A Spooktacular October at Penny Lane

November 3, 2022

The EDGY Conference: October 13, 2022

On Thursday, October 13th Penny Lane Centers held its 12th Annual EDGY Conference at the Skirball Cultural Center. It was a wonderful day to be back at the always impressive Skirball Center.   After a few years of doing special Zoom versions of EDGY there were a lot of nerves going in to EDGY 2022.  Would people come?  Could things including EDGY start to feel back to normal?   How did we ever do this thing before because it’s a lot of work!?   But all the fears were pointless as the EDGY team fell back in to rhythm and put on an impressive conference with more than 300 attendees.  There were meaningful and well attended break out session, a short film, plenary presentations, a panel, food oh don’t forget food and most importantly there was togetherness.  It was inspiring to see so many people come together to learn and advocate for our LGBTQ+ communities!   Dimensions of Gender marks the 12th EDGY Conference and is one of our proudest moments at Penny Lane.  This conference is a labor of love for our staff, our presenters, our guests and our organization and is so moving an experience that you will just have to come next year and experience it for yourself.   Kudos to Cameron Glasgow who as chairperson for the conference has it down to such a science as to how to put on this conference who once again helmed the creation of an incredible experience.   Many staff and volunteers supported and assisted Cameron and share in the appreciation we all have for the event due to their contributions.   I know those that attended thoroughly enjoyed the event, learned a lot, laughed some and maybe even cried a little.  Join us next year so you too can be part of that experience

See you in 2023!

-Bernie LaFianza, Penny Lane Centers

Be the Domino

On Sunday, October 23rd, the Diversity Beyond the Basics (DBB) facilitators gathered to celebrate the inaugural DBB roll out.  Over brunch we talked, laughed, cried and celebrated what Penny Lane Centers has achieved by taking a strong stance on inclusivity.  

This group first came together in August of 2021.  From that time forward, they committed themselves to the work and to increasing knowledge around equity and inclusion.  It was not by chance that these people facilitated DBB.  For many it was a calling, something they felt that they had to do.  I am so very proud of the work that they accomplished and the passion in which they delivered the message.  

The one downside was that this was all done virtually.  We spoke many times of our desire to come together, to see one another away from a computer screen and to bask in the connections and relationships that were formed in a virtual world.

So, what does the domino have to do with DBB?  We spoke of the importance of being the domino, taking that first step to make a difference for others.  The work we have done with DBB has allowed us all to be the domino, to create a cascading effect in order to foster a culture of inclusivity.  On Sunday, facilitators were awarded their very own domino.  Each award was in special recognition of the unique qualities they each brought to DBB.  While each facilitator brought something different to the table the heart was the same for all involved.

It is our pleasure to highlight the DBB Dominos and to thank them for all that they did to ensure the success of DBB.

  • Parichat Stout
  • Sue Moravec
  • Daniel Bustamante
  • Jen Barraza-Garcia
  • Annie Lozano
  • Diane Nunn
  • Cynthia Shackelford
  • Carolyn Johnson
  • Fanta Ritchie

Special mention to the following for their tireless support and championing of DBB.

  • Julie Chirino
  • Wendy Carpenter

Thanks also goes out to the Penny Lane leadership team and all of our remarkable PLC Staff for joining us on the DBB journey!

-Judy Grant, Penny Lane Centers

SUD (Substance Use Disorder) Team Attend CCAPP Conference in San Diego

The Penny Lane SUD (Substance Use Disorder) program was thrilled to learn that they were awarded funding this year to assist in providing embedded Behavioral Health and Employment Development Services to residents in PLC Housing locations. Through this partnership with SAMHSA, Penny Lane staff will receive additional training and implement innovative programming to reach our housing communities.  Additional staff will be co-located at our housing residences to provide screening, assessment, treatment, job development services and case management to our residents at no cost. Far too often, stigma combined with lack of adequate health care coverage or long waiting times to see a specialist, limit or discourage an individual’s ability to seek help. Through this effort, PLC is breaking down this barrier to access services and meeting individuals where the live, work and play.

Pictured above are several of our SUD Program staff attending a statewide CCAPP conference in San Diego. Our staff spent 5 days attending workshops and learning alongside other professionals in the Substance Use Disorder field, crafting new interventions to assist PLC in creating new and robust program offerings for our community.

-Kristin Malka, Penny Lane Centers

Service Above Self

Shirin Mosavi Najad and the wonderful Rotary Club in North Hollywood surprised the Penny Lane Foster Family Agency with teen and children’s bikes.  They purchased and put together these wonderful bicycles for our kids! They also purchased canvas bags that they decorated for our kids.  

The Rotary Club is an international service organization whose stated purpose is to bring together businesses and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service and to advance goodwill and peace around the world.  Penny Lane is happy to have the Rotarians as part of our community!!  Thank you!!

-Laurie Bennett, Penny Lane Centers

Dia De Muertos Celebration

Dia De Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a two-day holiday celebrated by many Latin American families. This is a time to come together to celebrate and share memories of those who have passed. On November 1st and 2nd, the dead are honored with ofrendas (alters) consisting of memories including pictures, favorite foods, personal items and marigolds (flowers) that guide the spirits to their alters using the vibrant colors and smells.

Every year the Penny Lane TAY Centers in both the AV and Commerce, celebrate Dia De Muertos by building ofrendas and hand painting skulls reminding us to enjoy life and how we are all equal in death. We spend the day sharing memories of our loved ones, processing grief, and celebrating life.

Check out some of the pictures and ofrendas from both of our celebrations below.

-Cynthia C Gonzalez, Penny Lane Centers