Margaret “Pinky” Weiss 44-7

Santa Monica, California.  I was born on January 14, 1922, In Los Angeles, California, and grew up in San Fernando, California.  I knew I wanted to fly at a very early age, as I watched an occasional plane fly over the valley.  In my senior year of high school, a woman gym teacher took me flying ñ that was it!  After graduation from San Fernando High, I attended Los Angeles City College and was president of Women’s Athletic Association (WAA).

In 1943, I left to work for Western Air Lines in the parts department (only woman) at Burbank Airport.  While there I heard about the WASP program.  I joined the class of 44-7 and loved every moment of it.  I was stationed at Williams Army Airforce Base in Arizona assigned to engineering test flights on AT-6s.

After deactivation, I returned to San Fernando.  In 1945, I joined the Sisters of Social Service – a society of Catholic sisters engaged in social work.  I received my BA from Immaculate Heart College, and began a career in settlement house work.

I directed Santa Rosa center in San Fernando, and later in Los Angeles, directed Santa Rita House, a community center on North Main Street, an area know as “Dogtown.”  It was across the street from William Mead Housing project (city-funded), where low-income families lived along with gangs and drugs.  The settlement center was the oldest in Los Angels.  The staff worked hard to meet the needs of the children, teens, and adults living in that area.

In 1956, I was assigned to the West Los Angeles area, (known as Sawtelle) to move, develop programs, and build a non-sectarian center on property just purchased by the Social Service Auxiliary Juniors, a group of women volunteers!  They had started the program in 1948, under the direction of the Sisters of Social Service in a small rented building.  On the property was a small one-bedroom frame house surrounded by old fruit trees, chicken coups, a small rose garden, fishpond, and a grove of large avocado trees, which later the children were allowed to climb!

Members of the Westwood Sertoma Club, spent four weekends clearing the grounds (except the avocado trees).  They also purchased playground equipment.  They later took groups of children on annual day trips to the snow, picnics, and day fishing on the ocean.  The center became known as Regis House.

New members of the Social Service Auxiliary spent 72 hours volunteering at Regis House.  Besides making payments on the property, the Juniors began funding an annual budget, which grew annually with the growth of the center services.

In a few years the Juniors had paid off the property, and approved plans for a new building.  During the construction the center programs were conducted on the open Mall of the WLA civic center at the invitation of the local councilman, Marvin Braude.

By the time the new Regis House was completed, it was totally paid for by the Juniors and enough money was already in the bank for the next two yearsí budget!

In 1970, I was awarded a commendation, from the Los Angeles City Council for my work at Regis House.  I am a charter member of the National Association of Social Works (NASW).

In 1972, after 25 years with the Sisters of Social Service, it was time to move on.  I left to care for my elderly aunt who lived in Santa Monica.  Later I became active with the Southern California WASP.  It was great to renew old friendships and make new ones and has become a cherished part of my life.

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