This is a sponsored post.
Often times, when we see something isn’t working, many of us will look the other way. Not Tonia Knightner. When she attended a Neighborhood Council meeting and saw that they needed help, she immediately stepped up and volunteered to fill a vacant seat.
What Tonia found was a great way to give back to her community. She serves on the Park Mesa Heights Neighborhood Council, which is one of 99 councils in Los Angeles that form the grassroots level of local government.
Los Angeles Neighborhood Council members are elected by their local communities, so they are elected officials, but serve as volunteers. Anyone who lives, works or owns property in an area can run to serve on a Neighborhood Council. It’s a great way to not only volunteer for your community, but to have your own voice heard on issues that matter to you – from schools, to housing developments to local parks.
Neighborhood Council Elections are happening now through June. Find out who is running for a spot on the council in your neighborhood and find out when and where to vote at EmpowerLA.
We are working with Empower LA to get the word out about the Neighborhood Councils and how important they are to having a vibrant and thriving Los Angeles. This post is the third in a series where we highlight local moms who have served or are serving on their local councils. Click here to learn more about the Neighborhood Councils and to meet the other women in the series.
Tonia is a realtor and the founder and CEO of A New Life 4 U Economic Development Corporation. The grandmother of 2, serves as the Treasurer on the Park Mesa Heights Neighborhood Council.
1) How did you first hear about the Neighborhood Council?
I have always been familiar with Neighborhood Councils, I specifically became aware of PMHCC when I was working with a previous organization.
2) What made you decide to run for neighborhood council? Was there an issue happening in your neighborhood that you wanted resolved?
I went to a Saturday morning meeting in July 2016 to support the organization I was working with at the time. They had to give a presentation about a housing development project they were getting ready to begin construction on. During this meeting, I saw there was a lack of communication with my former organization I worked for, the Neighborhood Council and other stakeholders. I also saw the NC didn’t have all of their positions filled and there was a need. I approached the President of the Board and informed them I would love to volunteer my time to fill a vacancy and become a conduit for communication and educating the organization and stakeholders about the proper process for moving forward with the development.
3) What is an average meeting like?
About 40-50 stakeholders, lots of presentations and updates of events.
4) What has been most surprising to you about the experience?
It’s been very rewarding to meet the various organizations involved in our communities, the small business owners you do not hear about doing awesome work.
5) What is something that people might not understand about the Neighborhood Council?
They are the platform for people to have their voice heard about various issues, concerns in the community, providing education about civic engagement.
6) How do balance raising kids with your work on the council?
I am a grandmother now, so my schedule is open, however, I do engage my granddaughter with the various events so they can become aware.
7) What do your children think of mom being in the council? Do you talk to them about giving back to the community
My son, daughter-n-love and granddaughters enjoy the knowledge I provide, the volunteerism and the importance of giving back.
8) Do you think Moms are uniquely qualified to help their neighborhoods? Why?
Absolutely!!! It takes a village to promote and educate sustainable living. It always start at home.
This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Empower LA. Click here to read more about the Neighborhood Council and to meet the other women in the series.