Since 2002, LMU students have been volunteering their time to bring art and inspiration to young minds through LMU's ARTsmart program. ARTsmart provides underserved young people with access to an education in the visual arts through instruction by LMU students. Each semester, teams of these volunteers design art lesson plans and implement those lessons at the Westside Global Awareness Magnet, a Title I school. The spring semester culminates with an on-campus gallery exhibit and celebration of the young students' artwork.
Inspired by a grass-roots student effort, the L.I.O.N.S garden was developed in 2011 to address the issues of hunger and nutrition through urban gardening. Through its use of native plants and sustainable technologies, such as rainwater harvesting, this garden has been a valuable tool for curricular and extracurricular programs for LMU students and the community. Community members are encouraged to volunteer during the garden's Friday work days (2:00 – 4:00pm) to prune, weed, plant, and harvest. Surplus produce is donated to LMU's Feed the Hungry Program and the LAX Food pantry.
Race for Success
This March, LMU hosted the annual Race for Success 5k/1k fundraiser to support local schools. Thousands of Westchester/Playa del Rey/Playa Vista residents flocked to LMU's campus early in the morning on March 8 to either run or cheer on race participants, who varied in age from one year to 94 years of age. The race, in its seventh year, was the brainchild of Mathu Matthews and Tina Ayala, two Westchester natives who are now raising families of their own here.
This is also the sixth year that the race was held on LMU's campus. The university donates the full use of its campus, including funding additional public safety officers, closing campus roads, and providing equipment and supplies for the day of the event.
Race for Success has not only raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local schools since it began, but has become a key community gathering event, bringing local businesses and community organizations together in one place.