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DOWNEY - Jason Cierspiszewski, the recently-installed Lt. Governor of the Kiwanis Club of Downey, played the violin and viola in high school for the Tacoma Youth Symphony and actually enrolled at the University of Puget Sound to get a music degree until he decided there wasn't much future in it.
After switching his major to politics and government, Jason was sidetracked by the demands of work and, as a consequence, never finished his degree.
In the late 90's he worked as asst. manager in charge of processing for Northern Life Insurance Company.
From 2001 to 2004, and prior to joining Century 21 My Real Estate, he worked as general manager for Coffee Bean & Tea in Brentwood, where he says his customers included the likes of Robert Downey, Jr. ("He was very nice to my staff"), Johnny Depp, David Schwimmer, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Sarah Michelle Gellar).
About his experience with Coffee Bean, Jason says: "I liked the customers and I enjoyed the service aspect of it, but I didn't like closing the store at midnight, then opening it at 5 a.m. the next day."
He joined Steve Roberson's realty group in 2004, and has never looked back. Jason says his flexible hours as a realtor has allowed him to "do Kiwanis stuff."
His involvement with the Kiwanis would yield big dividends.
A member since 2008, and using his time well with the club, he became president for 2011-12. His life would change when he was made Lt. Governor for the Cal-Nev-Ha Kiwanis Division 13 which encompasses seven clubs: the two clubs in Long Beach, the two in Downey, and those in Bellflower, Santa Fe Springs and Huntington Park - definitely "an honor and a big responsibility," Jason says of the development, but "it's fun. It's a lot of work but it's very rewarding."
He was installed only last Oct. 1.
He is also serving concurrently as the Downey Arc Aktion Club advisor. Aktion Club is a Kiwanis-sponsored club for adults with developmental disabilities. (Kiwanis itself stands for "serving the children of the world - one child, one country at a time.")
"My goal for Kiwanis for the year 2013-14 is to grow the division by 10 percent and add a new club," he says.
"We have two big projects," he continues. "The first is Kiwanis' One Day in April when all the Kiwanis clubs in the world do a service project. Division 13's project is collecting food for local food banks. And the second one is a Kiwanis carnival June 27-29, to be held at Thompson Park in Bellflower. This is going to be a division-wide fundraiser. The first time we did it was last year and each of the seven clubs raised over $2,000. Our Key Clubs also raised money. We aim to improve on last year."
While all this has been going on, since becoming a member of the Downey Association of Realtors, also in 2004, Jason was voted 2011 DAOR Realtor of the Year. He is currently vice-president, and he's the president-elect starting Jan. 1, 2014.
Born in Seattle in 1970 the eldest of four children, Jason moved to California in 2000 and has lived in Downey since 2010. His dad, Larry, worked in the banking industry. He is Polish, while his mom, Linda, worked as a nurse and is of mixed German-English-Irish blood.
His siblings include a sister who works for Verizon in New Jersey, another sister in Seattle who works in banking, and his little brother in Phoenix who is with Amazon.com.
"Seattle is a beautiful area," he says, "but nothing beats the Southern California weather. The winter I went to college, we had three months of no sunshine!"
Published: Dec. 5, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 34