Citizen of the Year ‘in it for the kids’

By Karen Brainard

A common thread weaves its way through the innumerable activities of Kim Lasley, Ramona Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.

It’s a thread that took hold during her childhood in Southeastern San Diego.

Kim Lasley, awarded Citizen of the Year by the Ramona Chamber of Commerce, volunteers as director of the Arriba Teen Center, one of many endeavors she has undertaken to help youths. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

“I’m in it for the kids. That’s what it’s all about,” she said, explaining why, since 2010, she has served as a trustee on the Ramona Unified School District Board.

That sentiment pertains to nearly all the other roles and volunteer work she undertakes.

Nearly four years ago she opened the Arriba Teen Center, a place where teenagers can grow and develop with their peers while having fun.

“I always said Ramona needs something for the kids,” said Lasley, who continues to serve as the teen center’s director, and supervises when it’s open, which is 3 to 6 p.m., Tuesdays through Thursdays.

Remembering that a parent once wished her good luck overseeing the teenagers, Lasley said, “I guess I’m kind of different. I’ve always gotten along with teens — treated them with respect and giving them responsibility.”

The effectiveness of treating teens as young adults has been evidenced by Lasley, who related stories of teens becoming responsible adults or turning  their lives around. She enjoys making a difference in their lives.

As for teen activities, Lasley isn’t stopping with the Arriba center. She has been working with several other Ramonans on building a skatepark in town. “It’s been something we’ve talked about for a long time,” she said, explaining that they are striving for a skatepark that is centrally located and free of charge.

Among the many activities that Lasley has been involved with are band fundraisers, setting up diabetes testing and obesity awareness at elementary schools, the Yellow Ribbon Walk for suicide prevention, and chairing Grad Nite twice for Ramona High School.

Working with children and volunteering are traits passed on to Lasley from her parents.

“This is how I was brought up,” she said, noting she lived in a house where kids hung out.

Lasley said her mother started a neighborhood watch program, among other accomplishments, and her father held outdoor movie nights in the neighborhood showing old classic films.

She fondly recalled how her father would wake her in the wee hours of the morning to show her snow-covered mountains. After she filled  thermoses with hot chocolate and coffee, they drove to the mountains, filled  the back of the pickup truck with snow, returned home and unloaded the snow in the front yard so children could play in it.

Lasley and her husband, Jim, own Kritter Kamp boarding kennels and have three daughters: Krysta, 20,  Deanna, 17, and Jayme, 13. The couple has also fostered two teenage girls.

One of the Lasleys’ traditions is to hold a New Year’s Eve party for youths with food, fun, hundreds of poppers and lots of silly string.

“It’s just a matter of having a fun safe place,” she said.

Lasley also sits on the Palomar Health Community Action Council and recently became a member of the Parks and Recreation Subcommittee of the Ramona Community Planning Group and of the Sheriff’s Citizen Advisory Group.

Related posts:

  1. Minervini relinquishes skatepark effort to Arriba teen center group
  2. John Degenfelder, Kim Lasley, Jill Bacorn are finalists for 2012 Citizen of the Year award
  3. Doctor saves teen center
  4. Decreased crime, skatepark, drug use among advisory group topics
  5. Teen center organizes park cleanup

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Posted by Staff on Sep 4 2013. Filed under Featured Story, Local Spotlight, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

1 Comment for “Citizen of the Year ‘in it for the kids’”

  1. Jane Tanaka MD

    Congratulations Kim Lasley!
    You are such a great role model for us all… not just for the kids, but for
    us adults in Ramona too!

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