top of page

Wooten News Archives

Wooten Board Chair Receives BofA's Highest Award for Volunteerism

October 2019

Our board chairperson Paul Wetmore volunteers several hours per month working with board members and staff to guide our strategic direction, donor relations and fund development. His employer Bank of America awarded him with a 2019 Global Volunteer Award, the company's most distinguished award for volunteerism. We can attest to his dedication and the impact his support has on our sustainability and growth. Paul also received a $1,000 donation for the center. Thank you, Paul, for everything you do to keep us going and growing!

Wooten Vision Award Presented to Steven and Debra Oh

May 2019

Long-time Wooten donors Steven and Debra Oh were the honorees at our 26th Vision Award Dinner at Hotel Casa del Mar in Santa Monica. The Ohs have been donors for more than 20 years, most recently presenting a $50,000 donation to the center. They are a beautiful couple with a heart for our youth and center. We appreciate their love and support very much!

Wooten Board Chair Receives Invest in Others Award

June 2018

Wooten board chairperson Paul Wetmore was selected as a finalist for the Invest in Others Catalyst Award. The award honors people working in the field of investments for their community service. Paul has served on our board more than 20 years, including more than five years as board chair. A well-deserved selection! The center received a $10,000 grant as part of the award for Paul.

United Way Award to Wooten Executive Director
May 2018
Congratulations to our executive director Naomi McSwain for being the first recipient of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles Power of Her Award. United Way honored her at a reception at the Pacific Design Center. Thank you UWGLA!

Vision Award to Rick Shlemmer

May 2018

Our Vision Awards honoree for 2018 is Rick Shlemmer. Rick is the principal of SAA interiors + architecture. We also deeply thank Rick Shlemmer and his staff for a dedicated two years serving pro bono designing our Phase 1 and Phase 2 plans and obtaining the permits needed to accomplish our current work. Our goal is to transform our six storefront buildings into one modern youth center. 

Vision Award to Thomas McCarthy

May 2017

Our Vision Awards honoree for 2017 is Thomas McCarthy. Tom is a long-time donor at the center. He is the co-president of a real estate development firm currently helping us develop plans to improve and expand our facilities. We appreciate his volunteer and financial contributions building success for our students, providing a great role model in the fields of commercial real estate, green advocacy and more. Click here for his bio.


AKA Award to Wooten Executive Director

March 2016

Thank you to AKA Sorority International Tau Beta Omega Marina del Rey Chapter for presenting one of three community partner awards to our executive director Naomi McSwain. Naomi accepted the trophy on behalf of the center at a lovely Scholarship Jazz Brunch at the Marina del Rey Hotel.


The AKA event also raised funds for youth scholarships and honored Marcia Reed, principal of 186th Street Elementary. A posthumous award to former AKA member Dr. Lacey Wyatt was accepted by her mother and daughter.


AKA has provided volunteers and donations at the center for about four years via step dance, leadership classes, and conferences, Christmas gifts, etc. They paid for and installed a mural on our 91st Street wall with a quote from our founder, who passed away last year.


UCLA builds and plants container gardens

January 2016

We were very happy and thankful to host students and faculty from UCLA at the center making a positive impact for children on our nation's King Day of Service. Thank you UCLA students and staff, Volunteer Center director Shannon Hickman, Chancellor Gene Block, and project coordinator George Sell.


Thanks for the volunteers, materials and expertise and a very fun day showing our students how to build, plant, paint and beautify their surroundings.


Thanks for the discussion group on going to college! Thank you for the investment in our youth (over $8,000 in labor and materials!) and some homegrown snacks via our new and improved garden...oranges, lemons, strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, and kale.


Kinecta plants drought-tolerant garden for King Day of Service

January 2016

So much fun today for an early King Day of Service with Kinecta Federal Credit Union. From breaking up asphalt to digging holes and stuffing them with drought-tolerant plants purchased by Kinecta. Thanks to all the Kinecta volunteers and Wooten staff, parents and youth who turned out to beautify our grounds and community. Pass by 91st Street at Western to check out the garden and mural with a quote from our founder Myrtle Faye Rumph. Calling for love, understanding and compassion for our youth!


Word Warriors III by Wooten Center alumnus Takia Tizzi Green

January 2016

Awesome night with the premiere of Word Warriors III, written, produced and directed by Wooten Center alumnus Takia Tizzi Green. The documentary focuses on the use of words as the weapon of choice over violence. It features a cast of poets including Amiri Baraka in his last interview, Malcolm Jamal Warner of The Cosby Show fame in a way most have never seen and Wooten alums Gregory Bell and Matthew Sutton, among others. Look for the documentary soon as several distributors were there to check it out. You can preview the trailer now online at


UCLA installs playground mural

October 2015 

On Saturday, more than 7,000 Bruins volunteered across Los Angeles, providing an estimated 38,000 hours of service to the region’s schools, veterans, homeless shelters and more. Over 600 organizers and approximately 6,500 new freshmen and transfer students lent a hand at 48 sites for UCLA’s seventh annual Volunteer Day, an event that kicks off the academic career of almost every new Bruin.


Projects included mural painting and beautification at schools and shelters; distribution of school supplies and dental hygiene kits; restoration of nature trails; landscaping; technology tutoring with seniors; and interactive activities with school children. Chancellor Gene Block joined volunteers at some of the sites, speaking at Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center and Second Street Elementary School. 


Wooten adopts i-Ready tutorials for adaptive and blended learning

July 2015

The Wooten Center uses the i-Ready online assessment tool to identify student needs in reading and math in the afterschool and summer programs. The assessments for grades 3-12 are based on state content standards to determine grade-level achievement or challenges. See Assessments are given three times per year in the afterschool program, and twice in the summer to track progress. Students also receive continuous lesson plans that identify and challenge individual needs of improvement based on state standards.


Summer Fun Camp features computer animation

June 2015

Summer Fun Camp is here! Registration is open now for the seven-week program June 15 to July 31 at the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center. Students in grades 3-9 will study computer animation and receive help preparing for their next grade levels, among other activities. Computer animation taught by cartoon artist David Brown.


Wooten founder homegoing at age 83

January 2015

Homegoing services were held today, January 16th, at Faithful Central Bible Church for our founder Myrtle Faye Rumph. Thank you to all of the family and friends, new and old, that turned out to make her day special. Best wishes to her Ross family, church family, and Wooten family. Our children have lost a great advocate but that spirit of love and care for our kids lives on.



Wooten Center Recognized as Service Enterprise Organization


LA Works and the Points of Light Foundation conducted a review of our volunteer management practices in 2014 and selected the Wooten Center as a certified Service Enterprise organization in recognition of our work recruiting, engaging and recognizing volunteers and interns.


Wooten Founder Receives 2010 Presidential Citizens Medal

August 2010

Myrtle Faye Rumph, founder of the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center, was one of 13 recipients of the 2010 Presidential Citizens Medal award, our nation’s second-highest civilian honor. Mrs. Rumph received the award from the President at the White House on August 4, along with the other winners from across the country.


The Presidential Citizens Medal was established in 1969 to recognize American citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens. President Obama selected the winners out of a final pool of about 30 people. He chose to use the 2010 Citizens Medal to recognize Americans whose work has had a significant impact on their communities but may not have garnered national attention.

bottom of page