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Category : MCM

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.

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.

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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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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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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Riding the Wave.

Shima 0 comments 31.07.2016

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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 Alex Wisdom Gray, who is a pro surfer and spends any free time donating his time with charitable organizations and speaking to the youth about following their passions.

Gray, 30, was born and raised in Torrance, CA. When he was just 10 years old, his brother and role model, Chris, took him surfing and he has surfed since. He says after that first wave, he never wanted to do anything else and to make a career out of it was his immediate dream.

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A few years later, at just 12 years old, he was approached by Volcom and Body Glove to represent their brands and get paid to do so. He has now been in partnership with both for 18 years! Gray enjoys surfing mostly because it allows him to live in the moment.

He suggests that if anyone would like to get into surfing, to have much fun as possible by going with someone who is an experienced surfer and is willing to help.

A typical day for Gray consists of surfing once or twice, taking a yoga class and visiting the gym. In 10 years, he hopes to continue living what he defined as “the current dream I have now.” He enjoys yoga because it is great for the mind, balance and body. “Perfect for surfing and my ongoing relationship with the ocean,” he says.

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Surfing has opened doors for Gray to meet new people, without even speaking a word. “Surfing has a common bond which is the enjoyment of Mother Nature. With that said, I can go surf with people who don’t speak the same language and we can bond perfectly over a mutual respect for surfing,” he says.

When Gray is not surfing, he participates in the Jimmy Miller Foundation and also speaks to children at schools. His speeches typically focus on following your passion, listening to your heart, choosing the path less chosen, substance abuse, and most of all, to have fun.

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His role and duties in organizations such as the Jimmy Miller Foundation include being present at events, directing others in the appropriate way as an ambassador, and being hands on.

Gray loves the South Bay mostly for the local, tight knit community and says that he values that everyone supports and looks after one another.

Thank you, Alex, for using your passions and love of surfing to inspire others to strive to follow theirs!

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“My advice is to go for it and let your ego go. Learning something new is a great gift we can give ourselves.”

-Alex Gray

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For the love of music.

Shima 0 comments 24.07.2016

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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  Diego Rodriguez, who has followed his passion from a young child of owning his own turntable to becoming one of the South Bay’s most beloved DJ’s and has residency at many of the local clubs.

Diego, 26, grew up in Redondo Beach and now resides in South Torrance. In 2008, he graduated from South High school.

He remembers at just 13 years old, going to guitar center in Redondo Beach with some friends and bought several guitar picks for his friend. While there, he heard “strange sounds” that caught his attention. “It was a sound I never heard of and I had to go see what was making those sounds,” he says.

They were hosting a “DJ competition" and he says he simply, “Fell in love with it.” He knew he had to get himself a turntable.  Later that week, his mom and dad told him that they were moving and he was stubborn because he didn’t want to leave his friends and go to a new school in Torrance.

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He told his mom the only way he’d accept it is if she bought him some turntables and she did! Throughout his 8th-10th grade years, he’d pass the time practicing in his bedroom. “I was always the class clown and getting into some type of trouble,” he says.

 Around 10th-11th grade, he began to discover himself and realized how much he loved music, entertaining people and bringing people together. His first gig was at a backyard party in West Torrance for several West High seniors. “I was really nervous because this could make me or break me since I was just a sophomore,” he says.

Within 30 mins into his set, he looked up and saw so many people enjoying themselves and having a blast. “Crazy what music can do and that’s when I realized I want to do this for a long time,” he says.

He continued to perform for many house parties in high school starting from 2005. His first official gig was in 2007 at Ra Sushi in the Del Amo mall then later that year a promoter from Hollywood heard of him and gave him a chance to prove himself at one of the biggest clubs in Hollywood, named Arena. The club fits 1,500 people and he was only 17 years old and that’s when he broke into the club scene in Hollywood.

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Growing up, he looked up to several DJ’s including DJ Atrak , DJ Echo , DJ Enrie , Eric d lux , and what he calls, “The under the table crew.”  Later in his career, he actually became friends with his idols and had the honor to open up for them.

A typical day for Diego is Mon-Wed, where he does free-lance graphic designs for different clients, practices, searches for new music and catches up with old friends and shows. He now has residencies at Sharkeez Hermosa, American Junkie , Ocean bar and the Deck in Hermosa Beach every week.

He says the best part of his job is the people he meets, the places djing has taken him and also making a living on something he loves to do. The most challenging thing about his job is trying to make everyone happy. “I’m a versatile DJ and I love playing everything and don’t just stick to one genre and I think that’s why I’ve been so successful,” he says.

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For anyone interested in considering a career in the field, he says, “Match your own musical expression with the desires of a given audience. It’s not just matching beats, or scratching over songs. It’s about being observant, empathic, and reactive. He has found that it isn’t difficult to get started, but it is difficult to stand out, and to be exceptional.

Some of the best moments of his DJ career so far has been opening up for Pitbull,  Ray Jay,112, Bob Saget, e40, and  Lil Jon. He also enjoyed djing at Lake Havasu for 6,000 college students and opening up for Steve Aoiki, Jauz, Piece Tready and Hardwell. In addition, he also opened up for Justin Bieber and became friends with him through it.

When he is not entertaining the night scene, he pays it forward by helping at the Teen Center in Redondo Beach by djing for the middle school dancers and each year in October, he volunteers for the Redondo Beach Police Department Annual Community Safety Fair and Police Department Open House. He says he loves to be a part of the event.
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He loves the South Bay mostly for its beaches, diverse people, food and the great community. “It’s a hidden gem,” he says.
Learn more about DJ Black Sheep by contacting him directly or following him here:

             Email: djblacksheep10@gmail.com

                    Instagram: @djblacksheep_

                      Snapchat: @djblacksh33p

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Thank you, Diego, for bringing so much joy and memories for the members of the South Bay community and for remaining so humble and continuing to pay it forward despite your busy schedule.

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Connecting through Tattooing

Shima 0 comments 11.07.2016

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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 Edward Davila, also known as PonchoTheArtist, who uses his love of tattooing as a way to connect with his clients and bring positive energy back into their lives by allowing them to express feelings through art.

Edward, 27, grew up in Torrance, CA and currently resides in located L.A. At a young age of 20, he began tattooing and says he has stuck with it since. “I never thought I'd be tattooing, but got motivated to start by my friends so I got a starter kit and ran with it,” he says.

He fell in love with everything about tattooing, from the art to his clients’ satisfaction and being able to make them happy. He says that no matter what situation brings his clients in, whether it is a tattoo inspired by a memory or a lost, he values that he can help give positive vibes/energy back into their lives.

He opened his own private studio in 2014, which was one his biggest steps. After gaining trust in his clients, his days run smoothly. In between breaks, he paints, practices body paint and other passions. However, he says, “Art is my drug; my tattoo leather brand is my focus right now beside my daily tattoo routine.”

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His Tattoo Leather brand was inspired after visiting magic and agenda trade shows in Vegas for the past few years. After returning home, he knew he could create something true to himself and original. With his new idea of tattoo and fashion, he created his signature tattoo leather ponchos. He has also began displaying other new creative mediums like shoes, shirts, hats and more to come. He says, “I truly believe this is going to be a new wave to fashion and art.”

His goal is to keep the custom touch to tattoo leather products and continue expanding his brand. He wants to open store fronts to display the fashion and art. Inspired by his clients, he wants it to help give an outlet for people to show their love, passion or motivation for a life time.

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When he is not creating tattoos, art or ponchos, he enjoys spending time with friends and family. He also seeks to relax and clear his mind the best way he can. He Take time to myself to reflect and try to improve myself. Traveling is a big part in my life right now.

He hopes to have his brand, artismydrug, one day have a facility where people can come in and create their form of art, whether it is from music, fashion etc. He imagines a Tattoo- leather store front and eventually more mediums he has in mind included in it.  He seeks to have his art and tattoos in high demand and respected by many.

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He loves the South Bay mostly for the fact that the community is tight-knit. “I love the fact that we stay close together, and having friends around you that actually grew up with you.,” he says.

Thank you, Edward, for using your passions to reach others on a deeper level and for seeking to bring out the artistic side in everyone.

 Learn more about Edward and his passions on his social medias sites here:

Instagram: @ponchotheartist

Website: www.ponchotheartist.com

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“I just want people to know I'm all about positive energy and vibes.”

-Edward Davila

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Lighting the way for dogs.

Shima 0 comments 04.07.2016

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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 Brian Lee, who has followed his passion and calling to transform the way humans understand dogs.

Brian grew up in La Canada before moving to Redondo Beach, CA in 1986, where he has lived since. When he was a young child, Brian took it upon himself to make sure the family dog was taken care of. At just 15, he had his own Irish Setter and trained it off-leash with obedience.

At the time, having that sort of talent was impressive and he gained a lot of attention because of it. He says, “I recognized then that my natural connection was unique, but it wasn’t until 10 years later that I realized I had found my true calling.”

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In 1985, he went to the National Institute of Dog Training and graduated top in his class. He worked directly with Matthew Margolis and says he still supports some of the methods he learned during that period of time, however, his knowledge and expertise came from the past 30 years of working directly with dogs and their owners, studying the relationship and observing the progress of rehabilitation.

In 1986, Brian began his company, Canine Counseling, which he later rebranded in 2006 as, “Way of the dog.” Today, Brian is the owner/operator and is fully hands on in his company, from answering emails to speaking directly with clients.

His program strives to educate the owner how to see the world through their dog's eyes, what motivates the dog's behavior, why it is crucial to socialize a dog, how to set a dog up to win, how to become a dog's mentor (pack-leader), and how to create a rewarding relationship between an owner and their dog.

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He recommends anyone considering a puppy to partake in, Way of the puppy several weeks PRIOR to getting the dog. He says that starting the program early allows one to learn strategies for housebreaking, puppy-proofing the home, keeping the puppy safe, and other day-to-day challenges before they become problems. “Being proactive is the first and most important step in achieving success,” he says.

A typical day consists of 5-7 one hour long appointments a day. Half of his clients prefer that he goes to their home (and in some circumstances he recommends it) and he works with the other half out of his own backyard. He works on average 10 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Brian recommends to anyone considering a dog to evaluate their available time before getting a dog- very closely. He says, “Some breeds require a TON of exercise and not fulfilling that need can create problems, including aggression. If you’re responsible, patient, have time to share and love to give, GREAT! Dogs truly are members of the family and they have just as much to offer you as you do for them- as long as there is a healthy relationship.”

He feels the best part of his job is also the most challenging, which is to be able to turn around an aggressive dog for a family in a short amount of time. He says, “It is extremely rewarding and challenging.”

Brian has successfully handled just about every behavior challenge a dog can present and continues working with many owners and their second and third generation dogs. Although his specialty is the "family dog,” he has worked with search and rescue, guide, agility, and therapy dogs.

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One can learn more about Brian and his training by visiting his website,  www.wayofthedog.com. However, feels the best way to learn about his program is by talking over the phone at (310) 543-0375.

He says that most dog training is symptom based and teaching commands, while his focus is to provide an understanding of the relationship and help develop a well-balanced, mentally healthy dog.

When Brian is not helping his clients, he is hosting puppy parties at his home on Sunday’s where he invites 20 to 30 puppies to play and for him to observe their behaviors. This allows him to further address any behavioral issues he sees early on.

At these parties, puppies have the opportunity to play and gain social confidence and experience in a supervised and controlled environment. Puppy parties are included with the puppy program.

Over the years, he has worked with over 10,000 dogs and their families! Brian is currently working on a few new projects that he hopes to launch in the next 5 years including more blog posts, a video series and a book! He also hopes to expand his family.

He enjoys the South Bay mostly for the ocean, weather and entertainment. He also enjoys that the vibe is more laid-back.  “There is a strong sense of community here in the South Bay. I see this in all of my clients- through their devotion to their dog to their support and appreciation of my work- the referrals, cinnamon rolls and cookies are unheard of,” he says.

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Thank you, Brian, for sharing your calling with others in the South Bay and helping owners build a healthy relationship with their dogs.

Competing for change.

Shima 0 comments 27.06.2016

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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 Jose Figueroa, who uses his passion for competitions and fitness to empower others to change their lives too.

Jose grew up in Sacramento and later moved to Long Beach, CA. He says, “I came for the beaches and help promote a healthy and an active lifestyle, in my own way.” Today, Jose is a trainer and physique competitor.

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He loves to compete in everything he does, from video games to competing in physique with others on stage. “I train hard every day and with luck, I have not had major injuries,” he says.

Like anyone, he faces the challenges of staying motivated through the years. He has found that setting short term goals, such as eating healthy for two weeks, is key to keep pushing forward. “Not only do I do this for my health, but for the competing aspect,” he says.

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He constantly asks himself, “How well do I stack up against some of the most fit people out there? How far am I willing to push to obtain what I desire?”

He was inspired to compete at an early age of six when he read a brief story about the history of Arnold Schwarzenegger and was intrigued. “I could not stop thinking about how massive of a man he was and how he looked like a superhero with all of those muscles. I was hooked,” he says.

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When Jose is not competing, he trains people to obtain their fitness healthy lifestyle goals. Whether it's to lose weight, gain muscle, help an athlete reach their goal, or a diabetic person with a special diet, he says it brings great joy in helping others.

The goals of his clients soon become his goals and he says, “I personally hold myself accountable in making sure they strive and push through any barriers in order to reach a goal.”

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He’d tell anyone who is hesitant of making a lifestyle change to make sure they are healthy enough to start a rigorous activity such as running or weight training. After cleared, he says he’d tell them talk to a trainer or read about the activity they want to take up. “If it's weights, personal trainers are willing to give you free sessions. Ask questions and prepare for a rewarding journey,” he says.

Jose pays it forward by offering free group training classes to simply promote health. In five years, he sees himself owning multiple gyms and expanding his philosophy.

He says that he loves his dogs sometimes more than people only because during moments of failure, they pick him up and still see him as the same as when he is conquering the world. “They see no color or religion. I have grown to respect their loyalty, therefore, I'm forever grateful that some of my best friends have been my dogs,” he says.

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Jose loves the South Bay for the weather, the abundance of great motivated people, and the beaches.

Thank you, Jose, for sharing your love of fitness with others and promoting a healthy lifestyle for those who need a change!

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You can contact Jose directly to learn more about training here: 530-312-3696