Jury Coordination and Notes

Variety Boys & Girls Club of Boyle Heights’ New Family Resource Center

On December 18, 2019, the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Boyle Heights dedicated their new Gonzalez Family Resource Center to Patricia (Pat) Gonzalez.

Pat has long been a supporter of the community. Her achievements include raising over $2 million from silent auctions for Variety, the Children’s Charity of Southern California, where she is co-chairperson. She is also on the board of directors for the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Boyle Heights. Her work led her to receive Studio Movie Grill’s Opening Hearts and Minds Award earlier this year.

The neighborhood, Boyle Heights, nestled east of Downtown Los Angeles, has long struggled with providing resources for families, with only 5% of residents in the neighborhood having earned four-year degrees. To improve conditions for families, many film executives support the club including Pat Gonzalez, Senior Vice President of In-Theater Marketing at Paramount Pictures; Scott Forman, Executive Vice President and General Sales Manager of Warner Brothers; and Studio Movie Grill, known for their in-dining movie theaters across the country.

Brian Schultz, founder and CEO of Studio Movie Grill once said, “I don’t like calling it charity, we like to actually support sustainable causes.” This philosophy can be seen in action at the Variety Boys and Girls Club, where children receive assistance with education, college preparation and much more. Outside, the club has gardening sites where children not only learn to grow fruits and vegetables but also receive training in the culinary arts, just two examples of the many activities that children may participate in. 

Beautiful murals created by the children themselves fill the walls around the gardening site. Elsewhere, the club’s encouragement of creativity can also be seen. In the art space, children learn art styles ranging from the Renaissance to Postmodern art. The kids’ accomplishments can be seen in sports as well; the entrance to the club is lined with dozens of trophies.

The Family Resource Center will go beyond helping the children and help entire families with career and college assistance. By doing so, “we break the cycle of poverty by ensuring that our parents and our members’ parents have access to resources so that they are able to secure higher-paying jobs and be able to provide for their family,” explained Patricia Siqueiros, Executive Director of the Variety Boys and Girls Club. The center also contains the club’s brand-new library where children can read books ranging from Dr. Seuss to literary classics such as the works of Jules Verne. Plans in the future include potentially forming a partnership with the University of Southern California to provide dental care for residents.

The film industry has begun giving back in many ways to ensure the health of their local communities. Outside the glamour and shine of Hollywood, many residents of Los Angeles still lack access to base necessities. The work done by Pat Gonzalez, Studio Movie Grill and others can only build a better future if every individual helps improve their communities whether it is in the form of monetary donations, donations of goods or volunteering. 

You can support the Variety Boys and Girls Club at http://vbgc.org/ and you can support the Variety Children’s Charity at https://varietysocal.org/.

By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

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