Susana Medina strives to help people rise up
By Gary Luster
Most people in Gardena know of Dan Medina as one of the city’s current councilmen. Others know him as one of the leaders who fought for residents victimized by the black sludge incident of a few years ago.
However, not as many are as familiar with his wife Susana, who is just as much of a leader and prominent Gardenan as her husband of 24 years.
Four years ago, Medina won the Gardena Valley Lions Club Citizen of the Year award and last year won the award for L.A. County’s Democrat of the Year.
Medina won these awards thanks to her efforts to serve the greater community around her. Beginning in the early ‘80s, when she worked with then-Sheriff Sherman Block to begin the first volunteer program for the L.A. County Sheriffs, Medina has spent much of her life in service to others.
Some of her recent efforts of service include her current position as the chairman of Gardena’s Cinco de Mayo Scholarship Program, which grants scholarships to participating Gardena students.
Originally begun as a beauty contest that granted a scholarship to the winner, Medina was involved in changing it to just a scholarship program for girls in 2004 and in 2013, changed the program to include boys.
Medina said that helping kids gain an edge in life is a passion of hers. In recent years, Medina helped two student athletes earn football scholarships to colleges in Texas, as well as helped many others earn purely academic scholarships.
“[My work in the scholarship program] helped me to help them and guide them to go to a different path than they were on originally,” Medina said. “It’s my passion to be able to help the underdog to give them a push to get ahead in life.”
In addition to helping students, another of Medina’s passions is helping the homeless.
Currently, Medina volunteers to help the homeless through The New Challenge Ministries, a charity organization that helps those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. In 2006, the organization began tackling the issue of hunger among the less fortunate by gathering and distributing food.
For Christmas this past year, Medina was involved in feeding and giving gifts to the kids through The New Challenge Ministries organization. The church has adopted 20 needy families to which they will give food and toys.