Optimist Club Speakers Will Include John McKinney

The Pacific Palisades Optimist Club will host two radically different speakers in February. On February 6, District Attorney candidate John McKinney will speak and answer questions. On February 20, the speaker will be Silvi Winthrop, a mindfulness instructor.

Perspective members and residents are invited to learn more about the Optimist Club, enjoy a late breakfast and hear the speakers. The hour meeting begins at 10 a.m. (doors open at 9:30, food is served at 9:45), at Janes Hall, in the Palisades Presbyterian Church, 15821 Sunset Boulevard.


John McKinney

McKinney is running to replace LA District Attorney George Gascon. His journey from Passaic, New Jersey, to Los Angeles, is inspiring.

His mom died when he was two, his dad when he was five and his eldest sister, a single mother took him in, raising him and four others.

He writes on his website (click here), “My sister, Ora Jones, whom I often refer to as mom, was a superwoman who led by example. She sacrificed much of her own life to provide for our well-being. Anything good about me is because of her. She instilled the values of hard work, persistence, sacrifice, respect for others, and service to others in all of us. I carry those values with me to this day.”

At his sister’s insistent he attended a year of college at William Paterson State College, but writes he wanted the hood trappings “new clothes, a gold rope and a car.” He dropped out and over the next seven years, worked in everything from smithing to fast food.

McKinney said he went back to his local community college, attending classes at night, while working during the day. After two years, he transferred to Rutgers University, taking a full load of classes, while continuing to work.  It was then he started working as a substitute teacher in East Orange, N. J.

He was encouraged to go into law by professors. He had put a deposit on Seton Hall Law School, when he received an unsolicited package from UCLA. He applied, was accepted, and moved across the country, where he knew no one, arriving on the Westwood campus on August 5, 1994, with $250 in his pocket.


Silvi Winthrop

Silvi Winthrop is a certified Meditation and Mindfulness Instructor who has been helping her clients alleviate stress, depression and anxiety since 2014.  Silvi has received her master’s degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from Pepperdine University and has her own counseling practice in Pacific Palisades.

Silvi has worked with all ages and several matters including addiction and recovery, aging, reproductive and postpartum, menopause and sexual difficulties, immigration and assimilation, trauma, parenting, and empty nest syndrome.

She has offered free mindful classes at the Palisades Library, which have been well-received. Silvi is originally from Istanbul, Turkey and has been married for 25 years and has two adult sons.


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