Tag Archives: boys and girls club

Burbank Bike Angels Celebrate 10 Years of Restoring Bikes

On Tuesday, December 18, the Burbank Bike Angels celebrated their tenth Christmas, displaying restored bikes on the steps of Burbank City Hall, located at 275 E. Olive Ave. 

(Photo By Timothy Malby)

Every year, the Bike Angels volunteer their time to restore used bicycles to provide for kids who come from less fortunate households.

The program has expanded over the years, supplying over 200 bikes every holiday season through various local non-profits, such as the Salvation Army, Family Service Agency, the Boys and Girls Club, and Penny Lane. Partnering with the Burbank Police Officers Association has provided new bike helmets, encouraging safety throughout the community. With the help of the Fire Department, bikes are transported around town.

Elaine Pease, Director of the Burbank Bike Angels, recounted the story of when she started the program a decade ago. Originally, the program only restored a few bikes at a time.

(Photo By Timothy Malby)

“Ten years ago, around Christmastime, there were a few tags left on the Salvation Army Christmas tree and they were for bikes. It happened to be at a time when the economy was very bad, and I thought these poor kids will never get bikes,” said Pease.

“I knew some people who could fix bikes, if I could get used ones we could fix them up and make them look nice. The idea just took off, and every year we got requests for more and more.”

Several volunteers were in attendance as City Council members voiced their appreciation for the selfless work of those involved with the program.

“About 8 years ago, the Bike Angels sent out a flyer to my middle school and I thought it might be fun,” said Alexander deCruz, a volunteer. “I started showing up, and learned how to clean bikes and repair them. I’ve met so many great people. I’ve been coming back ever since.”

(Photo By Timothy Malby)

Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, who has been in City Council since the Bike Angels began, is grateful such a group exists in the community.

“It is one of those events that bring a lot of our community together in support of kids who otherwise don’t have any opportunity to get a bicycle,” said Mayor Gabel-Luddy.

“If there’s one thing I can say about Burbank, it’s that when folks hold together, that is the reward to everyone who lives here, that brings a smile to a child’s face.”

Throughout their 10 years, the Bike Angels have restored more than 1,700 bicycles.

On Friday, December 21, the Bike Angels will be at the Burbank Salvation Army from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to give away the refurbished bikes.

The non-profit group is always accepting new volunteers to help clean formerly owned bikes and pump tires. More information can be found at the Bike Angels’ Facebook page.

Castaway Reopens for Boys and Girls Club Fundraiser After $10 Million Renovation

On Friday, April 27, popular hillside restaurant Castaway held a fundraiser, which allowed guests to see the newly renovated restaurant for the first time since its $10 million remodel. The restaurant will open to the public this Tuesday, May 1.

Photo by Ross A Benson

From 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., the valley was invited to make reservations and experience the completely revitalized Castaway before it officially opens to the public this week. All profit proceeds from the community fundraiser will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and the Greater East Valley.

“We at Castaway are very lucky to be able to call Burbank our home. Our neighbors and the community in this beautiful neighborhood have always been incredibly supportive of us,” said John Tallichet, owner of Castaway.

“We wanted to do something special and give back to our neighbors as we look ahead to introducing them to the new Castaway. We can’t wait to show Burbank what we’ve cooked up, and we couldn’t think of a better way to support the local community than through the Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley and the important work they do to help our youth on their path towards a great future.”

Paul Coker Beverage Director stands inside the wine room. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

Along with the renovation, the restaurant now has an entirely revamped menu, with new dishes and cocktails. Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” winner chef Perry Pollaci will be Castaway’s executive chef while Level III Advanced Sommelier and So Cal’s Restaurant Writers Association’s “Sommelier of the Year” winner Paul Coker will head the drink department.

Castaway was originally built in 1963, premiering as one of Burbank’s first casual fine dining restaurants. After the building was burned down in 1993, it was rebuilt and remained until last year. The renovation which started August 6, 2017, involved the complete teardown and reconstruction of the Polynesian themed restaurant.

Over the years Castaway has been a popular communal space for weddings and other private events. With the building’s several new additions, it is hoped to be an even more welcoming for the community than it has been in the past.

The new seating area includes a fantastic view of the valley. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

New additions include modernized banquet rooms, a catering kitchen space, a chef’s table which is positioned for guests to see into the kitchen, a wraparound bar, a meat dry-aging room, a floor-to-ceiling wine cellar, a multi-level patio, and more. All of the former decors has also been replaced with modernized tables and seating.

The remodel was led by Regional Director Ryan Smith, who has managed several restaurants in Miami Beach and Las Vegas.

“We built a whole new dining experience where everyone feels like a star, and every seat in the house is magic. From the moment you drop your car at the valet, your evening is bound to be sexy, fun and surprising, all while enjoying deliciousness, with incomparable service in a truly stunning environment,” said Ryan Smith, Regional Director for SRC.

The view is spectacular. (Photo by Ross A Benson


Known for its impressive view of the surrounding valley, guests will notice more seating without any obstructions.

Castaway is located at 1250 E. Harvard Rd. next to the DeBell Golf Course.



Burbank Police Hosts Annual ‘Heroes & Helpers’ at Target

Every year around the Holiday Season, the Burbank Police Department, in conjunction with local partners such as Noon Rotary and community members, puts together a small event meant to benefit less fortunate children in our city. The program began in 1980 and has since continued every year. The Burbank Police Department teamed up with the Boys and Girls Club and a local Target store to grant less fortunate children the opportunity to receive and give during the holiday season.

A group of thirty children is selected from the Boys and Girls Club based on their family income and needs. From there, a date is set to shop at a local store. This year, Target, located in the Empire Center, partnered with the Burbank Police Department and the Boys & Girls Club to sponsor and host the event.

According to Officer Angela Burrows, “approximately 20-25 uniformed personnel who have volunteered their time to take these kids on a shopping spree.” The personnel range from police officers, cadets, and explorers. The spree begins when each child is given a $200 gift card to shop at Target. From there, “the Officers will then take them shopping and help them select gifts for their families. After the shopping event,” explains Officer Burrows, “they are then invited to a catered dinner by Wood Ranch at a local church.”

During the dinner at Wood Ranch, the children are treated to special appearances and entertainment by both McGruff the crime dog and Santa Claus. Along with support from the Burbank Police Department, Target, and the Wood Ranch Grill, organizers of the event “rely on private donations from Citizens in addition to donations from clubs, organizations and businesses throughout the city of Burbank.”

For Officer Burrows, this ‘Heroes and Helpers’ is a special event. “Christmas is my favorite time of year, so this event holds such a special place in my heart. Let’s just say my role is rewarding and I am extremely fortunate to participate this year.” Furthermore, this event also bridges the community directly with the Burbank Police Department. “I know it is significant in these children’s lives,” explained Officer Burrows, “Their opinion of the police is forever influenced in a positive way.” As to what Officer Burrows looked forward to the most for this year’s ‘Heroes and Helpers’ event? “Seeing the look on their faces is priceless.”


The Burbank Police Department explains that the “goal of the ‘Heroes and Helpers’ event is to provide less fortunate children with a friendly holiday experience they won’t soon forget. Although the event is for the children, Burbank Police personnel are deeply affected by each child’s circumstances and are always touched by their interaction with them.”

This year’s ‘Heroes and Helpers’ proved to be a success for everyone involved. It should also be noted that along with Target, the Burbank Rotary also sponsored the event.


To find out more about the Boys and Girls Club, as well as upcoming events, you can find more information on their Twitter profile.


Leadership Burbank to Create Garden for Boys and Girls Club

The Leadership Burbank Class of 2015 will coordinate a revitalization of the Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley, located on Buena Vista St., creating a safe and educational outdoor garden area as the project’s centerpiece. The Boys and Girls Club cannot currently make use of its front yard due to traffic and safety concerns. The Club also lacks clear signage, reducing the community’s awareness of its presence and the services it provides.

The new gardens will provide a safe and educational outdoor area for the Boys and Girls Club, and will represent a significant revitalization of their current property. They will enable the Club to teach children about health and sustainability, including hands-on experience planting and caring for vegetable and flower gardens. The renovations will include landscaping, a fence for child safety and a new sign highlighting the Club’s presence in the community.

“Having an outdoor space for the children to garden is going to be wonderful,” says Shanna Warren, the Club’s CEO. “During the summer, the majority of school sites are closed but the main club site remains open. By having access to the front yard area, staff will be able to create new outdoor programs as well as use the new space for other outdoor activities.”

“We’re thrilled the Leadership Burbank Class of 2015 has chosen to dedicate its time to the Boys & Girls Club,” says Joy Forbes, president of the Leadership Burbank Board. “The Club helps so many children, and we look forward to bringing the community together to help the Club.”

The Boys and Girls Club plays a vital support role in the Burbank community. It provides after-school and summer programs for over 2,000 youth, promoting academic success, good character, citizenship, and healthy lifestyles for local children. The Boys and Girls Club has served Burbank since 1985, when it opened at its current location, thanks to the help of community volunteers. Starting as an after-school program for 75 children, the Boys and Girls Club now includes a teen program, a program for the deaf and hard of hearing, and after-school programs at several locations around Burbank.

The Leadership Burbank Class of 2015 will coordinate a series of fundraising and community engagement events to build support for the project, which will be completed by May 2015.

Leadership Burbank is a community-based organization that offers a hands-on leadership training program for people who live or work in Burbank. Emerging community leaders have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of community dynamics, and build a network of colleagues and associates throughout the city. Every Leadership Burbank class organizes a community service project that delivers lasting change in our community. Previous projects include renovating the Joslyn Center Oasis, donating 31 violins to Burbank schools and revitalizing the Kids’ Community Dental Clinic.

Cartoon Network Thanks Community Partners

Cartoon Network’s Director of Operations and Community Relations Zita Lefebvre hosted several community partner representatives at a thank you luncheon at the animation studio’s offices in downtown Burbank on Friday, February 14.

Guests of Zita Lefebvre of Cartoons Networks Valentines Day Lunch include Burbank Police PIO Darin Ryburn and Bonnie Teaford Director of Burbank Public Works. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Guests of Zita Lefebvre and Cartoons Network’s Valentines Day lunch include Burbank Police PIO Sgt. Darin Ryburn and Bonnie Teaford, Director of Burbank Public Works. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Members of the community came out to enjoy the Zita’s hospitality, including Police Chief Scott LaChasse and Sgt. Darin Ryburn of the Burbank Police Department and Bonnie Teaford from Public Works.

Rick Madrid from Paramount, Chris Ramos from the Family Service Agency and Edna Karinski from the Foundation of the Verdugos made an appearance.

Representatives from the Boys and Girls Club, the Burbank Center for the Retarded, the Family Service Agency, Warner Bros. Studios and local Burbank public schools also attended, among others.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Zita Lefebvre and Edna Karinski from the nonprofit Community Foundation of the Verdugos. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“I am honored to call them friends. The City has been so amazingly helpful to us and Bonnie Teaford is so responsive and supportive,” commented Lefebvre. “Both the Police and Fire Departments include us in trainings and are our best neighbors.”

“Chris Ramos was here to represent FSA and accepted a check from Edna Karinski from the Foundation of the Verdugos, for a grant I wrote before Christmas,” said Lefebvre.

Cartoon Network funds the Art Therapy Program at the Family Service Agency, which Lefebvre calls “powerful and heart wrenching all at once.”

Former Burbank Police Lt. Rick Madrid, a long time friend of Zita Lafebvre, stopped by to wish all a Happy Valentines Day. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Former Burbank Police Lt. Rick Madrid, a long time friend of Zita Lafebvre, stopped by to wish all a Happy Valentines Day. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Marilyn Collins of Cartoon Network is also a member of the Board of the Burbank Center for the Retarded.

Lefebvre noted the studio tries to “help them in any way we can. We hope to host an art show with drawings from their clients later this year.”

Sherry DeLizia and Brittany Vaughn from Boys and Girls Club worked on a PSA with Lefebvre recently, with help from myBurbank’s Vice President and Chief Photographer Ross Benson.

Cartoon Network volunteers are nearing completion of the PSA which will be screened for the young Boys and Girls Club attendees when finished.

Guests of Zita Lefebvre of Cartoons Networks Valentines Day Lunch. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Guests of Zita Lefebvre enjoy Cartoons Network’s Valentines Day luncheon. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Lefebvre also talked about some of the projects and programs she organizes with local public schools and the Burbank Arts For All Foundation, in which studio animators, artists and production personnel work with children in creating animated shorts and PSAs. Additionally, Cartoon Network reaches out to support local agencies and schools needs, such as the recent planter built for disabled children access at Stevenson Elementary in a partnership with Lowe’s Home Improvement store.