value?
 
A property's appraisal value is influenced by recent sales of similar properties and by current market trends. The home's amenities, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, floor plan functionality and square footage are also key factors in assessing the home's value. The appraiser must do a complete visual inspection of the interior and exterior and note any conditions that adversely affect the property's value, such as needed repairs.
What Does the Appraisal Report Include?
 
Typically, the appraisers describe the interior and exterior of the property, the neighborhood and nearby comparable sales, the report must include a street map showing the appraised property and comparable sales used; an exterior building sketch; an explanation of how the square footage was calculated; photographs of the home's front, back and street scene; front exterior photographs of each comparable property used. The appraiser then provides an analysis and conclusions about the property's value based on his or her observations.
What May Cause the Appraised Value to come short of the Expected Value?
 
Short appraisals typically arise in a declining housing market because the lack of recent comparable area homes sales, or "comps," making it difficult for appraisers to determine the current market value of a property. When home sales slow, good comps "age" fast. Add foreclosures and short sales to the mix and appraisals can run all over the map.
Things You Can Do to Get the Value Needed and to Stop a Re-inspection?
 
Other than the common sense things like making sure your home is clean and tidy and presentable to make a good impression on the appraiser, pointing out the recent renovations you have made, there are a few things that could cost you money: per the guidelines there are few common requirements that if you do not have a completion report needs to be ordered which could cost you couple of hundred dollars in order for the appraiser to go back in to your home and re-inspect. The most common ones are: having smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, water heater being double strapped and if you have safety bars making sure there are safety latches.
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Happy for a moment.

Shima 0 comments 15.08.2016

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Every Monday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place.

Today’s MCM title belongs to Jesse Rubin who aids residents of the South Bay in reaching their fitness goals as a local trainer.

Rubin, 27, was born and raised in Torrance, CA. Growing up, he was an avid athlete. He says, “From a very early age, I had a love for sports, basketball was something I picked up fairly easily.”

 Growing up, Rubin and his brother always played basketball any chance they had.  Since then, he has always had a love for being active and challenging himself. “There's just this special feeling I get when I am out on the court, playing basketball or training for a big lift that can't really be explained. It's amazing,” he says.

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Rubin began training as a personal fitness coach at 24-hour fitness for a year before deciding to train ndependently. He loves how much dedication and discipline it takes to achieve goals as a fitness trainer.

He has always liked to help others, stay active and play sports so he knew he wanted a career where he could combine all. “Even in the tough times, playing sports has always been an outlet for me,” he says. Rubin says that fitness has saved his life and he would like to help others who may be going through similar situations in life and help them come out on top. He says that there is hope and fitness can help one find a sense of meaning and fulfillment.

He loves his job mostly because he is able to help others become stronger, not only mentally but physically as well. The most challenging task for him as a coach is influencing people to believe in themselves. However, he says strength is his training style and it has thus helped him succeed.

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For anyone who would like to get in the gym but is afraid of what others may think, Rubin says, “We have all been guilty of caring about the thoughts of others, but it's been something we have been dealing with in all aspects of our lives and should never deter you from becoming a better version of yourself. The only thoughts that matter are your own so make them positive thoughts.”

When he is not being active, which is very rare, he likes to spend time reading or relaxing and watching a good movie. He also enjoys spending time with his family or being out in nature.

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To learn more about Rubin and his coaching, please contact him directly via email at Jay_Rubin333@yahoo.com or follow his fitness workouts on Instagram: Jesse_Rubin

Rubin says his life motto is simply, “Be happy for the moment.”

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Thank you, Jesse, for allowing your passion for health and fitness inspire and better the lives of others.

“If you are looking for someone who is going to help grow not only physically but mentally then I’m your guy!”

– Jesse Rubin

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Palm Trees & PUMPS

Shima 0 comments 10.08.2016

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 Every Wednesday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place.

Today’s WCW title belongs to Ariana Armendariz who has worked her way up as an independent fashion stylist and pays it forward to her community by donating her time to charitable organizations.

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Armendariz, 29, was born and raised in Redondo Beach, CA. She attended West High school in Torrance and graduated in 2005. Several years later, she graduated from FIDM in 2007, but got an early start to her styling career during her final year in school when she was hired to work on Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds tour.

When she was just 12 years old, her mom took her brother and her to visit the set of the WB series "7th Haven". She says it was on that set where she realized she could become a wardrobe stylist/costumer. “I ended up spending the whole day watching the designer come up with prom looks. It was a warp after that!” she says.

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It was then that she decided to start her path in fashion by taking local sewing classes. She went on to study Fashion in high school; and eventually attended The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

The first big tour she was fortunate enough to work on was Justin Timberlake's FUTURESEX/LOVESOUND, and since has worked with artist such as Chris Brown, Usher, and the latest tour she just finished, RIHANNA'S Anti World Tour. In between, she also works on TV, and commercials.

Armendariz and her mom shared a passion for fashion and says was her greatest inspiration in pursuing the field. At 6 years old, she had her first custom made jacket which her mom had made for her with fabric she brought from Italy. “It was my Mom who took me to visit my first set and the same amazing women who took me to my very first Fashion Week in London! She was always dressed to the 9's, I would have to say it was her. And maybe our obsession with Frida Kahlo,” she says.

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Her favorite part of her job is making people feel great about how they look. “I feel like I've done a good job when my clients feel confident about their look,” she says. The most challenging part is her desire to please everyone, and the grueling hours they sometimes keep.

She suggests anyone who’s interested in becoming a stylist to work hard and be nice to people. “Breaking into this industry isn't always easy,  if you are a hard worker, kind, and talented you will have a lasting place,” she says.

When she is not busy on tour, she pays it forward by donating her time to events like STAND UP TO CANCER, where every penny being made is going straight to the cause. She also donates clothes and such to local charities.

In five years, she would like to be styling some top artists, possibly in music, working on commercials and being a sought out "Style Wolf!”

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Armendariz loves living in the South Bay because of the amazing people. She mostly likes the mellow, easy going people who tend to live in the South Bay. Her job can get quite demanding, coming home to good family and friends makes the commute well worth it. She also says, “Who doesn't love the smell of salt water air when they leave for set at 5am?”

Armendariz continues to work fiercely and says she looks up to her role models including her beautiful Mom, Frida Kahlo and Anna Wintour, of course.

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Thank you, Ariana for being an inspiration for many to follow their greatest dreams and passions and still making time to pay it forward, despite your busy schedule!

To learn more about Ariana’s styling, you can refer to her social media sites here:

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Www.ArianaArmendariz.com

Instagram: @palmtrees.and.pumps

Twitter: @palmtreesNpumps

Tumblr: @Palmtrees-and-pumps

Facebook: Ariana Armendariz

You can also find her "NIKE LA INFLUENCER" story here:

http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/cities/losangeles

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 "I think my life motto would be, work hard and be nice to people."

-Ariana Armendariz

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Started from the bottom…

Shima 0 comments 08.08.2016

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Every Monday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place.

Today’s MCM title belongs to Nathan Van Waardenburg, who works extremely hard five days a week at Little Company of Mary Hospital in the surgical Pathology department.

Nathan, 27, who was born and raised in the South Bay. He attended South Torrance High school, before continuing his education at El Camino College. While in college, he began working part-time in the OR (operating room) at Little Company of Mary Hospital as a transporter, taking patients to and from surgery.

This position led to a full time job opportunity where he was tasked with ordering all supplies for their surgery department. When a position opened up in surgical Pathology, where he currently works, he took that as challenge to learn and prefect new things every day.

“I start each day picking up placentas from labor and delivery. I set them up to then be cut into, and examined by the pathologist,” he says. He then assists in at least 1 bone marrow procedure each day. He prepares the slides of the bone marrow for the doctor and prepares the blood and bone to be processed later in the day.

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He spends the rest of his time in the "gross room" where the PA cuts in each specimen that is removed in surgery. He is responsible for staining the frozen sections where the surgeon can get a diagnosis while the patient is still on the operating table. He ends his day taking all the cut specimens to be loaded into a processing machine that turns the tissue into paraffin blocks.

His schedule is M-F, 7:00-4 and sometimes later depending on if cases run late. Nathan says, “My job is challenging and it is never the same thing each day. No two patients are the same so each bone marrow, so I need to be 100% focused on taking care of that person.”

Due to this, he says, “We all need to treat each person and each specimen with the same respect or mistakes will be made. It helps that my coworker is my friend, James, who I've known since day 1 of high school so dealing with coworkers is never an issue,” he says.

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When Nathan is not at work, he enjoys spending time with his “wonderful wife,” Sasi, who he says is his #1 priority. He says, “My family and sports are my life. I'm lucky to have a great family and a close group of friends. The Dodgers, Kings and Dolphins take up each season of the year for me.”

Nathan’s passion for sports has led him to give back in the past. “Coaching little league was a truly rewarding experience where I was able to not only share my knowledge, but love for baseball. I shared my knowledge of baseball with the kids in hopes that they will continue to follow their passion,” he says.

After living in the South Bay all his life, he says he and his wife couldn't imagine living anywhere else. “Sasi and I can go to a Dodgers or King games Friday night, Disneyland sat and enjoy breakfast on the pier morning. There’s nothing better than that.” He also values having his parents, brother with his wife, and having Sasi’s parents and her sister all being local. “There's nothing that can get me to leave here,” he says.

Five years from now, he says he will happily be celebrating six years of marriage to Sasi. “I see myself at Little Company for many years to come. Sasi and I are excited to start our own family here in the South Bay,” he says.

Thank you, Nathan, for taking great care of patients in the South Bay and making it a priority to be a wonderful husband, son, brother and friend to your loved ones, despite your busy schedule.

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“Any advice I would give is, always go for it, don't doubt yourself, and don't be afraid to start at the bottom. The medical field will always be around and there are always jobs to be had. It may not be the exact job you want, but I went from pushing patients to ordering supplies to my perfect fit in Pathology. I never said no to a job and it moved me up the ladder in the company where I've now been there for 6 1/2 years.”

- Nathan Van Waardenburg

 

 

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Spreading the South Bay love.

Shima 1 comments 02.08.2016

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Every Wednesday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place.
Today’s WCW title belongs to Britney Jazmin West, who is now living in Australia, and was able to raise over $5,000 for the residents of the islands of Fiji after being hit by cyclones, which caused severe damage and left many without homes and necessities for survival.

West, 29, was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. After graduating from North Torrance High School in 200, she attended El Camino College and then transferred to Cal State Long Beach where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology.

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Interestingly, West says, “Although, I have a college education, I find most of my knowledge has been learned through others. Listening to all different types of people’s stories, advice and criticism has furthered my knowledge and opened my mind greatly.”

Last year, West went on little trip to Fiji with no expectations, other than a backpack and good vibes. She never expected the trip to forever change her outlook on life. She had heard about the cyclones that hit the islands a few weeks prior to her arrival but had no idea the caliber of damage it had done.

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“The hostel I was staying at had ties with some villages in the center of the island and they were working with other people on holiday to bring aid to these villages that were totally destroyed,” she says. One day while on vacation, she was having a beer watching the sunset and talking with the owner of the resort and she let him know that if they needed anything, she would be willing to help in any way.

He informed her that they were headed on an aid trip the following day and she was welcome to come along. “I woke up with no idea where I was going or what I was going to do, but I know that there were people in need and I wanted to help,” she says.

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The following day, they headed on 4-hour journey in the back of the aid truck to the center of the island. “What used to be a beautiful lush forest looked so deserted, not a tree in site. We arrived at the first village and was welcomed with huge smiles and Kava (a local drink brewed from leaves of the Kava plant),” she says.

West could only think of all the things the people had taken from them- which was simply everything. The huts they lived in were all torn to shreds and they were sleeping under tarps or out in the open. The team delivered many different types of aid such as food, medicine, building materials, mosquito repellent, farming utensils, diapers, feminine products, and kid toys.

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On the 4-hour ride home, on bumpy dirt roads, West thought about her life and how fortunate she had been to have everything she needed to survive and live a prosperous life. “These loving and selfless people didn’t deserve this, but natural disasters happen all over the world every day,” she says.

She felt the least she could do was help bring awareness and aid to the wonderful people of Fiji. With the help of her friends, family and people of the South Bay, she was able to help raise $5,000 towards the Gofundme.com/fijineedsyourhelp Fund. With this money, the beaches hostel was able to do 3 aid trips each providing 3 tons of aid the 672 people in the villages!

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One can learn more by emailing West directly at missbrit310@aol.com or checking out their GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/fijineedsyourhelp.

As previously mentioned, West has found that she’s gained most of her knowledge through life experiences, so it’s no surprise that in February of 2015, she’d pack her bags and move across the country to Australia.

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“I was inspired to move to Australia by the vast natural beauty of the country. I love that the country is as big as the United States but only has 24 million people living here, leaving so much room for exploring and opportunity,” she says.

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She says that although it has a similar climate and culture, it is also a world apart. “Australia is a very homogenous country so it’s very different coming from Los Angeles where authentic food and different cultures are everywhere. I really took for granted living in a city where most people speak a second language and you can get authentic food from other countries within a 15 min drive from your house,” she says. West says it has been a challenge and made her appreciate the wonderful people of the South Bay and the community that she was lucky enough to be brought up in.

One of West’s greatest hobbies is traveling and she is currently trying to visit as many national parks as possible, but feels it seems to be endless. “There are about 20 different national parks just within an hour or two from where I’m living. I have been going on at least one hike a week but still have a lot more exploring to do,” she says.

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West has found that although Australia is a very wealthy country with great social benefits such as Free health care, 6 weeks paid vacation, 1 year paid maternity leave and retirement that is paid by your employer- it still has similar issues that Americans face in the states.

Her friend Claire started a Charity called, “Treats on the Streets,” which delivers treats to homeless people around Melbourne to bring a smile to their face. She pays it forward by trying to donate to the charity as much as possible.

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West misses many things about living in SoCal, including her friends and family, football Sunday’s, inexpensive beer, food, and Dodger games. She misses the music culture in Los Angeles as well. “If there is a band you want to see, they will almost 100% touring somewhere in L.A. Not that many bands make the trek over to Australia so live shows are far and few between,” she says.

When asked where she sees herself in five years, she says, “I’ve always lived my life with no plan what so ever, so in the next 5 years I will probably be making plans just to break them. I wouldn’t mind living in Queenstown, New Zealand for a bit.”

Thank you, Britney, for spreading the SoCal compassion, love and kindness in your heart to the residents of Fiji and reminding us it’s ok to live day to day.

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"I've never been a person that follows a particular motto and I would absolutely hate googling life motto's and getting generic motto's. So, I will leave you with not a motto, but advice. I advice everyone to radiate love, happiness and respect you will attract just that! If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll be waiting for the rest of your life."

- Britney Jazmin West