Dear friends,

When Captain Jim Gladson and his circle of advocates founded our organization on March 27, 1992, they hoped to inspire the young participants to pursue a maritime or STEM-based career. Now, 32 years later, we can say that we have done that many times over, and we are proud to share the latest example. Meet Ella Momeny.

“We will forever know that the Los Angeles Maritime Institute opened Ella’s world in profound ways,” Ella’s mom Rachelle wrote in a social media post. “This will be her last summer with them, at least until she is done with college, because for her career goals, she will need to participate in summer semesters at college.”

Ella and her family live in the high desert, where she is homeschooled. Her mom grew up on an island off the coast of Washington state, so Ella has been around boats her whole life through regular family visits and has always loved the ocean. Since they weren’t able to visit during the height of the pandemic, Rachelle looked for a place in California where Ella could get more exposure to boats – and they could introduce her to sailing – once things opened back up, and she found LAMI. Even though they lived two hours away, they came down every chance they could, and it certainly paid off.

“Thanks for mentoring and teaching Ella so much, as well as loaning her your cold weather gear,” Rachelle said in another post soon after they found LAMI. “She had so much fun, and I just can’t ever express how much I appreciate how well cared for my kid is by the generous crew on these ships.”

She was just shy of 16-years-old when Ella came aboard the first time, and soon after, she set sail on her first sleepaway Summer Camp experience. By the following summer, she had completed the requirements to be a qualified deckhand, and she spent her 17th birthday embarking on her latest journey as a live-aboard crew member for the summer. Rachelle said she wanted it that way – celebrating her birthday on board with the crew.

“Got to go sailing with the kiddo yesterday, watch her teach others about the sails and direct a number of deck activities,” Rachelle shared later that summer. “It is so rewarding to watch your kid grow into something fun and exciting, and do things you never expected. Thanks again to LAMI, the crew and officers for teaching her so much, mentoring her, and then welcoming this kid into the family as one of your own this summer.”

Now, as Ella completes her senior year in high school, she has her sights set on Cal Maritime, where she’s been accepted and plans to study marine transportation. She’s also completing her Eagle Scout project, and – you guessed it – the project has to do with sailing! After brainstorming a number of ideas with me and Jacob Strong, our Maintenance Manager, she is working on rigging a practice sail for Building G that will help us with training and safety procedures.

“It’s always a good day when we spend it with LAMI,” Rachelle shared along with a picture of Ella working on her Eagle Scout project. You can hear more from both of them in this special video we made – featured below. As we get ready to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of our founding, we hope you will also join us in celebrating and inspiring more scientists, mariners and community leaders!

Your support will inspire more students like Ella as they prepare for their future… you’re helping them learn important skills like critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork, which will benefit them no matter what path they choose. Your donations will also help us make an impact on even more students as we take the final steps in preparing American Pride for her return to Pine Avenue Pier in Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor, where she belongs. After all, she is the Official Tall Ship of the City of Long Beach!

Help us start our 32nd year and end our fiscal year strong when you make your donation by Friday, April 26. We’ve even provided options to contribute in multiples of 32 in honor of our anniversary!

Thank you for all the ways you’ve supported us through the years. Your support has made it possible to make an impact on Ella and others like her, and we look forward to continuing that long tradition now and into the future.


Bruce Heyman
Executive Director

p.s. If you prefer to donate by mail OR contribute through Donor-Advised Funds or a Qualifying Charitable Distribution, I’ve provided the necessary details below for your convenience. You can also help propel us forward throughout the year when you sign up for automated monthly donations and become a member of Prevailing Winds! Click here to learn more and set up your automated monthly donation online.

Sharing her Sailing Knowledge

Ella has created an Instagram account as part of a school assignment, and it features her sailing skills and knowledge. Click here to check it out!

Inspiring Maritime and STEM-based Careers - Ella's Journey


Make checks payable to Los Angeles Maritime Institute. Please include “32nd Anniversary Donation” in the check memo, and send them to us at:

Los Angeles Maritime Institute
73 Berth, Suite 2
San Pedro, CA 90731


Please direct your contributions to:

Bruce Heyman, Executive Director
Los Angeles Maritime Institute
Berth 73, Suite 2
Los Angeles, CA 90731

Phone: 310-833-6055
EIN: 33-0515416