Kathy Reynolds

Kathy's Videos

Click image to see video

Kathy's Photos

Click images to see larger view

Meet Kathy Reynolds from Northridge, CA

Kathy Reynolds is a 5th and 7th grade science teacher at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School in Northridge, California. The school is built on the foundation of working in the community so the students and their families are involved in many community projects. They have currently adopted a 1.5 mile section of the Los Angeles River for a revitalization project being performed by the students including cleaning up the trash, testing the water, removing invasive weeds, planting native trees & shrubs, and designing & creating a large mosaic mural with interpretive signs.

Kathy requested $5,000 to purchase supplies for the 80-foot long mosaic mural, including glass tiles & tile cutters, cement boards, safety glasses, thin set, spreaders, gloves, and sealer. The mural and interpretive signs will be designed by the students who are submitting their ideas through a contest held through the school.

"These designs will help to educate visitors by teaching about the ‘Journey of the River’ and how trash disrupts the food chain," wrote Kathy in her application. "They will also instruct visitors about the native plants and their role in attracting the native animal species. The school and the parents have demonstrated terrific interest in participating in this project of beautifying a neighborhood that has been trashed and ignored for too many years."

Kathy’s project will benefit the entire community including the Jewish Home for the Aging since the river is also their ‘backyard.’ Just last weekend, the volunteers held a clean-up day where thirty families came out to the Los Angeles River to clean up the invasive weeds and the trash. The mosaic is part of a larger "Revitalization of the Los Angeles River" project to include new walking trails and bike path, as well as improved natural habitats to support wildlife.

About the Los Angeles River:

The Los Angeles River flows 51 miles through some the most diverse communities in Southern California. It stretches 32 miles within the City of Los Angeles alone, from Owensmouth in the upper reaches of the northwest San Fernando Valley, all the way to the border with Vernon at the southern end of Downtown. The River is typically dry during summer months, and can become a river filled with racing waters during the rainy season.

Diary Starts Here

January 24, 2013

Exciting news! The students are starting to build the mural. Kathy was kind enough to invite me to see them in action at the school. This was not at all what I expected. They are working with an artist (Jolino Beserra) and the design he came up with is beautiful - and huge! I didn't realize just how big this whole section is going to be. What surprised me the most is the use of other materials besides the tiles... things like marbles, broken salt & pepper shakers, and even a broken plate brought in by one of the students. The work was being done in the science lab and they had invited several other students from a Christian school to join them, working in teams making their own swirls, stars, and hearts. At one point, a young boy asked me, "Is it okay if we put your initials on our heart?" Okay? I was honored to have my initials immortalized with theirs on this beautiful wall. I'm looking forward to the day I can walk along the river and see their beautiful artwork completed. Considering they are covering close to 100 feet, it may take some time to find my initials.

click the image to see a slideshow

February 11, 2011

Kathy made her first purchase recently from Ceramic ArtSpace in Van Nuys, CA. The store's owner, Al Abrams, was very helpful teaching Kathy about the specifics involved in being successful in painting ceramic tiles for the mosaic mural and using the correct materials. Here's more info directly from Kathy...

"We are starting the mural process by glazing ceramic tiles to go in between the mural panels. We are inviting the grandparents of our students to come for Generations Day on Feb. 18th to work on the tiles. The plan is to have our 74 seventh graders and their Grandparents, aunts, uncles- whoever can be here, to paint ceramic tiles together. These tiles will border the large mosaic mural for which you honored us.

In trying to keep the momentum of the excitement of the river project going, Tori Kjer, Project Manager, Trust for Public Land, has agreed that we can paint these tiles. Tori is also setting up a big meeting to start the discussion on the mural panels. She has already hired an artist to supervise the entire project. We hope to start building the mural in April.

There will be another day on Saturday, April 30th, at the river, when the community can participate in this project. The Mayor's office is sponsoring "A Day of Service to the Los Angeles River." My students will not be able to participate in this event since it is on the Jewish Sabbath, but we will help get the event ready for the community.

Hope to see you soon, Kathy"

November 8, 2010

Kathy sent us an update...

"We have been busy, with our curriculum, and going to the river to collect water samples and trash. I had a wonderful meeting last week with Tori Kjer, the project manager from the Trust for Public Land. We are ready to start the mosaic mural project and she has found an artist who will help to supervise the entire project. We will be able to start in February because you have provided the funding to do so! I am so excited! Please accept my fondest gratitude, Kathy"

October 14, 2010

What a great surprise we had today! Since Kathy’s school is close by, I was able to surprise her in person. So Damon (my foundation administrator), Denis (the love of my life), and I drove to the school this morning. The surprise was so much fun thanks to the Head of School, Betty Winn, who set up a special assembly with hundreds of students and other staff. She even invited Kathy’s husband, Peter, to join in the surprise.

click the image to see a slideshow

This event was really well put together by Betty and the Middle School Director, Larry Kligman, who was the one who met me outside and kept me hidden from Kathy. He was also the one who led me into the room where Betty was just starting to speak. “I’m Jenny Jones and I’m looking for Kathy Reynolds,” I said as I walked in. Kathy jumped up and was truly surprised to see me. We hugged and both went up on the stage and then she saw Peter in the back of the room – another surprise. The kids knew something was happening but didn’t know what (and didn’t know who I was) until Betty explained to everyone and then there was a huge round of applause. The students were all to young to know me but they clearly adore their science teacher. Kathy is just as sweet in person as she looks in the picture.

After the surprise, we went outside to chat and take some pictures. Some of the students even asked for my autograph once they realized that their parents would know who I was. 

10/14/10: Jenny wrote... "Kathy, I have walked along the river many times and look forward to enjoying your mural for years to come."

10/14/10: Damon wrote... "Congratulations, Kathy. I can't wait to see the mosaic mural your students design & create. Best of luck with the project."

10/14/10: Marc Kamm wrote... "Kathy, I am amazed and impressed at what you have accomplished. As your teaching partner I know how completely engaged you are with the daily responsibilities. That you find the energy and time to pursue the River Project is a testament to your committment and dedication to making this a better world. Congratuations."

10/14/10: Bea Reynolds wrote... "Dear Kathy, I am soooo proud of everything you do, and wish you continued success! Big hugs, Mom"

10/14/10: Jeff wrote... "Congratulations, Kathy. A job well done."