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Trip to Switzerland Satisfies Dream for Disabled Minister

February 09, 1992|CHRISTINA V. GODBEY

The Rev. Nathalie Forrest will have a dream come true this week in Switzerland.

The 62-year-old Los Angeles resident will address the 44th session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva. Forrest, who became disabled after a back operation, will speak on the rights of the disabled. But her speech also will address human rights throughout the world. She plans to ask the commission to work to change attitudes about people with disabilities. "I'm so excited (about the trip and speech)," she said. "It is unbelievable and I'm not just representing the (disabled) community but everyone in the United States."

The opportunity to address the commission came about by coincidence. At a Christmas party for the disabled in Culver City, Forrest met Wilda Spaulding, who heads the Rehabilitation Hope Fund Inc., a nonprofit organization that serves disabled individuals on the Westside.

The next day, Spaulding called to ask Forrest to make the trip with a group from Los Angeles. Forrest's expenses, except for spending money and meals, will be taken care of by the Rehabilitation Hope Fund. Friends and family chipped in to help defray some of the costs. "I am a person with disabilities, I'm black, and a grandmother playing an Autoharp," she said. "I never expected to be chosen for something like this." Before she became disabled, Forrest was a minister at the Free Anglican Church in America in Los Angeles. She still works with children and likes to think of herself as the resident grandmother at the church. "This trip is a reward for all the rejections and disappointments of my life," she said.

High school students Faraz Sanei of Los Angeles and Angela Ellis of Marina del Rey attended the National Young Leaders Conference in Washington last month.

The two were among 350 students chosen from across the nation to participate in the conference that was sponsored by the Congressional Youth Leadership Council. They were chosen for demonstrating academic achievement, leadership and citizenship.

Registered Nurse Jodi Mannino Navandro, pre-hospital coordinator at Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center, was recently appointed to the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Commission.

Navandro was recommended for the position by the California chapter of the Emergency Nurses Assn. Her nomination was confirmed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which oversees the commission.

She has worked in the hospital's emergency department for nine years.

The Venice Chamber of Commerce awarded its "Humanitarian of the Year" award to Lou and Irma Colen.

The Colens, longtime supporters of the Venice Family Clinic, were honored for their contributions to the clinic and community at a dinner dance on Feb. 1 at the Marina City Club.

The Santa Monica Area Chamber of Commerce has presented its "1991 Distinguished Service Award" to Daniel Kingsley, vice president and project manager for Maguire Thomas Partners in Santa Monica.

Kingsley, who most recently co-chaired the City of Santa Monica Task Force on Homelessness, was given the award at a luncheon banquet on Feb. 3 at the Miramar Sheraton Hotel in Santa Monica.

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