Hillsides Community Service Project



By Ed Kramer (Past President & Past Chairman)

I am writing this article to provide all LA Penn State chapter members as to how and
why we have become involved with the Hillsides Home for Children in Pasadena for the past 21 years.

At the time I was a member of the Board of Directors with no specific functions other than
voting and general discussions. After one particular meeting I went home and started thinking. We have a great chapter-good leadership, excellent programs such as social,
athletics, student recruiting, etc. as well as involvement with the University. But it seemed
to me that we were missing something. The community in which we live has given so much to us all but we had not returned that great gift This got me really thinking and
suddenly like a bolt of lightning there it was – local service to the community in the city
where we live. As I focused on this aspect I realized my own preference over the prior
years had been working to help kids – abused, neglected, ill, and handicapped. I then went
out on my journey with absolutely no idea where it would lead me needing to find an
organization that would be a good fit for us and vice versa.

Every group I met with spoke mainly about money, “how much could we donate and how
much could we raise?” This was not for us and certainly not what I was looking for. Finally I struck “gold” and found the Hillsides Home for Children in Pasadena. Hillsides is a facility which provides counseling, rehabilitation, education and a residential treatment center for abused, abandoned and neglected children. The man I met with was John Hitchcock-Director of the Home. It was refreshing that “money” was never discussed.
He informed me that Hillsides was founded in 1913 and sits on 13 acres with many older
buildings in need of overdue repairs as well as the surrounding grounds. We talked about
our involvement with many potential work projects.

I took all this information back to the board and after discussion they unanimously approved Hillsides and we were off and running. The first thing we needed was a skilled
and willing leader to direct our work. Again we lucked out as someone introduced me to
Chapter member Frank Tremmel who owns a successful nursery-Rainbow Gardens in San
Gabriel and is also a very skilled handyman. Without Frank we would have gone nowhere.
What a blessing! His total dedication has been outstanding.

For many years in addition to the yearly work projects we have done some “fun” events for
the kids. To name a few:
A. took kids to a petting farm
B. Dodger baseball game
C. party on campus where we handed out Swatch watches to all.
D. bowling and pizza party

About two years ago I became ill and had to turn the reins over. Dennis Campbell took over and has done a wonderful job. Thanks Dennis.

But most importantly I can not forget very warm and grateful thanks to the many volunteers who worked with such special dedication and enthusiasm over the past
21 years. You gals and guys made it all work.

I have tried to give you a history of our involvement with Hillsides. We have given a great
deal but have gotten so much more – ten fold – in return.