CULVER CITY : Youths Repaint Vandalized Apartment

On the Westside, at least one dark cloud has a silver lining.

Three developmentally disabled individuals in Culver City, whose apartment was vandalized with graffiti and burglarized last month, can now see the brighter side of life--thanks to the city's residents.

A group of teen-agers from the city's teen center repainted the apartment using about $400 worth of paint and equipment donated by Center Paints. A couple, who asked to remain nameless, also donated a new television. And the Culver City Firefighters Assn. provided a new VCR.

"There are certain things you just do for the community," said Reba Yudess, who works at Center Paints. "And it comes back--it's like a domino effect."

For Bea Olea, a 28-year-old resident of the vandalized apartment, the community's response has been comforting. Olea, who has cerebral palsy and speaks with the help of a communications device or a translator, said the city's show of support has been great.

She smiles today. But on Jan. 2, Olea said, she returned to her apartment late in the afternoon and was horrified to find that the walls, doors, bathroom, closets--even the clothes inside the closets--had been vandalized with green paint. The intruders, who have not been found by Culver City police, also stole several items, including a television and VCR.

"Bea was afraid, but she was also confused--she couldn't understand why . . . people would do something like this," said Terri Lantz, manager of United Cerebral Palsy's Westside Center.

But Olea was heartened when a group of about 10 Culver City youths offered to repaint her apartment. The high school and junior high school students spent the last two Saturdays brushing white paint over the green graffiti and patching cracks in the ceilings.

"We did it (to counter youths') bad reputation--you know, we're undependable, we're not responsible," said Arames White, 17, a student at Culver City High School and president of its Black Student Union.

"We wanted to show that we can do the right thing."

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