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DOWNEY – Kari Volen and Lois Buchanan have been named grand marshals of the Downey Christmas Parade, taking place Sunday, Dec. 8, along its traditional route on Downey Avenue.
Volen, a community education and development representative for Downey Federal Credit Union, will ride as the parade marshal.
Buchanan, a longtime civic leader, is the parade’s community marshal.
Below are biographies for both women, as provided by the Downey Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the parade:
Kari Volen is a committed professional, community volunteer, and wife.
Professionally, Kari is the community education and development representative for Downey Federal Credit Union (DFCU) where she helps to educate the Downey community on financial management and works to improve financial literacy in area schools.
Kari has been employed with the credit union for the past seven years and has been involved with key projects such as DFCU’s Adopt-A-School program, their partnership with the Opportunity Center at Columbus High School, their Student Enrichment Grant Program for Downey educators, teaching the “Making the Right Money Moves” high school financial literacy program in Downey schools, implementing Character Counts within the credit union’s educational programs, and building relationships with community organizations and businesses.
She is a member of the Downey Chamber of Commerce, the Downey Elks Club, the Marketing Association of Credit Unions and Soroptimist International of Downey. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Cinema & Broadcast Arts in 2005 from Azusa Pacific University.
Kari loves being an advocate and mentor to young adults and encourages them to make good life choices. She is an active volunteer with “No Worries Now,” an organization that puts on prom events for students with life-threatening illnesses. She is also an advocate for the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer through the National Cervical Cancer Coalition.
Other volunteer organizations near to her heart are the National Eating Disorder Association, the American Cancer Society, and Olive Crest – Orange County.
She is also a local volunteer with Southland Scholarship Group, which puts on the Miss Hollywood/Southland pageant, an official preliminary to the Miss California and Miss America pageants. The pageant is held at Downey High School and provides scholarship assistance to young women ages 17-24.
Kari has been involved in pageantry for over 15 years as a pageant contestant, coach, choreographer, producer, emcee and judge. She is currently Mrs. California America 2013 and placed in the top six out of 52 contestants at the Mrs. America pageant this past August in Tucson, Ariz.
As a competitor, Kari has held numerous titles in a variety of different pageant systems, including Mrs. Orange County America 2013, Mrs. Greater Ventura County United States 2013, Mrs. Orange County United States 2012, Miss Ventura County International 2011, Miss Downey International 2010, Miss California Gold Coast 2009, Miss San Bernardino County Gold Coast 2009, Miss Hollywood 2007, Miss Northern California 2006, and Miss Covina 2005.She is co-owner of Pageant Coaching & Designs, a full-service pageant coaching and consulting business.
She is proud to be the wife of Aaron Volen, a senior personal banker with Bank of America in Cypress. They have been married 21 months and they love to watch movies, play board games and work on home improvement projects together.
Kari also enjoys being active and loves running, Crossfit and even appeared recently on the ABC television show “Wipeout.”
Lois and her husband, James, have lived in Downey for 50 years. James is a retired L.A. County firefighter captain and Lois is retired from her profession in optometry and ophthalmology.
They have been married 52 years and have raised three children: Ivan, Connie and Jamie. All attended Maude Price Elementary, Griffiths Middle School and Warren High School.
Lois has been active in church and the community since moving to Downey. She has had several assignments in her church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and currently serves as historian (24 years) and public affairs and community relations director (22 years).
Her community involvements have been numerous and have received many awards. She has chaired most of the events. Currently she is president of Downey Second Century Foundation after she was appointed by Joseph Ferris in 1976. This foundation and the city of Downey have done all the major community events since the foundation was founded in July 1973.
In 1964, she was appointed to the Downey Rose Float Association by Scott Temple and served in all chairmanships several times, including pageant director for seven years. This is still one of her special organizations.
Also in 1964, she was appointed by the PTA as their representative to the Downey Coordinating Council and currently serves as banquet chair.
She is a lifetime member of the Needlework Guild of America. During the war, her mother sewed baby clothes for needy families. This is where Lois gets her volunteer values as she has continued volunteering in her mother’s footsteps.
Lois is a member of the Assistance League of Downey and Downey Historical Society. In May 1994, the Rotary Club honored her as volunteer of the year. In May 1999, she was nominated by the Downey City Library to represent Downey as senior of the year. In 1970 and 1976, North American Rockwell Management, Downey Chapter honored her as volunteer of the year.
On May 15, 2002, on Older Americans Recognition Day at the Los Angeles Music Center, Lois was honored by the L.A. Commission on Aging (“I can’t be that old!,” Lois joked.) Also in May 2002, California Sen. Betty Karnette selected Lois as woman of the year. In April 2006 she was nominated as person of the year by Assemblyman Hector De La Torre for her many contributions, perseverance and commitment for a positive environment for our local community.
Asked what her hobbies are, Lois replied, “My family, my church and my community, in that order.”
Published: Nov. 21, 2013 – Volume 12 – Issue 32