By Mara

As a "Young Angel" I know how all the dances work. From set up to clean-up everything is a team effort. On Friday December 4th as I was lugging heavy boxes of Jarritos soda from the parking lot to the kitchen I watched as three new people walked through the door of the Palisades Woman's Club. I knew they were too early and too old for the dance, so I walked over to them with a smile. Brook introduced them as Yvette, Pedro, and Emanuel from Amino Watts High School. They had come to watch how we worked the dances for their school dance on December 11th. Excited for the chance to show off all I know and the chance to incorporate new faces into Young Angels, the "old" angels spoke with the "new" angels. We learned that Yvette, Pedro, and Emanuel were in eleventh grade and they were working to have a dance like the Young Angels dances at their school. We learned that with the money they would raise from the dance they were going to buy soccer uniforms and equipment for their soccer team. The most shocking thing we learned about their school was that it had been a part of Locke High, which had so many shooting incidents, and helicopters always over head, and SWAT teams as a fixture at the school, that the campus was broken up into 6 schools—Animo Watts being one of them.

At five minutes before seven all the "old" Angels were in place and ready for the crowd of middle school kids to flow through the door. At the check in table sat a new face: Yvette, who worked with Deja to check in the kids who had not yet bought tickets on-line. Our security angel Nathan was posted in his usual position at the door and with him were Emanuel and Pedro who were an extra addition to our security team. From an outside point of view one would never be able to tell that the Young Angels were doning new members of our team.

As the chaos decreased and kids were coming out to grab a quick refreshment of our sponsored soda: Jarritos, Emanuel and Pedro switched jobs to the table selling drinks. They were excellent as kids rushed forward pushing money towards them and then ran off with their drinks. They calmly collected the money and distributed the drinks without any problems. They were "pros." Yvette was easily dealing with the kids and parents that asked questions and tried to get in with "special exceptions." The "new" Angels were awesome.

The following week I had the privilege of attending the dance at Amino Watts High School. All the kids were so dedicated to what they were doing. Every single "angel" at Amino Watts was so inspirational to watch. They all handled every issue with no problem, from how check-in would be set up to when the food should be served. I got a chance to meet some of the students, a few of them even showed me around the campus. It was a two-story school that was a lot smaller than the sprawling school I go to, and it was very nice and clean. The students were so nice and proud of their school.

The dance turned out to be a hit. It was the kind of party any person would have fun. There was an excellent DJ, DJ R.E.N, and special guest, Khao, performed. It was so much fun to watch all the kids just let loose and have a blast, each of them knowing that by participating they would be helping their school. When I got home that evening I felt proud of what I had done, even though most of the students ran the whole thing, I was still there to help if they needed it. It was an experience I will always remember and I am so glad that we as Young Angels have inspired new people to join and become part of what we do. I look forward to going back to Amino Watts, and I also look forward to expanding beyond the teams we have to the many schools that could use a Young Angels team. I know that Yvette, Pedro, and Emanuel learned something from us, but I also know we learned much from them as well.


by Brook Dougherty 10.26.2009

Special to Palisadian Post

Since community service is mandatory, you’d think it would be easy to find a safe place for Young Angels to do a fundraising dance. In ’03, we started at the Doubletree in Santa Monica, but that hotel was too expensive. Then we were at the Fairmont, but it was too big. Then Phyllis Keeley, rental czar of the Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club, took a chance on us. The Woman’s Club was just right. The Club was more ladylike than our past venues, and my partner Debbie and I hadn’t fully realized that while some of our student guests had manners, others had evidently been raised by wolves. Some feral boy wrote graffiti in the men’s room, and when we inspected the dance floor we found jelly beans mashed so far into the floor they couldn’t be removed. Calvin the Custodian was not happy. We were not invited back.

After a year, the waters parted and Phyllis gave us another chance. We’ve been renting the Club house ever since. Last Friday, our middle school dance “FLASH” was sold out to 300 kids. We had high school dee jays from our new program to bring Young Angels dances to East L.A. Our professional security team did the usual bag checks to enforce our zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol. Guards were at each door and in the bathrooms. An undercover high school chaperone team was there to break up gross dance behavior.

Debbie was supervising check in, and the usual “my mom did so buy a ticket,” and I was answering an email asking if we sold marijuana when producer Rachel Jaffe races up and says, “The Police are here.” I strolled outside and said hello to Sergeant Scott Bays of Palisades Patrol. Not the Police. Scott said he had gotten a couple of calls, but it was clear to him this wasn’t one of those out-of-control birthday parties.

Then, we look up and see Alice Karl of the Woman’s Club waiting by the check in table. Alice said she had to come down in person to see for herself what was going on. She’d gotten a couple of calls too. We showed her our security guards, explained our charitable mission and told her we keep getting confused with private, crazy teen parties. She said it looked pretty tame. Just loud. We told Alice we were concerned about our reputation being hurt. She said she’d help us straighten out the confusion on the street, and now that she’d seen firsthand what we were about, she could help us calm the rumor mill. We were happy Alice Karl took the trouble to come visit our event at nine o’clock on a Friday. More folks should check things out themselves before deciding the sky is falling.

By ten the kids had been released to their parents. There was no graffiti in the bathrooms. No jelly beans on the floor. One lone boy waited outside for his mother. Calvin folded up the chairs. He said to us “You Young Angels have come a long way since that first dance.”

The Woman’s Club has given Young Angels a chance to keep our fundraisers local, and build our program in less-fortunate neighborhoods. They share our belief that all the children belong to all and have made it possible for local kids to help kids who aren’t as blessed as them. We are grateful to the ladies of the Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club for sharing their Clubhouse and their understanding of the true nature of community service.

Young Angels Step Up PDF Print E-mail

Young Angels of America began in the family room of Claudia Vallon’s house on Via de la Paz in 2002. A local seventh grader needed a community service project. The service project morphed into a Linkin Park concert. Young Angels of America community service organization was born. It has been teaching local kids event production and fundraising ever since. Each year, the Young Angels produce student dances at the Palisades Woman’s Club and make donations to charitable causes.

This spring, in response to the economic crisis, the Angels ventured out of the Palisades to St. Eugene School in South Los Angeles. The Team provided not only a $3,000 sponsorship for a Nigerian band performance they also staffed the event. Funds for two full scholarships were raised.

The Team also visited St. John the Evangelist school in the Crenshaw District where they presented a check for $1,200 to the student council for the purchase of an LED sign. Young Angels member Jordan Ferguson said on the ride home, “It’s not fair that we have more stuff than they do. We need to put on events at other schools and help them raise money for the stuff they need. Their schools aren’t that far away from ours.”

With that sentiment in mind, the Angels are continuing to mobilize its program. A season of Young Angels dee jay events are planned at schools on the Westside to support schools hardest hit by recent budget cuts. The Dee Jay team will also be performing at schools in South and East L.A. that are often unable to produce their own fundraising events because the cost of rental equipment is prohibitive.

Young Angels long-time audio vendor Rick Ramirez of RNS Audio and professional deejay Renson Blanco have begun teaching a series of Young Angels Dee Tech Workshops at West L.A. Studio Services where student dee jays learn performance and programming skills in preparation for going on the road.

The first Young Angels home dance of the season “FLASH” presents guest dee Jays from the Young Angels Tech Workshop. Chase Brandon, a freshman at Crossroads School, Jordan Ferguson, a freshman at Loyola High School and Aiden Krasnoff, a freshman at Palisades Charter High School will appear with D.J. R.E.N. Funds raised will be used to purchase equipment for the road shows.

The dance is Friday, October 23rd from 7-10 p.m. at the Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club. Middle school welcome. The ticket price is $20 on line or $30 at the door. Tickets may be purchased at For more info call 310.573.9913.

Local Boy Would Make Grandma Proud PDF Print E-mail

Jack Wada never met his Grandma. She died at 38 of breast cancer. He has grown up hearing all about her, though, and how Grandma Beverly Wolman started Concern Foundation, a premiere cancer research organization. Jack, a 6th grader at Paul Revere, is part of the Young Angels of America production team, and his work today would make his Grandma proud.

As a member of Young Angels, Jack and the rest of the team are responsible for the planning of and production of events, including the upcoming Winter Dance to be held at the Woman’s Club on March 2nd. In addition to event production, the Young Angels select charitable organizations to support with the event profits. They review issues of concern to them on both a local and national level, and select organizations that they would like to help. The recipients of the Winter Dance event will be Concern Foundation, with a gift ear-marked for pediatric cancer research, and an additional gift to MADISONS Foundation.

Madisons Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality and quantity of information available to parents of children with rare, life-threatening diseases. The organizations’ namesake, Madison Smith, will be in attendance at the event. A sixth-grader, Madison made quite an impression at the Fall Dance when she engaged in a “dance-off” with Palisades High Junior, Erin Kelly. She will be onstage with Jack and the other Angels to supervise the guitar giveaway and the introduction of the surprise guest. Madison will also be receiving the check from the Young Angles at a special follow-up meeting, when she will give a talk about her organization and her activities to help the Foundation, which was started by her mom. While the two eleven-year olds have never met, their philanthropic activities are equally impressive. “Jack Wada is a young Warren Buffet, and Madison Smith is a clear young voice that talks about the importance of doing the right thing in an era when most kids are all about me,” says Young Angels Executive Director, Teresa Bond. “It’s quite impressive to watch this group of kids figure out how to give back.”

To RSVP to the dance:


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