Hathaway-Sycamores Bids Farewell to “El Mentor”

Posted by on Feb 23, 2018 in News | 2 comments

Earlier this month staff members at our Highland Park Family Resource Center bid a fond farewell to Richard A. Ledesma Sr.

Hathaway-Sycamores Bids Farewell to Richard Ledesma

Richard Ledesma with his granddaughter Wednesday and his wife Elvia

Affectionately known as “El Mentor,” Ledesma worked as the Mentoring Program Coordinator at the agency for the last 15 years. That wasn’t the original plan. Ledesma was a retired LAPD Officer whose wife, Elvia, was looking forward to spending more time with him and having him available to fix things around the house. An engaged member of the Highland Park community for 40 plus years, retirement didn’t last long for Richard. He was introduced to Hathaway-Sycamores and quickly went from a volunteer to a staff member.

Under his leadership, participation in the program increased significantly, in part thanks to Mr. Ledesma’s many connections in the community. In addition to his work as an LAPD Officer, he served as the President of the Highland Park Kiwanis Club, and the Chairman to the Commission on Children & Youth of the American Legion Department of California. Part of Richard’s legacy at Hathaway-Sycamores is getting our youth involved with the Boys and Girls State Summer Leadership Camps sponsored by the American Legion and R.M. Pyles Boys Camp. Richard was dedicated to finding camperships for the youth to attend these camps. At the R.M. Pyles Boys Camp the boys spend two weeks in the Sequoia National Forest enjoying both fun and challenging camp and wilderness experiences. Besides campfires, stargazing and the other traditional outdoor activities of camp, R.M. Pyles Boys Camp focuses on making a positive change in the lives of the 12 to 14 year old boys who attend the camp. The youth learn the importance of values and leadership at the camp.

His retirement luncheon was an emotional occasion for staff, friends and family, and for Richard himself. We celebrated his contributions to creating better lives for the youth we serve and Richard shared memories about working with the youth here. His deep caring and commitment to the youth was both touching and inspiring. As he spoke it was clear that he believes in them – in their futures. He has been dedicated to giving them opportunities to live more and different experiences than life has provided for them so far.

Richard will be missed both at Hathaway-Sycamores and in the greater community. We are grateful for all he has done to help our youth, our neighborhood and our city in his various roles – all the lives he has positively impacted. Everyone at Hathaway-Sycamores wishes Richard a long and happy retirement with Elvia in Arizona.


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Richard A. Ledesma Sr.

    Thank you so much I am humbled by such kind words.
    I enjoyed the freedom to create new experiences for our local youth
    thanks to my supervisors and volunteers who were with me all the way.
    Muchos Gracias “El Mentor”

    • Renata Robb Buckmaster

      I was one of the first people recruited for the “new” Northeast Area LAPD Neighborhood Watch Program in the late 1970s, early 1980s. We volunteers reported to Officer Richard Ledesma. The police could not know when a crime would be committed so we spoke to groups of people encouraging them to protect themselves and each other by locking their doors, their cars, keeping their eyes and ears open. Officer Ledesma, even then, was a “Mentor”. Happy retirement, Officer Ledesma!

Leave a Reply to Renata Robb Buckmaster Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *