Letter: Malibu’s Precious Gem

Letter to the Editor

Hello, Malibu.

Do you know how lucky you are? I sure do, and I’m not even a resident.

Over three years ago, I made an amazing discovery right in your front yard. 

I came to Southern California because my husband took a job here. I was reluctant and resentful because I’d just revamped my career so we could go to a foreign country and teach English as a second language. However, this new venture all but squashed my dream. The job was fortuitous in a world of unemployment, but I still carried my dream safely in my pocket because I knew what time could do to dreams. 

One day, after settling into a tiny temporary apartment in Agoura Hills, I sat on the couch, stared at my computer and wondered what I was going to do for at least the next two years. Then I did what most of us would do — I got on the Internet. I searched for places to use my new TESL education and struck pay dirt. I carefully crafted an email to the contact person and sent along my qualifications hoping they might let me volunteer. I was immediately encouraged to visit. 

I got in my car the next day, maneuvered the canyon roads and found my way to an unassuming little corner of Malibu. I parked the car, timidly walked up to a little brown trailer and peered in the doorway. In that moment, I could not have known that I’d found one of Malibu’s most precious gems. The foreign country I would come to teach in for the next three years and counting was right in your front yard. 

It was a little world of hopeful, talented and hardworking people who had come from different countries south of our border and who had left behind families and homes in search of work to support their families in less fortunate worlds. These people have the skills and desire to work for the people of Malibu. 

The place I am writing about is the Malibu Community Labor Exchange, which has been serving Malibu for over 20 years. 

We are hoping to serve for the next 20.

Theresa Fellman