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Sound Bites - Issue #63 - November 2018 #303

On the Cover
A Leap of Love for Teaching Fitness--Jackline Daneshrad

Fitness instructor Jackline Daneshrad

Jackline Daneshrad at an SMC Community Ed Open House

Talk about a radical career change. Jackline Daneshrad worked as a chemical engineer for Intel – after getting bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and French – when in 1992 she decided to become a health and fitness professional.

In the many years since making that dramatic career change, she has taught an amazing array of classes at SMC Community Education and other venues, among them Total Body Workout, Cardio Salsa, Stretch and Release, Mat Pilates, and Barre. She even taught Chair Salsa in rehabilitation facilities to those who are recovering from strokes or injuries from accidents or other causes.

“Before coming to my class, some of them wouldn’t respond to stimuli, but then they responded to the beat of the music,” Daneshrad said. “It’s very fulfilling for me.”

Daneshrad has been teaching fitness classes at SMC Community Ed for 17 years, and also at other venues, including the Bay Club in Pacific Palisades for 19 years and its Santa Monica facility for the last year, the Jonathan Club and Malibu Senior Center among other venues. She is also a personal trainer specializing in Strength, Core, Toning; Functional Training; Flexibility; and Balance and Injury Rehabilitation.

She holds a Group Exercise Teacher and Personal Training Certifications from ACE (American Council on Exercise) and many other certifications and workshops in related fields.

What do you like about teaching Total Body Workout & Cardio Salsa at SMC Community Education?

I love teaching at SMC Community Ed because I get a good cross-section of the Westside population. Not only have I built a strong following but I also get to meet new students each semester and receive very good feedback on students’ progress, which is very fulfilling.

What kinds of students do you get at SMC Community Ed?

My classes are inclusive of all ages. I have young adults, college students, professionals, business people, young retirees and homemakers. Some students drive 45 minutes to get to my classes. While teaching, keeping in mind that the students are at various fitness levels, I offer modifications for each exercise to accommodate all levels.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

A perfect day for me is not to have a very early morning class, having my morning cup of coffee while checking my emails, going to my classes and clients, and hearing that I gave a great workout, that my students are very happy and had fun in the process!

What is one of the best compliments you ever received?

One student told me that I changed her life through my classes. Apparently, she was seeing a physical therapist three times a week and after taking my classes regularly she didn't need to go to PT anymore. She saved a lot of money and time. Not only did she become stronger, she met other students that became her good friends. Her social life is much improved as she had lost her husband recently. Her last quote was "Your seriousness of purpose, professionalism and care for your student/client is commendable and second to none.”

What was the last picture you took with your phone?

I took a picture of a red colored succulent plant yesterday after I voted. That is precious.

What books are on your nightstand? 

The Good Fight, A Perfect Life by Danielle Steele, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and Shape magazine.

Is there anything you would like to add?

When I was going to school my passion was chemistry and I excelled in it. As a chemical engineer working for Intel Corp., I was promoted twice in four years through two pregnancies. When we moved to L.A., I followed my passion for fitness. I love teaching! Every day when I teach it feels as if I am enjoying my hobby rather than working which makes it fun for me and my students.

Jackline Daneshrad will teach Total Body Workout and Cardio Salsa beginning in early January.

What's New
Community Education - We're Here for You!

Alice Meyering

Alice with student Emma Alvarez (left)

from the desk of Alice Meyering

As the Program Coordinator, I wear many hats, but perhaps none is more surprising than tech support. I can’t tell you how many times I have guided people over the phone to direct them on how to register online on our website or some other sites because they are experiencing difficulties. All the while I’m listening to their distressed outbursts against the fast-moving digital world that has quickly become the norm of our daily lives. 

Even though being a tech support person isn’t exactly part of my job description, I’m a firm believer in teaching people "how to fish if they are interested in fishing" for themselves because, ultimately, I believe in empowering the individuals, no matter who they are.

Emma Alvarez is one such person who recently asked for my help. Emma is actually really lucky in the sense that she got into our very popular, and frequently sold-out, glass fusing class this semester. However, her luck was also the beginning of her distress. She knew that in order to continue with the class, she would need to register for the class as soon as the new session registration period is open, which begins at midnight. 

Emma is energetic and full of vigor. She has an easygoing personality that made me feel instantly like I’d known her for ages. And as it turns out, I have known her niece Ruth Casillas for quite a while. Ruth has been working at SMC Workforce and Economic Development for as long as I can remember. 

On the day Emma came in for her private lesson, she brought along Ruth and her new iPad, still in its original packaging. While Ruth and I explained how the new-fangled toy/lifeline works, it was so interesting to see Emma’s expression change from confusion to mild fear and, finally, the beginning of a realization that she could very possibly do this on her own as long as she wrote down all the steps and rehearsed them well in advance of the Big Registration Night.

Perhaps the point really isn’t the technology, or the ever-repetitive task of mastering something new, but that even in this digital world, we still need and appreciate the connections we make when we come together, face to face. It’s the 30 minutes that an auntie spends with a favorite niece (you can bet Ruth is her favorite niece now), and trusting a stranger to help you with something you really want. It is moments like this, I think, that made all Emma’s fears, frustrations, and pressure disappear. And it made my day.

After all, as I like to say, we put “community” back in Community Education, and whether we realize it or not, our community is our family, our friends, and those we interact with every day. This November, let me wish our dear readers a season of gratitude and simple joy.  Treasure those who surround us and seize the day.  Live today well.

Visit our award-winning website at to register for classes online 24/7. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about our classes. You can email us at or call us at (310) 434-3400 (option #2).

Behind the Scenes:
Name Dropping Isn't Always What it Seems

Comedy Class Graduation at Comedy Club Improv - Nov. 2016

Stand Up Comedy Improv - Nov. 2018

The Comedy Store - Oct. 2015

By Jonathan Leigh Solomon

Writing funny, whether you’re a comedian or a comedy writer, is often a very collaborative process. That fact allows for, even demands, an egalitarian attitude on the part comedians, TV writers, et al.  As a result, as I often tell the folks who sign up for my SMC Community Ed “Stand-Up Comedy Workshop” and “How to Write Funny,” one of the highlights of a career in comedy are the extraordinarily talented, accomplished, and yes, often quite famous folks you have the opportunity to work with. And, very importantly, learn from.

At the same time, I never want a student walking out of one of my classes to think what I’ve occasionally thought when I’ve taken a class on a topic related to show business, taught by a teacher who talks more about their glory days than their expertise: “Gee, I took this class because I wanted to learn what this guy knows, but mostly what I’m learning is that this guy knows movie stars!”

With that in mind, I try to make it a habit to only “name drop” when doing so allows me to tell a story that illustrates an important idea. For instance, I’m always trying to impress upon the folks who sign up for my classes the idea that when it comes to comedy, what looks effortless is usually anything but. For that reason, the really great comedy writers have immense discipline and devotion to craft.

For instance, there’s what the legendary Red Skelton said in regards to The Red Skelton Show, “I spend 100 hours a week writing my show. That way I can be sure that when my audience tunes in to watch, they’ll be sure I made it all up on the spot!”

And then there’s what the legendary Jerry Seinfeld said to me, in regards to my work ethic. Back in the early 90s, on the day after one of my appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman, I showed up for work at the old Improv Comedy Club in NYC assuming I’d be praised by one and all. Seinfeld – not yet the Seinfeld of Seinfeld but nonetheless hugely respected by comics – offered me a brief compliment, but mostly wanted to make a point about the clothing I’d worn on Letterman. (An entirely ridiculous ensemble featuring bright blue pants and a dark green sport coat with yellow stripes.) “Great set, he said, “But that outfit? That’s two minutes of material right there.”

When I tell that story to students, Jerry’s line never fails to get a laugh. I then, however, clarify to the class what Seinfeld was trying to communicate. His point was not that my ensemble was so mismatched that I could do two minutes of jokes about it. (Although I must admit that was true as well.) Instead, he was saying something much more important and far wiser: “You probably spent hours and hours at some fancy clothing stores shopping for that ridiculous ensemble. If instead you’d spent that time writing, you’d have two new minutes of jokes.”

Jonathan Leigh Solomon teaches “Stand-Up Comedy Workshop” and “How to Write Funny” at SMC Community Ed. The two classes will be offered in Spring 2019, but online registration will not begin until mid-December. For additional information please go to the website or email or call (310) 434-3400.

Appearing on “The Comedy Cellar – Live from the Table,” Jonathan tells stories from the world of stand-up comedy and discusses humor writing generally. To listen in, go here and scroll down to the April 13, 2017 episode. For iTunes go here and scroll to #73 (4/13/2017)

Gratitude Nourishes the Soul

Michelle KingMichelle King, Director Career & Contract Ed.

While browsing through Facebook recently I came across one of those random quotes – you know the type that sounds familiar but can’t be attributed to any particular author. Not knowing the source generally makes me hesitant to repost or share such quotes. But I shared it anyway and since then I’ve become a regular at sharing positive quotes or affirmations. And so far, my shares have been well received and appreciated by many – even my Facebook friends who seem to favor the more cynical types of post. 

So, in the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday here are a few of my favorite quotes referencing gratitude.

“It’s not joy that makes us grateful it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

Gratitude is the vitamin for the soul.”

“The depth of your abundance depends on the depth of your gratitude.”

“Live your life with gratitude - its’s not what life brings to you, it’s the attitude you bring to life.”

I’m not the author of any of these quotes – but I do encourage you to share them. At times we all can benefit from a reminder to be grateful. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Warm regards,

Michelle King
Director of Career &
Contract Education


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