Harry Barovsky Memorial Youth Commission reflects on past year

Five youth commissioner seniors were recognized during the Harry Barovsky Memorial Youth Commission meeting on June 2: Chair Nicole Reynaga, and commissioners Jaz Abbey, Jacqueline Reynaga, India Cortese and Eden Amar. Photos courtesy Jaz Abbey.

The Harry Barovsky Memorial Youth Commission met virtually on June 2, to recognize five seniors graduating high school and attending college in the fall and year in review recap. 

Chair Nicole Reynaga will attend Vanderbilt University in the fall and study English and political science. 

Nicole reynaga
Chair Nicole Reynaga

Commissioner Jaz Abbey will attend George Washington University as a political science major on a pre-law track. Abbey plans to attend law school and become a political or environmental justice lawyer. 

Commissioner Jaz Abbey

India Cortese will attend UC Berkeley as a part of the Global Management Program in the Haas Business School for eight weeks during the summer. Cortese will then depart to London at the beginning of the fall semester to begin studying international business with large corporations. She hopes to get her business degree and create a business of her own.

Commissioner India Cortese

Commissioner Eden Amar plans to go to UC Berkeley and major in environmental science.

Eden Amar
Commissioner Eden Amar.

Commissioner Jacqueline Reynaga plans to go to Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, in the fall.

Jacqueline Recognition
Commissioner Jacqueline Recognition.

“Thank you so much to our seniors, you are all the backbone of the commission and we really appreciate all the effort and I’m sorry that your last two years of the — especially if you’ve been on since you were in middle school — has been more on a virtual basis, but we are still proud of everything the commission has been able to achieve in the last two years since the pandemic,” Recreation Manager Kate Gallo said.

For the last two years, meetings and most events have been held through Zoom, and Gallo said the city resumed more significant events in April 2022 with Chumash Day. 

“The Youth Commission would have typically been involved with other events such as the Tiny Tot Olympics (September), Halloween Carnival (October), Breakfast with Santa (December), and Easter Hoppening (March); however, those events were not held due to Los Angeles County event restrictions at the time,” Gallo said.

Gallo said the commission pivoted its community service hours towards donation-type events that benefitted nonprofit organizations and hosted virtual programs and events where needed.

Gallo wanted to extend a special thank you to the chair, Nicole Reynaga, and Executive Board members Amar and Jacqueline Reynaga.

For the year-in-review recap, commissioner Amanda Rigali mentioned the events the commission was able to host in 2021. The commission was able to organize a blanket and towel drive in October to benefit the Agoura Hills Animal Shelter; and collected nine blankets and 35 towels.

Thirteen participants removed trash debris from Malibu Bluffs Park for Park Beautification Day in November. In the same month, commissioners also held a canned food drive and collected 85 cans and 22 boxed goods, which were donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu.

In December, the commission held a toy drive and donated 50 toys to the Los Angeles Firefighters Foundation’s Spark of Love Toy Drive. 

In January, the commission held a toiletries drive and collected 170 toiletries that benefited individuals experiencing homelessness through The People’s Concern. 

In February, the commission held a diapers and wipes drive and donated 18 packs of wipes and 307 diapers to the RAIN project. 

In March, the commission partnered with Heal the Bay organization with a beach clean-up and removed 366 pieces of debris from Zuma Beach.

In May, the commission held a Children’s book drive and donated 44 books to benefit Access Books.

During this appointment year, 2021-2022, the Youth Commission donated over 725 items benefitting local nonprofit organizations and provided over 300 hours of community service.

“Staff is very proud of the outgoing class of 2022 and thankful to them for their years of service to the Commission, some of which have been on the Commission since seventh grade,” Gallo said. “They displayed leadership and excellent communication and provided countless hours of community service for the City of Malibu and local nonprofit organizations.”

The Youth Commission will meet in September.