Tag Archives: parents

Mayor Gabel-Luddy Honors Andre’s Martial Arts

On Saturday, December 15, Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy honored Grandmaster Vincent J. Rodricks with a certificate of appreciation during a Christmas celebration at Andre’s Martial Arts, located inside the Burbank Town Center.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

During the Taekwondo studio’s annual Christmas party and belt ceremony, Mayor Gabel-Luddy presented the certificate, praising the masters’ for the positive impact they’ve had on the community. Following demonstrations, students and their parents watched as Grandmaster Rodricks was honored.

“You are all a real-life example of what happens when you maintain discipline, focus, humility, and practice. I want to congratulate all of you in your next steps,” said Mayor Gabel-Luddy.

“The people who have the greatest humility are the most powerful. It doesn’t make sense but when you think about it it makes all the sense in the world. Thank you for your dedication to our community.”

Burbank Police Department Captain Denis J. Cremins was also in attendance and has returned for several years in a row.

Taylor Martinez (10) earned an orange belt with a green stripe. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

“I’ve known Grandmaster Rodrick for 7 years. I’ve seen the way he’s interacted with the kids and the families. He has a great deal of respect, and it builds a lot of character in the kids. The character building is the most important thing. He’s changed their lives in so many different ways,” said Captain Cremins.

After receiving the certificate, Grandmaster Rodricks presented a plaque, a representation of his appreciation to the Mayor, thanking her for the City’s support.

Earlier in the day’s session, students as young as 3-years-old broke wooden boards in half with a single kick, earning higher ranked belts for their hard work. Masters also demonstrated their skills by breaking cinderblocks in half.

Andre’s Martial Arts have a reputation of inclusivity, encouraging families with autistic children to become involved. One of the parents who helped organize the Christmas party’s potluck, Lori Nishida, has a teenage son with autism who has thrived under Grandmaster Rodricks’ instruction.

“Whenever kids come in, whether a child is little or has special needs, Vince would assign a kid to mentor that child, to show them the proper techniques for kicks,” said Nishida. “It’s been great, because then kids learn from a young age how to help each other, no matter what their abilities are.”

(Photo by Ross A Benson)


As the masters volunteer their time and do not get paid, parents thought it would be a good opportunity to come together and buy a seasonal gift to show their appreciation. Each master was given a gift card to Starbucks.

Andre’s Martial Arts is located on the first floor of the Burbank Town Center at 201 E. Magnolia Blvd., Ste. 140.

South Hills Children’s Center Holds Ribbon Cutting

On the afternoon of Thursday, April 19, families and city officials gathered at the ribbon cutting ceremony of the South Hills Children’s Center located at 222 S. Victory Blvd.

Director Maria Martinez, who launched the daycare, was grateful for the large turnout in attendance. Burbank city councilman Bob Frutos and other city officials assisted Martinez as she cut the ribbon, officially opening the daycare to the public.

“It is a great resource for the community. Thank you for your efforts for opening this up and we hope for many successes for you,” said a city official, handing a certificate to Martinez.

The Children’s Center is intended for kids ages 2 to 5, who can attend sessions Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“My passion is to help others and this church has given me the opportunity to open this center as one of my big dreams because I can support the learning and development of each child in their own way,” said Martinez.

Crafts, painting, and a bounce house were provided at the ceremony to celebrate the daycare’s official launch.

South Hills pastor Dave Stewart was in attendance during the ribbon cutting ceremony, proud of Martinez for her accomplishment.

“It’s been a three-year dream so we’re excited it’s finally happening and about Maria’s vision coming to be. For us, it’s exciting to be able to provide something like this for our community,” said Stewart.

Parents are thankful to have a place where their kids can go, knowing they won’t get lost in the shuffle, and be treated according to their individual needs.

“I’ve really appreciated the level of attentiveness that comes with people of faith who have an underlying understanding of what it means to not just teach your kids, but to love them as well,” said Jessie Brewer, mom of Noah (7) and Sophia (4).

Among the parents who are excited about sending their children to a daycare they can trust is Jon Torres, who works within the church as the family pastor.

“They send out these weekly newsletters where they talk about what they do for the entire week to inform parents what’s going on. Not only that, but their Instagram page shows that the team behind the Children’s Center values excellence,” said Torres.


The team who works at the Children’s Center hopes to foster an atmosphere where families can feel safe and cared for. Teachers use a curriculum called “STEM,” which stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.

“There’s also a lot of focus on developing and maturing their social skills, not just academically,” said Paola Bracamontes, one of the teachers.

A statement on the Children’s Center website at http://southhillschildrenscenter.com explains the philosophy behind their method of education: “We believe children are like little scientists and have a natural curiosity to explore their world. We create environments where optimal learning takes place.”