The Hermosa Hermanos Champion Friendship and Philanthropy in the Community They Love
Band of brothers.
- Written byKailani Melvin
- Photographed byAdelaide Brannan
Teenage boys often get a bad rap. If you were running a charity event and 25 of them burst through your door, you might start panicking. Your fears would be unfounded, however, if you were lucky enough to be working with the Hermosa Hermanos.
The Hermosa Hermanos are 25 high school young men and their mothers dedicated to community service and outreach. Though only in their inaugural year, they have volunteered at more than 20 nonprofit organizations and are on track to reach 1,000 service hours by the end of June.
“Empowering Hermosa Beach boys to give—that’s our goal,” says Liz Tyndorf, cofounder and creator of the organization.
“We have the freedom to find things that match a boy’s interests. Not only are they giving back to the community, but they’re learning about themselves and what intrigues them.”
“Volunteer work has brought so much to our lives as individuals; we wanted to find a way to share that with our kids,” adds cofounder Katherine O’Connor.
Liz proposed the idea for the organization to her “best friend and partner in crime” last spring, based on the need she saw in the community. After their sons graduated from Hermosa Valley School, they thought, “What’s next?”
“In Hermosa, our public school ends in eighth grade,” she says. “We wanted a club that was for Hermosa Beach boys and their moms—no matter what their path is for high school.”
Their goal was achieved. When Max Schantz and Demitri Kehagiaras talk about being Hermanos, their eyes light up. “It’s a win-win,” says Max, who along with Demitri is a ninth grader at Mira Costa High School. “We get our volunteer hours, and we help the community we live in.”
The four-year commitment requires the boys to complete a minimum of 115 service hours across their high school career. They are on track to receive the bronze President’s Volunteer Service Award—and possibly the silver or gold.
“We have the freedom to find things that match a boy’s interests,” Katherine says. “Not only are they giving back to the community, but they’re learning about themselves and what intrigues them.”
Events range from a monthly beach cleanup with Heal the Bay to running basketball clinics through the Friendship Foundation. The diverse volunteer opportunities allow the boys to experiment with things they’d never imagined.
“We have athletes, we have band kids, we have Model UN students,” Liz says. “We have kids from everywhere. But Hermosa Hermanos brings them together.” With the number of events they work (four to five per weekend), there is something for everyone.
Aside from their weekend service endeavors, the group meets four times a year. At the last meeting they brought in Jack Karuletwa, a Rwandan refugee and former Harlem Globetrotter, to share his captivating life story.
What makes the Hermanos truly unique, however, is the mother-son component. “All the moms have a role,” Liz says. “It’s truly a collaboration.”
Participating in Hermanos has also strengthened the boys’ connections to their mothers. “When I go to Hermanos and do something with my mom, it’s awesome. We’ve gotten so much closer because of it,” Demitri says, smiling.
The group helps the boys learn critical life skills—from pocketing phones during events to being proactive and asking, “What can I do next?” Every organization the Hermanos interface with is always impressed at their level of professionality. “These kids are building confidence in themselves,” says Katherine.
“They’re all headed in great directions,” Liz adds, “but their trajectory changes once they start giving and they feel like what they’re doing matters.”
This is only the beginning for the Hermosa Hermanos. They just admitted the new Hermanos class of 2027 and are enthusiastic about all that’s to come. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need a group of highly qualified high schoolers with a passion to serve, never fear, the Hermanos are here.
Learn more at hermosahermanos.org.