History, culture, and philanthropy are at the heart of El Segundo Woman’s Club.
By Carol Cervantes
Perhaps, on warm summer nights, you’ve heard live music coming from the historic white building on Standard Street that sits across from El Segundo High School. Maybe you’ve peered into the windows while walking your dog down Mariposa Avenue and glimpsed couples gliding across the building’s floor in a waltz or a fox trot. You’ve almost certainly seen kids cracking confetti-filled eggs over each other’s heads at Recreation Park during the city’s July 4th celebration (as pictured above). One way or another, you’ve likely encountered El Segundo Woman’s Club, an active group of community members headquartered in one of the city’s most historic buildings.
ESWC’s Historic Home
El Segundo’s first one-room schoolhouse, built in 1912, was originally situated where local elementary school Richmond Street School sits now. In 1936, the then-16-year-old El Segundo Woman’s Club bought that original schoolhouse and had it moved to its current location at 541 Standard Street, where it remains to this day and serves as club headquarters. The building has recently been upgraded with a new HVAC system, better electrical wiring, a new parking lot, and insulation. Cosmetically, however, the building could use a facelift. To that end, ESWC has employed a rental agent, and members look forward to having the building’s walls repainted and the landscaping updated as a result.
The ESWC's holiday boutique, pictured here, was very successful.
What ESWC Is All About
Nearly 100 years after the El Segundo Woman’s Club’s formation in 1922, it remains a thriving, active, philanthropic community organization supporting international, national, state, and local charities; hosting events; and renting out its space in that historic schoolhouse on Standard Street.
What’s more, the ladies and gentleman of the club are not above having a bit of fun.
In 1976, members of the El Segundo Woman’s Club began their beloved tradition of stuffing confetti into eggshells, or cascarones, and kids cracked them on each other’s heads during the city’s July 4 celebration. Club members have continued this tradition of stuffing eggshells collected from the community, and forty-four years later, the children of those now-grown kids from the 1970s are enjoying the cascarones themselves. The money raised from cascarones sales has funded ESHS and Arena High School scholarships. Today, the club not only provides its own scholarships, it helps to facilitate many others from local donors.
The club has about 50 members, including one man, and cheerfully embraces anyone who wishes to join. Its members participate in El Segundo’s annual holiday parade, help Santa Claus answer letters from children at the El Segundo Public Library, and collect blankets for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, food for local food bank CASE, and coupons for military personnel. They have also gathered plastic bottle caps to assist their sister club in Hermosa Beach in installing a Buddy Bench and collected gently used clothing for women in need. ESWC members have created quilts for Wounded Warriors and paracord bracelets for Operation Gratitude. Every month the club makes a donation to one or two charities, including The Peach Foundation, Mychal’s Learning Place, crisis homes, and environmental organizations.
Meetings and Membership
El Segundo Woman’s Club meets every second Wednesday of the month for a luncheon and general business meeting. Most members live in El Segundo, but many do not. Anyone who has an interest in fun and philanthropy is welcome, and, despite the club’s name, men may join, too. (Anyone interested in helping to maintain a very old building for posterity is doubly welcome!)
The ESWC is planning another boutique on May 2 in response to heavy demand and to complement El Segundo’s Hometown Fair. The club’s first-ever boutique, with 30 vendors, was held last December and was hugely successful. On May 16, ESWC will host its annual Tea Party (open to the public with reservations required; send email to ESWCmembership@gmail.com). Both events will support the club’s Philanthropy and Scholarship fund.
Carol Cervantes is an El Segundo resident and a member of El Segundo Woman’s Club.
This story appears in the March 2020 issue of The El Segundo Scene.