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Santa Monica College Foundation Helps Woolsey Fire Victims
By Lookout Staff
July 16, 2019 -- The Santa Monica College Foundation gave "relief awards" to five SMC students who lost their homes in last year's Woolsey Fire, school officials said Tuesday.
The Foundation -- which raised more than $51,000 since the November fire -- gave the students awards ranging from $5,700 to $20,000 based on need.
Some 90 contributions have been made during the fundraising campaign, college officials said.
One of the recipients, film student Gina Venditti, began commuting to Los Angeles after the fire destroyed the home where she lived with her fiance, officials said.
There, she rented a room with a friend, looked for work and took an SMC class online to “stay focused and determined.”
“The Woolsey Fire happened so fast that we were unable to save our animals and . . . our belongings," Venditti said. "It has been devastating and brings me to tears, still.”
The couple has been slowly replacing their belongings and are beginning to “feel a sense of hope for the future,” she said.
Venditti said she “started crying on the phone” when a counselor informed her she was the recipient of a Foundation relief award.
“I was completely in shock,” she said. “I had no idea that the SMC Foundation was going to help. I am grateful. I am so grateful!”
The Woolsey lasted from November 8 to November 16 and burned 96,949 acres of land in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
It destroyed 1,643 structures and prompted the evacuation of more than 295,000 people. Three people were killed.
The Foundation provides student scholarships, faculty grants to support innovative projects and curriculum, and program support year round.
To learn more about the foundation click here.
For more information on the campaign, email Sy_Dan@smc.edu or call 310-434-4180.
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