Switzer Learning Center

Dr. Rebecca Foo and Mr. Len Hernandez are joined by students of Switzer Learning Center in giving a high five in celebration of the center’s 50th anniversary.

First and foremost, I would like to congratulate Switzer Learning Center on their 50th anniversary. What a milestone!

This was not my first visit to Switzer Learning Center, and I am sure it will not be my last. For those of you not familiar with this organization, Switzer Learning Center is a place that creates hope and opportunities for children who learn differently.

I was greeted by executive director, Rebecca E. Foo, Ph.D.  Dr. Foo joined Switzer Center in 1988 and became executive director in 1994.  A licensed psychologist, Dr. Foo has been honored as 2006 California Woman of the Year by the California State Legislature for her work with children with special needs and her leadership in the field of special education.

“Our students are exceptional because, even though they are struggling with severe learning, emotional and social challenges, they do not give up. And because of their tenacity, our children accomplish things that many thought were not possible – graduating from high school, going on to college, and becoming gainfully employed, productive citizens,” stated Dr. Foo.

Switzer’s successful special education program incorporates the innovative work of founder Dr. Janet Switzer, who was a pioneer in the field of educational therapy. Since 1966, Switzer Learning Center has been operating an outpatient diagnostic and treatment clinic, a K-12 nonpublic school, and a nonpublic agency serving children with mild to severe learning, emotional, and behavioral challenges, and their families.

Dr. Foo went on to explain that there are many opportunities for individuals, as well as businesses, to become involved with Switzer Learning Center. Opportunities include becoming a member of the board of directors, attending the annual South Bay awards luncheon, being a guest speaker for student assemblies or career day, creating student enrichment or extracurricular activities or fulfilling a wish list item of equipment, furniture or other supplies. Additionally, a win-win opportunity for a business and Switzer Learning Center would be the sponsorship, by a business, of music or arts assembly or a health fair.

Dr. Foo took the time to introduce me to Len Hernandez. Mr. Hernandez came to Switzer Learning Center in 1972 as a teacher’s aide. He steadily rose through the ranks of classroom teacher, head teacher, and high school counselor. In 1988 he became school principal. As the administrative leader of the Heritage Program, Mr. Hernandez has been the stabilizing force at the Center for more than 40 years, by directing the primary and secondary school programs. It was evident in arranging students for a photo, the amount of respect they have for Dr. Foo and Mr. Hernandez.

If you have not had the opportunity to learn about Switzer Learning Center, please take a moment to visit their website at www.switzercenter.org. They are a remarkable organization whose mission statement is “Nurturing hope, opportunities, and success so children struggling with learning challenges achieve fulfilling lives.”

The Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce thanks Switzer Learning Center for being a member for 28 years and wishes continued success to the teachers, counselors, therapists and staff who create hope and opportunities for children who learn differently.

by Donna Duperron

Donna is the President & CEO of the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce. Do you have questions about or concerns for business in Torrance? Donna would like to know. Feel free to contact her at any time.

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