Since its inception in November 2010, the South Gate Young Professionals has been working to promote the city of South Gate as a place to live, work and play.
The organization supports projects that increase the quality of life in South Gate and help attract young professionals looking for a place to live, raise families and build a career.
“If the city has plans for [the redevelopment of certain areas] we want to make sure, as best as possible, that they take into account what are the needs of young families, young professionals who live and work in the community,” said Daisy Pizana, group president.
The group encourages its members to speak at meetings on the issues important to young professionals, such as quality of life concerns and employment opportunities.
“They [city officials] were having some difficulty in luring big companies to the city because of misperceptions that just weren’t true,” said Jaime Garcia, vice president of South Gate Young Professionals and director of marketing at located in South Gate.
Garcia said there's a perception that people in South Gate either are not professional, don't make money or shop in local mom-and-pop or 99-cent stores, "and really that can't be farther from the truth."
According to Garcia, Kohl's was one of the companies with that idea that South Gate was not a demographic they wanted to pursue.
Pizana, an aide for U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-CA, who represents South Gate, took a cue from the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce and, together with Garcia, created a young professionals group for South Gate.
“It was a little bit out of frustration that we didn’t have the shopping opportunities that we wanted,” said Pizana, who realized the retail community was not serving the needs of young people in the city with discretionary income.
The group is concerned as well with the need to preserve and expand the city's cultural assets.
“We may be able to prevent things such as the [South Gate Civic Center] ,” said Evette Santana, treasurer of the group.
The group, which aims to attract people 18 to 41 years old, has also organized activities to engage South Gate's youth and the broader community.
The group helped beautify , hosted a Carnaval De Los Muertos at and wrapped gifts at the .
As for future events, Pizana says the group has plans to start a young entrepreneurs program with the Small Business Development Centers and the so professionals can teach the basics of starting a small business.
The group would also like to develop a youth and government program where teens from the local high schools can volunteer their time and learn how city government works.
The young professionals gather at regular monthly meetings to network and discuss what they would like to see in the city.