West Los Angeles resident Claudia Folksa is a bicycling enthusiast. She enjoys the exercise and the wind in her hair, as well as the camaraderie that a leisurely ride with a friend can provide. And she hopes to share those joys with others like herself who haven't had too many opportunities to enjoy the sport.
Last spring, Folksa, who is legally blind, founded Eyecycle, a nonprofit organization that offers visually impaired individuals the opportunity to ride with a sighted volunteer on a tandem bicycle. Folksa, a second-year graduate student in business at USC, said she got the idea while on a bike ride with a friend.
"When I was going through school, I could never participate in any type of group-oriented recreational activities. . . . I realized that there was a need to fill because of the lack of group activities accessible to visually impaired people."
She said that the teamwork needed to ride a tandem bicycle puts the sighted and visually impaired riders "on equal footing, and sight is no longer an issue." Rides are held on the second and fourth Saturday of each month at Joslyn Park in Santa Monica. Riders participate free of charge and can reserve bikes by calling 207-4154.
Folksa has been successful in rallying support for the program from the Santa Monica Parks and Recreation Department and several Westside service organizations. She hopes to expand the program to other locations.
Vicky Schmidt has been named a recipient of a future Yasuda Trust Scholarship.
Scholarship funds are given to students who show promise but who have a C grade-point average. Funds are received after acceptance and enrollment in college. Schmidt is a ninth-grade student at Burroughs High School in Los Angeles.
International economist Sebastian Edwards has been named the first holder of the Henry Ford II Chair in International Management at the John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA.
Edwards' work has centered on the challenges facing developing economies, including those of Latin America and Eastern Europe.
The Henry Ford II Chair in International Management was established in 1985 to acknowledge the importance of international studies in business.
The American Art Therapy Assn. named Loyola Marymount University art therapy adjunct Prof. Shirley Riley as the Clinician of the Year for her contributions to family art therapy.
Art therapy is used to help individuals gain self-awareness, solve problems and express feelings through their artwork.
Since 1980, Riley has been at Loyola Marymount and a therapist with the Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center in Culver City. She also coordinates the art therapy program at Loyola Marymount.
The Center for the Partially Sighted in Santa Monica has named Dr. LaDonna Ringering as executive director.
She succeeds founder Samuel Genensky Ph.D., who will become the center's chairman of the executive committee of the Board of Directors on Jan. 1.