World traveler, hometown volunteer gets Crimson Award

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Joyce S. Watanabe will be one of three women to receive this year’s Gardena YWCA Crimson Award Friday at the Torrance-Gateway Holiday Inn.

Watanabe attended Gardena High School where she actively participated in the Drill Team and marched in the old Loyalty Day Parades. Graduating with the California Scholarship Federation Gold Seal, shewent to work at the Los Angeles City Hall, where she became secretary to the president of the Board of Public

Works. Moving to Northern California, she was secretary to the San Francisco Port director in the Ferry Building,

Joyce S. Watanabe will be one of three women to receive this year’s Gardena YWCA Crimson Award Friday at the Torrance-Gateway Holiday Inn.

Watanabe attended Gardena High School where she actively participated in the Drill Team and marched in the old Loyalty Day Parades. Graduating with the California Scholarship Federation Gold Seal, shewent to work at the Los Angeles City Hall, where she became secretary to the president of the Board of Public

Works. Moving to Northern California, she was secretary to the San Francisco Port director in the Ferry Building,

and to the Golden Gate Bridge chief engineer, as well as two academic departments of College of Marin beforereturning to Gardena.

 As a member of the Gardena Valley Friends of the Library, Watanabe serves in a variety of capacities at the Gardena

Mayme Dear Library. She readily accepted the editorship of the Friends’ newsletter when then president Loyce

Holt offered her the challenge. Since that first issue in 2005, the library’s life membership has doubled, withmembers continuing their support each year.

 

Watanabe’s other duties include sorting donated greeting cards and calendars that are sold at the daily and FirstSaturday book sales. She can be spotted at the monthly book sale in her red library apron, a party favor from the annual Los Angeles County-wide Friends of the Library Exchange. Her efforts go far beyond the

door-step of the Library, i.e., having FOL fund a Concert on the Lawn and Ice Cream Social, and through theBahaá’í Faith adult Sunday School collecting food and cash which she personally delivered to the City ofGardena’s emergency food pantry.

 

Ever vigilant about the environment, Joyce volunteered at cleanups for Keep Gardena Beautiful Day and theWillows Wetland until her mini-blackouts ended those good old days. Undeterred, she now continues hervigilance on a smaller scale, picking up trash when she walks her dog. She believes that an easy individual way

to serve both the community and yourself is to participate in local activities:take a class, visit the crafts fair atthe community center,  patronize a local business on Small Business Saturday, get a book for 50cents at Gardena Library’s book sale or to donate a book, go to a Neighborhood Watch meeting and a candidatesforum, write a Letter to the Editor, and to your Congressional Representative, vote (the U.S. Voting RightsAct is 50 in 2015), invite someone from another town and treathim/her to a local eating place, and while citizens are out and about doing any of these things, Joyce hopes you also pick upone piece of trash. If everyone in Gardena picked up one piece every day, that would be more than anastounding 55,000 pieces a day, she said.

 

An avid traveler, she has been to 25 countries in the spirit of her Bahá’í belief that “The earth is but one country,

and mankind its citizens.”And she lives her life accordingly.

Story courtesy of the Gardena YWCA; photo by Castro Photography

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