We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrea Yusim and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrea, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
Our diaper bank has been eye-opening as to the sheer amount of need in our community and how that need varies. For some, it’s just securing diapers at all, as they are an immense expense. For some, it’s that such a tight budget means a set amount per week/month that can be spent, so stocking up during sales or buying at stores like Costco is impossible. For others, it’s that their baby can only tolerate certain pricey brands due to allergies, which greatly restricts access to sales or lower-priced brands. There is always a subset of people who argue that cloth diapering will alleviate most of these issues, and though I am a huge proponent of cloth diapering (I cloth diapered my own two kids from birth to potty learning) it requires regular access to laundering facilities which for many clients are only accessed by expensive, coin-operated machines.. There’s also a general transportation issue we see across the board, as many of our clients are transportation-insecure: little money for gas, unreliable vehicles, difficulty in finding a ride, disabilities restrict driving ability, etc.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Our board is diverse in our work experience, and I think that brings an important blend of views. Our five current board members have marketing, entertainment industry, casting, hairstylist, karate studio ownership, corporate event planning, and pharmaceutical science career history, plus we are all current robust school volunteers and moms. The pandemic has brought its own set of challenges to solve but we have been able to still distribute Thanksgiving meals to hundreds of people, and distributed over 150,000 diapers and 300,000 wipes during just the first 12 months of the pandemic. I’m proud that we have been able to meet the needs of such an expanded client base as many jobs have been lost and furloughed. We’d like everyone to know that hardship exists in all communities, even affluent ones, and the families and kids helped by your generosity are your neighbors, kids playing with your kids on the playground, kids sitting in the classroom next to your kids.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Start with a brunch in Paradise Cove, and then head out to drive along PCH and see the coast, eat again at Neptune’s Net. Get that classic California view. We would shop at The Grove, visit the Santa Monica Pier, and go down to Universal City Walk. Drive down both Las Virgenes and Topanga Canyons and marvel at the rock cut by ancient water movement. Drive up to Ventura and have tacos at Beach House Tacos and then compare them to Tico’s. Put on our biggest sunglasses and walk down Rodeo Drive, sit in traffic, and make it over to Venice, to contrast two very LA places. We would visit the Getty and the Natural History Museum, and be sure to glimpse the Hollywood sign. In-n-Out, Diddy Riese, and Italia Deli in Agoura Hills. We would hike in Runyan Canyon and later also up to the top of Piuma and sit and stare at how beautiful it can be here. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Our shoutout is dedicated to all the people in our community who support us. We are entirely run on donations and the very occasional grant. From small monetary donations, to large donations, to actual diaper and wipe donations, to donations of time to help put together our large Thanksgiving event, we could not have been successful at all if it wasn’t for the support of our entire community. We can assist those that need support in our community because our community assists us. I can’t even tell you the number of parents who have donated diapers to us and reminisced about how expensive it was to buy diapers when their own kids were little. They remember the struggle and they try to alleviate some of that for other people, people they don’t even know.
Facebook: Conejo Community Outreach