Tag Archives: Cartoon Network

Charity Art Auction Benefits Family Service Agency Art Therapy Program

Cartoon Network hosted its fifth annual Charity Art Auction to benefit the Family Service Agency Art Therapy program. The event, held at the Burbank studio on the evening of June 2, raised more than $30,000.

“It was an honor to once again host the FSA Healing Arts event,” commented Brian Miller, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cartoon Network Studios. “If the number of people that attended is any indication, this year promises to be the most successful to date.”

family services agency art therapy

Mayor Will Rogers fights for the pen with Assemblymember Laura Friedman to make a bid on a political cartoon that Artist Chris Runco did of the Joint Powers Agreement. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Approximately 275 members of the Burbank community attended the art auction and reception and the pre-ticketed dinner was sold out for the planned 120 guests.

“Family Service Agency is a gift to Burbank and we are happy to be a part of something that brings attention to just one of the many services they offer,” added Miller, who currently serves as Treasurer for FSA. “My hope is that this will raise awareness throughout the community for this truly important organization and the many causes they support and serve.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“I encourage everyone to visit their website and to see all that they do,” he added.

More than 130 pieces of art were sold and included “a combination of studio and community art – truly representative of our Burbank community,” said Laurie Bleick, Executive Director of FSA. The evening “truly was magical!”

The Family Service Agency Art Therapy program is the “use of art making by our clients who are experiencing illness, effects of trauma, stress or challenges in living, and by our clients who are seeking personal growth,” according to the FSA website.

Peggy Flynn Burbank Schools Arts Coordinator looks at some of the art that was available for auction Friday evening at Cartoon Network (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Art Therapy is supervised by FSA professionals and most commonly used with youth, but also with the retired community, those with autism spectrum disorder, the chronically ill and those experiencing trauma or loss.

“In more than 60 years using art in therapy at FSA of Burbank, we have found it helps clients with everything from gaining awareness, increasing self-acceptance and processing difficult emotions.”

Family Service Agency, a Burbank community mental health and wellness center, was founded in 1953. In addition to counseling, education and advocate services, the FSA also provides mental health care to Burbank youth on 19 Burbank Unified School district campuses.

Cartoon Network Opens Its Doors For An Evening Selling Artwork to Benefit Family Service Agency

This Friday evening The Family Service Agency, will be the beneficiary of an evening presenting the sale of artworks from 100 artists at Cartoon Network Studios. The art reception includes refreshments, a unique art demonstration, and a silent auction to be held from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the Cartoon Network Studios which is located at 300 N. 3rd Street, Burbank, CA.

A special feature during the auction is the availability of a limited edition print of Charlie Chaplin, by celebrity street artist,Mr. Brainwash.

Two Burbank artists, Chris Runco and Randall Williams will be recognized as Spotlight Honorees. Both have made significant artistic contributions and have a strong connection to the Burbank community.

The silent auction exhibition is an eclectic collection of artwork of diverse styles, medium and genre. Many contributing artists are studio artist from Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney. Also featured are the works from local artists, students, and community members.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Brian Miller, Sr. Vice President and General Manager of Cartoon Network has extended the invitation to the public. Miller said “We’ve filled the studio with lots of wonderful artwork, now let’s find the match for each piece to that special art lover, collector and friend all in support of the good work of the Family Service Agency of Burbank”.

Family Service Agency,  Burbank’s community mental health and wellness center, was founded in 1953, and is providing mental health care to our Burbank youth on 19 Burbank school campuses.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The proceeds from the evening will support the Art Therapy program at the Center.
Reserved tickets for the reception are $25.00 and available on line at www.FSAhealingarts.com or by calling 818-845-7671

Cartoon Network Screens Burbank Boys & Girls Club PSA

Cartoon Network recently screened a Burbank Boys & Girls Club PSA created by a group of nine middle and high school kids with the mentorship of Mike Roth, an animator and director at the studio.

The screening was held at the Burbank-based studio on Wednesday, December 3, to celebrate completion of the anti-bullying animated short and honor retiring Cartoon Network Director of Operations and Community Relations, Zita Lefebvre. The PSA will be posted on the Cartoon Network and Burbank Boys & Girls Club websites.

Cartoon Network held a screening of the anti-bullying PSA "Revelation" created by youth at the Boys & Girls Club under the mentorship of Mike Roth. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Cartoon Network held a screening of the anti-bullying PSA “Revelation” created by youth at the Boys & Girls Club under the mentorship of Mike Roth. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Called Revelation, the PSA discusses bullying, based on the participants’ personal experiences. After Roth taught lessons on writing,storyboarding and illustration, the kids collaborated to write the story and created characters, backgrounds and storyboards, explained Lefebvre.

“They came into the studio to record the voices and did an amazing job,” she added.

“I requested and received a grant from Turner in Atlanta to create a PSA with the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank,” said Lefebvre, of the process of putting the project together. “Mike Roth directed the film and went with me weekly to Boys & Girls Club and worked with the kids to teach them the animation process.”

Mike Roth teaches elements of the animation process to kids at the Burbank Boys & Girls Club. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mike Roth teaches elements of the animation process to kids at the Burbank Boys & Girls Club. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank-based photographer and myBurbank.com Chief Photographer Ross Benson took interior and exterior photos at Robert L. Stevenson Elementary to provide source material Roth used for some backgrounds.

“It was a wonderful project to work with the kids, teach them a process and to have them create an animated film that will be shown on the Cartoon Network and Boys & Girls Club webpage,” commented Lefbvre. “It was a great experience for the kids to come into the studio to voice record their PSA.”

“When I was a kid, I would have loved an opportunity to make a real cartoon,” said Roth. “So it was very special to be a part of helping provide this opportunity to this group of boys and girls at the BGCA. They did an amazing job and I’m very proud of them and the work they did.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Revelation PSA was an offshoot of the Young Writers Program that Cartoon Network started at Stevenson Elementary in 2012. Cartoon Network purchased several computers for the Burbank Boys & Girls Club this past summer and beings a project in 2015 teaching the kids to create their own movies.

“This partnership with the Cartoon Network allowed the kids to experience the real world of animation and inspired them to dream,” commented Sherry DeLizia, Creative Arts Director at the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley. “Most importantly, it empowered the kids to make a difference.”

Zita Lefebvre Leaves Cartoon Network, Leaves Burbank Legacy

Zita Lefebvre has made a career of building bridges between Cartoon Network and the Burbank community.

After 23 years, she has taken a voluntary separation package from Turner Broadcasting, a Time Warner Company, and her last day is today.

Zita Portrait

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“The time is right,” she said Thursday morning.

Lefebvre started as Director of Operations with Cartoon Network in 1999, but soon tagged “and Community Relations” on the end of that title when she started doing community outreach projects, originally on her own time, she said.

“I saw a need and I really liked doing it,” she said.

Her time at Cartoon Network has been the best job anyone could ever have, she said.

“I had a wonderful boss — Brian Miller — who when I said ‘I want to start a program at the schools,’ he said ‘OK,'” she said. “And when I said ‘I want to go to the Boys & Girls Club and bring some artists,’ he said ‘if you can round them up, go for it.’ So he was really open to it. He is a resident of Burbank and he really liked my community involvement and championed me on it.”

One recent project she saw to completion was the building of raised planters the disabled students could fill with plants at Stevenson Elementary School. Lefebvre called Lowe’s and asked them to work with her on the project. Lowe’s has continued to partner on two or three other projects since then.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“I just had to think outside of the box, and bring money to the programs and I wrote grants and got money and it was a whole new avenue for me and my kids are grown, I had the time, I did it,” she said.

What got her started in partnering with local nonprofits was the creation of the Garden Club at Stevenson Elementary School.

“I received a check from Turner and we bought gardening books and plants, and I got volunteers from Cartoon Network,” she said. “People were so happy to go to the garden. It was like a mini vacation in the middle of the day. They would dig, cut, plant and work with the kids and it grew every year. We’ve been there for 14 years.”

Last year, an outdoor kitchen was built in the garden, through a grant from the Captain Planet Foundation, founded by Ted Turner. Now students have a place to wash their hands and the produce after it’s harvested.

But Lefebvre has made many more contributions to Stevenson Elementary, Principal Debbie Ginnetti said.

Through her efforts, Cartoon Network provides bottled water for fun runs and healthy snacks for the annual Walk Your Child to School Day. Cartoon Network and Time Warner have been instrumental in funding technology upgrades.

A major program Cartoon Network partnered on a few years ago was the Creative Story Writing project. Fourth- and fifth-graders wrote stories that were judged by teachers and administrators. The winning story was animated by Cartoon Network artists.

“Zita has gone over and beyond — we have been so fortunate to have her as a business partner,” Ginnetti said.

Cartoon Network artists have also been mentors with young members of the Boys & Girls Club, said Shanna Warren, chief executive officer.

(Photo b Ross A. Benson)

(Photo b Ross A. Benson)

They have conducted monthly animation classes for many years, have made a short film with the youth members and made a mural of Cartoon Network shows for one of the walls at the club. They also support the annual Student Showcase, which is a culmination event for all the arts activities the youth members have participated in over the year.

“Zita always been very interested in providing enriching art experiences for our club members, and she does it all year round,” Warren said. “She’s just always been a huge support for us.”

Lefebvre not only really cares about people but works to make life better, make change in this community, said volunteer Barbara Sykes.

“She is a very involved person and doesn’t shy from working hard,” Sykes said. “It’s been very obvious that Zita doesn’t do the work because she is part of Cartoon Network but rather brings her company with her and shows them how to be good partners and part of a community.”

Lefebvre epitomizes the concept of partnerships between businesses and schools in Burbank, said Stacy Cashman, Jordan Middle School principal. She spearheaded a project in which students competed in a storyboarding contest at Jordan and then gave one of the students the opportunity to write and direct a short animated film called, “You Are Special.”

“It was an experience our students, staff, and community will never forget,” Cashman said. “In fact, the film has been entered in several film festivals. She has left a legacy at Jordan Middle School. Zita is passionate, strong and authentic. I consider her a role model for women in leadership and I look forward to seeing what she will do next.”

Helping youth has been a #1 priority with Lefebvre, said Janet Diel, president and Campership chairwoman with the Burbank Coordinating Council.

“Her participation in our Campership program helped children to experience camp and to have the opportunity to grow and develop leadership skills and self-confidence too,” Diel said. “Cartoon Network sponsored 30 children this past summer — all due to Zita.”

Lefebvre’s community outreach is rewarding, she said, because in addition to seeing the projects come together, she watches Cartoon Network employees grow from their participation.

“It is so good to see young people, all of our artists are quite young, get involved. I liked to match the employee to a project so they were happy with it,” she said. “We have a lot more employees invested in the community — people that don’t live in the community will come in on Saturday to work on the garden at Stevenson, or make a drawing for the auction for Family Service Agency or will volunteer time to take pictures for an online auction that we are going to set up for Family Service.”

A youth in the art therapy class at Family Service Agency painted pictures of his house prior to his starting therapy         and after. The first picture had a black cloud hanging over it, the second picture, above, had the sun beaming on it,        indicating how happy he was now that he was away from his abuser. (courtesy of Family Service Agency)

A youth in the art therapy class at Family Service Agency painted pictures of his house prior to his starting therapy
and after. The first picture had a black cloud hanging over it, the second picture, above, had the sun beaming on it,
indicating how happy he was now that he was away from his abuser. (courtesy of Family Service Agency)

Lefebvre served two years as president of the Family Service board of directors and initiated the first art show fundraiser in town, said Laurie Bleick, executive director of Family Service Agency.

“She raised over $30,000 with the art show 10 years ago — long before other people were doing arts shows as fundraisers,” Bleick said.

Ross Purdy, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, met Lefebvre when they were serving on the board of directors for the Family Service Agency many years ago.

“I saw her give generously to support the agency’s work and I had the chance to see many acts of kindness from her that go unnoticed by many,” he said. “She has a humble spirit and she really cares about enriching people’s lives. Zita is the kind of person that makes this world a better place.”

Julie Larsen, executive director of BCR “a place to grow”, can’t think of a nonprofit organization in Burbank that hasn’t received support from Cartoon Network, thanks to Lefebvre.

FSA Dinner with Zita2

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“She was always thinking first of what her company could do for others,” Larsen said.

Turner Broadcasting employees worked with BCR clients to replant the garden in front of the BCR center, Larsen said.

Lefebvre worked with the Burbank Police Department last year on the Bike and Walk to School project chaired by Lisa Rawlins, senior vice president, Public Affairs, Warner Bros. Entertainment.

“On behalf of Cartoon Network, Zita has made a significant contribution to the local community,” Rawlins said. “What is truly extraordinary is her deep, personal and genuine commitment to the people of Burbank.”

In addition, Lefebvre has worked with the police and fire departments to bring programs to Cartoon Network for employees. The police have provided security training in the office and fire department representatives have taught CPR instruction.

Police Chief Scott LaChasse called her a “real icon” in terms of partnerships and having the ability to understand the needs of the community.

“We partnered on a lot of different initiatives and she was the consummate team player,” he said.Cartoon Valentine Party4

One event that she consistently organizes at Cartoon Network is on Valentine’s Day. She honors safety personnel as well as other people who provide service to the public whether it be educators or those from other city departments, LaChasse said.

Lefebvre also worked with the city and Burbank Chamber of Commerce to explore ways to encourage other businesses to become community partners, said Joy Forbes, the city’s Community Development director. She attended meetings and wrote letters to businesses telling them that employees want to feel part of the community in which they work, which Lefebvre discovered through her experience with the Cartoon Network’s employees.

“She made business owners understand that getting involved in a partnership makes for a better work environment for their employees and that they will enjoy it and want to stay with that company,” Forbes said.

Cartoon Valentine Party1

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

One business that became involved in community partnerships through Lefebvre’s encouragement was Nickelodeon, Forbes said.

Lefebvre lives in La Canada but she plans to continue to give time to Burbank nonprofit organizations. She will continue to write grants to raise funds for Family Service Agency as well as work in the Garden Club at Stevenson Elementary, because it’s good exercise and “good for the soul”.

Lefebvre plans to work more in her home garden and she will be taking a master gardening class at the Arboretum. After a couple months of rest, Lefebvre will start looking for a part-time job, she said, adding that she’s not calling her leaving Cartoon Network as “a retirement”.

“I’m just calling it a change of scenery — just moving on,” she said.

Her parting words for her friends in the community are “Thank you for being so generous with your city and sharing it and your schools and your nonprofits, it’s been a joy!” she said.

Burbank Schools Develop Digital Media And Manufacturing Programs

Burbank city and school officials, along with executives from Burbank studios, attended the Verdugo Creative Technology Consortium (VCTC) reception Wednesday, October 29, at Glendale Community College.

The event celebrated the recent announcement of a six million dollar grant from the State of California to fund development of digital media and manufacturing programs for area students.

“We are collaborating with local industry leaders to develop pathway programs that prepare students for workforce needs in digital media and digital manufacturing fields,” said Dr. David Viar, president of Glendale Community College.

Eric Simkin (mOcean), Carrie Brown (BAFA), John Paramo (BUSD), Zita Lefebvre (Cartoon Network), Peggy Flynn (BUSD), Lisa Rawlins (Warner Bros.), Superintendent Dr. Jan Britz (BUSD), Charlene Tabet (Board of Education), Sharon Cuseo (BUSD), Burbank City Manager Mark Scott, Kimberley Clark (BUSD), Burbank Mayor Dr. David Gordon and Dave Kemp (Board of Education) celebrate the kick off of the Verdugo Creative Technologies Consortium.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Eric Simkin (mOcean), Carrie Brown (Burbank Arts For All Foundation), John Paramo (BUSD), Zita Lefebvre (Cartoon Network), Peggy Flynn (BUSD), Lisa Rawlins (Warner Bros.), Superintendent Dr. Jan Britz (BUSD), Charlene Tabet (Board of Education), Sharon Cuseo (BUSD), Burbank City Manager Mark Scott, Kimberley Clark (BUSD), Burbank Mayor Dr. David Gordon and Dave Kemp (Board of Education) celebrate the kick off of the Verdugo Creative Technologies Consortium.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“We need local entertainment and manufacturing companies to provide mentors, internships and a variety of other opportunities that allow our students to develop new skills, expand their list of achievements and build relationships with professionals,” he added.

Burbank Mayor Dr. David Gordon, City Manager Mark Scott and City Treasurer Debbie Kukta joined BUSD Superintendent Dr. Jan Britz, Board of Education members Charlene Tabet, Dave Kemp and president Dr. Roberta Reynolds and BUSD administrators at the event.

They were joined by Lisa Rawlins from Warner Bros. Studios, Zita Lefebvre from Cartoon Network and Eric Simkin of mOcean. Those movie and digital media studios, along with Nickelodeon Animation Studios have agreed to partner with Burbank Unified School District in developing classes that teach skills necessary for the twenty-first century workplace.

Burbank Unified’s Director of Instruction and Accountability Sharon Cuseo detailed more of Burbank schools and businesses partnership with the VCTC in an previously published interview with myBurbank.

Eric Simkin of mOcean, Lisa Rawlin of Warner Bros. Studios and Zita Lefebvre of Cartoon Network partner with Burbank Unified School District to develop tech and arts savvy classes. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Eric Simkin of mOcean, Lisa Rawlin of Warner Bros. Studios and Zita Lefebvre of Cartoon Network partner with Burbank Unified School District to develop tech and arts savvy classes. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Cuseo organized the Burbank part of the VCTC partnership, while Robert Mejia from the Verdugo Workforce Investment Board (VWIB) put the entire grant application together. BUSD and VWIB joined Glendale Unified School District, California State University at Northridge and Glendale Community College to create the VCTC.

“Last night was a great kick off for the work we want to do as a consortium,” commented Cuseo. “It gives us the opportunity to establish greater partnerships between all the partners and the community.”

“The potential for Burbank students and local business is exciting,” she added.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) has been a popular buzzword in education for years. Recently, many educators and businesses have emphasized the need for an Arts, or creative, component to learning, technology and manufacturing, making the buzzword now STEAM.

“Technical skills applied creatively generate the kinds of innovation that sustain local economic development,” Viar also said. “Our goal is not to ask high school students to declare their life long career at 14. Instead our goal is to provide students with foundational skills that enable them to make choices.”

Cartoon Network Hosts Pirate Patch Farmers Market

Cartoon Network hosts a biweekly, lunchtime farmers market inside the studio with organic produce from Stevenson Elementary’s Pirate Patch garden during the summer. On July 18, studio employees perused fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables brought by garden volunteer Claire Torrey and her Stevenson students.

Red and yellow tomatoes freshly picked from the vine, artichokes, amaranth, small apples, chard and pomegranates were popular. Along with a bevy of herbs, including mint, basil, Thai basil, lavender, parsley, thyme, dill, sage and lemon verbena, the farmers market sold out within minutes.

(from left to right) Cartoon Network's Alexandria Taylor and Linda Barry wash some fresh vegetables and herbs. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Two of Cartoon Network’s employees wash some fresh vegetables and herbs. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

More than $100, including some generous donations, noted Torrey, was raised for the Stevenson Pirate Patch at Friday’s farmers market. Her seven-year-old daughter, Anya Kallianpur, was kept busy bagging produce and helping out customers.

“It’s good advertising for our employees,” commented Zita LeFebvre, Cartoon Network’s Director of Operations and Community Relations. “We got a new volunteer for the garden today, too.”

“The garden is really a good outlet. To leave the office and go work in the garden is really theraputic,” LeFebvre added.

Cartoon Network employees have been planting in the Stevenson garden for many years, she continued, remembering a fig tree planted 10 years ago that continues to bear fruit.

(from left to right) Zita LeFebvre from Cartoon Network, Stevenson second-grader Anya Kallianpur and Pirate Patch garden director Claire Torrey hold fresh produce and herbs. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(from left to right) Zita LeFebvre from Cartoon Network, Stevenson second-grader Anya Kallianpur and Pirate Patch garden director Claire Torrey hold fresh produce and herbs. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Two apple trees, a lemon tree and rose bushes are some of the other plants placed in the garden over the years by studio volunteers, in addition to benches and planters.

The Stevenson Elementary Pirate Patch Farmers Market will set up a table at the Ladies and Gents Night Out on July 25 in Magnolia Park, said Torrey.

The farmers market table will be located in front of Romancing the Bean cafe and they hope to have some freshly picked figs available for purchase, along with out vegetables and fruits from the school garden.

Future farmers markets at Cartoon Network expect to have zucchini, tomatoes, figs and more items as they come into season.

Cartoon Network Thanks Employee Volunteers For Ongoing Service

Cartoon Network held a rooftop picnic to thank employee volunteers for their ongoing service with organizations and schools in the Burbank and Los Angeles area on Wednesday, June 4. Director of Operations and Community Relations Zita Lefebvre highlighted some of the studio employees’ outreach including work with children in the community and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Representatives from some Cartoon Network partner organizations, such as Family Service Agency, the Stevenson Elementary Garden Club, Kids Community Dental Clinic, the Wildlife Learning Foundation, BCR A Place To Grow and Boys & Girls Club of Burbank attended the picnic as well.

Some of the many Cartoon Network employee volunteers enjoy the annual thank-you luncheon. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Cartoon Network employee volunteers enjoy the annual thank-you picnic on the roof. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Lefebvre pointed out some of the art therapy images shared by Laurie Bleick, Executive Director of the Family Service Agency, a local organization providing help to people and families in crisis.

Tammy List, a Cartoon Network employee, also channels her passion for animals into ongoing service with the Wildlife Learning Foundation (WLF.) Based in Sylmar, the foundation runs a small animal sanctuary for rescued animals who cannot be released into the wild and visits schools and birthday parties to educate the public about wildlife conservation, she said.

On Turner Community Day, several Cartoon Network employees visited the WLF facility with much needed manpower, building a shed, painting and sprucing up the sanctuary.

Sherry DeLizia, Creative Arts Director at the Boys & Girls Club (BCG) talked about some ongoing programs for which Cartoon Network provides funds and volunteers. Cartoon Network’s relationship with BCG stretches back for over a decade, she said.

“They have been an amazing support,” DeLizia commented. “Their grants have enabled showcases and performances of dancing and acting classes. We have been able to buy costumes for performances and hire teachers from the Garri Dance Studio for the dance classes.”

Fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits from the Stevenson Elementary garden. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits from the Stevenson Elementary garden were shared at the Cartoon Network volunteer picnic. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Cartoon Network’s ongoing support of the Stevenson Elementary School Garden Club was greatly appreciated by garden representatives Claire Torrey and Charlene Ishkhanian. Lefebvre and the studio have donated a raised garden bed for special needs student access and have provided a picnic table, benches, trees, and seeds, said Torrey.

The studio has also connected the Stevenson Garden with local business partners such as Sheridan Gardens and Lowe’s for additional support and resources.

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.

Cartoon Network Employees Celebrate Holiday Season

Earlier in December, all 300 Cartoon Network Studios employees walked to the AMC Theatres for an “All Staff” meeting one afternoon. After the meeting, they then headed over to The Rink and skated for an hour. Co-workers enjoyed a holiday get-together, sipped hot chocolate and ate beignets, freshly made from The Beignet Truck.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Cartoon Network employees enjoy some fun time with co-workers at The Rink, Burbank’s outdoor ice rink, in December. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“The weather was a perfect 42 degrees – probably colder than Rockefeller Center that day! Everyone had a great time,” commented Zita Lefebvre, Director of Operations and Community Outreach. She also noted the convenience of Cartoon Network’s location in Burbank at 300 N. Third St., just blocks from the AMC Theatres and The Rink. The Rink will remain open daily, until closing for the season on January 5.

Cartoon Network Partners With 10-year-old Stevenson Elementary School Student

Cartoon Network partners with 10-year-old Stevenson Elementary School student to produce an animated short film based on the student’s story. The whole family got into the act as her parents and sister voiced the characters in the film. The fourth- and fifth-grade classes saw the premiere of the film on Open House.

By Joyce Rudolph
BurbankNBeyond
Lillian Hughes, her family and her fourth- and fifth-grade classmates at Stevenson Elementary saw the world premiere of the animated short “Mr.

Stevenson Elementary School student Lillian Hughes, 10, with her Principal Debbie Ginnetti at the premiere of the animated short "Pike" that she wrote and directed. Cartoon Network produced the short. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Pike”, written and directed by Lillian, in the auditorium during open house on May 1. Cartoon Network Studios produced the piece, as part of the Young Writers Program, and representing the studio at the premiere was Zita Lefebvre.

It was an exciting moment for the 10-year-old

“When the film started, my heart was beating real fast,” Lilli said.

The project began in the fall as a creative writing initiative for fourth- and fifth-graders and is part of 10-year partnership between the animation company and the school. Students were asked to write an imaginative narrative story and include illustrations of the characters, said Principal Debbie Ginnetti. It allowed them to expand their own ideas and imagination, she said.

Lillian Hughes and her 5th grade teacher Miss Goulding, working on her Mr Pike story.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The teachers and principal judged the stories and narrowed the field to five and Lilli’s was deemed the top piece, earning her the chance to have the story turned into a two-minute animated film.

She worked with Cartoon Network illustrator Dave Smith to draw the story board and directed her family in voicing the characters.

“The project showed the students the reality of what writing can do for you,” Ginnetti said. “This assignment meshed art and writing.”

Reading and writing have always been an important part of educating students for Ginnetti. Early in her teaching career I had the opportunity of working with her and another teacher Mikki Bolliger on
a writing project. Elementary school students were invited to write about a chosen topic once a month in the “I Have a Tale to Tell” writing program.

At Stevenson, students begin writing projects as soon as they enter kindergarten, Ginnetti said.

Her parents said Lilli has been writing since she was very little.

Lillian Hughes works on her Mr. Pike story. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

She learned to tell stories and draw by watching Cartoon Network’s the Powder Puff Girls, said her father Robert, who is a director with Disney’s “Phineas and Ferb”.

“She paid them back by making the film with them,” he said.

Lilli’s family members provided the voices for the characters. Her father supplied the voice of Mr. Pike, the substitute teacher. And mother Jennifer spoke the lines for Mrs. Ash and Chess Wood.

“It is just the best to see any kid’s project get this kind of recognition, but to see your kid honored like this, that’s the highlight,” Jennifer Hughes said.

Lilli’s sister Phoebe, 12, voiced Bianca, the narrator, and Rotamere, the hero.

“It was weird to have my voice coming out of someone else,” Phoebe said.