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She Has Taken Volunteerism to Heart

June 30, 1991|CHRISTINA V. GODBEY

Norma Gonzales, a 26-year resident of Brentwood, has always had a big heart. It can be seen in the number of hours she devotes to volunteer work on the Westside.

The United Way recognized her efforts at the Venice Family Clinic last month with its Agency Leadership Award for 1991.

Gonzales was asked to join the clinic's board of directors soon after being named district manager for the Southern California Gas Co. in Santa Monica in 1982. Since that time, she has been one of the clinic's most committed volunteers.

She has been instrumental in obtaining health-care services in pediatrics, teen medicine and prenatal care for the clinic. She has also served as chairperson on numerous clinic volunteer committees over the years. Gonzales recently developed and initiated a program to reach out to the Latino community.

Gonzales is effusive on the subject of the clinic staff. "The health professionals and volunteers have a wonderful way of treating the patients," she said. "And I like the fact that (I'm) involving myself with other people who have a mission." With her full schedule, Gonzales said there are times when she gets tired and would just rather stay home instead of attending a meeting after work. "But I think of all the things other people are doing," she said. "Then I'm energized and can really concentrate on the clinic."

Gonzales also lends her time to education projects. She is involved with the Adopt-A-School program at Edison Elementary in Santa Monica and serves as a regent at Mount St. Mary's College.

Gonzales recommends the volunteer experience, saying that it gets one in touch with one's humanity and gives one a fresh perspective. "As I interact with new people, I discover new things," she said.

She said she would like to see others join her ranks to help ease the great demand for volunteers and the need for funding.

Rhoda Weisman has been named the assistant director of the Jewish Federation Council's Western Region United Jewish Fund in Santa Monica.

Her duties will be in the area of community outreach. In the past, she has served as a national coordinator of field services at the International Hillel Center in Washington and as an assistant director at UCLA Hillel.

Carol Jago, a Santa Monica High School teacher, and 10th-graders Derek DeKoff, Nersi Nikahtar, and Danielle Durkin will participate this summer in a poetry project sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English.

The project is an experiment in which 50 teachers, from throughout the United States, and their students will get together to write poetry every two weeks throughout the summer. Samples of their work will be published by the council next year.

Westside residents Wendy Wachtell Schine of Santa Monica, Donna Wolverton of Marina del Rey, and Jan Kepler of Pacific Palisades have been elected to the board of the Santa Monica Heritage Museum.

Fox Hills Mall selected Sunley Kim and Elisa Sohn to serve as delegates this month at the 31st annual American Academy of Achievement in New York City.

Kim and Sohn, recent valedictorians and graduates of Culver City High School, were honored for their leadership and scholastic accomplishments as outstanding high school seniors.

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