At the Santa Monica Festival Saturday, several residents were recognized for their contributions to making the city a better place to live as part of the “Community Heroes” program, a partnership between City Hall and the Human Relations Council.
“In their own way, each of these community heroes has been contributing to our city for many years without expecting recognition,” Mayor Richard Bloom said.
The heroes received a commendation from City Hall, and later in the year they will be featured on the sides of Big Blue Buses.
The 2011 community heroes are:
• Lori Nafshun: A founding member of the Ocean Park Association and a member of the Pier Restoration Corp. board, Nafshun is also an organizer of the Main Street Fourth of July Parade.
• Paula Biren: As a long-time volunteer for Chrysalis, a community nonprofit that creates pathways to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing resources and support to find and retain jobs, Biren is at Chrysalis every week sorting and organizing clothing donations so that clients can find appropriate clothing to wear when they go for job interviews or for going to work every day.
• Dr. Matthew Torrington: A volunteer and medical director for Common Ground, a community nonprofit organization that fights HIV and other diseases by delivering vital health and education services to people living with or at risk for HIV, Torrington is an advocate for those who lack access to health care and is committed to reducing the impact of HIV and drug addiction in the community.
• Betsy Hiteshew: She has been a leader of the city’s Child Care and Early Education Task Force for over two decades and was the founder of Connections for Children. Hiteshew is an advocate for early education programs for all children.
• Siobhan Dolan: A dedicated volunteer with Heal the Bay, Dolan is said to do just about anything and everything for the environmental watchdog, from office work to helping organize beach cleanups. She is also a guest speaker educating people about ocean pollution and what they can do to improve water quality.
• Sita Martyn: As a volunteer for the Westside Family Health Center, Martyn sets up exam rooms and prepares patients to see a doctor or nurse. The clinic provides health care to over 9,000 patients each year, many of whom are low-income or uninsured.