It started as a drop-in recreation center in a church basement with 12 children. Today, nonprofit organization A Place Called Home is a comprehensive community center in South Central Los Angeles providing programs in education, arts and well-being for 300 young people — and currently preparing to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
APCH’s “Gala for the Children: Celebrating 20 Years of Love” will be held Dec. 11 at the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. This year’s gala co-chairmen are Barbara Glazer, managing partner of Picture Head and partner in Howling Entertainment; entertainment industry veteran/former APCH board chairman Bob Israel; Maryellen Zarakas, senior VP of worldwide marketing/TV and studio licensing at Warner Bros. Consumer Products; and Dawn Taubin, chief marketing officer for DreamWorks Animation. Additional gala organizers include New Heights Entertainment head Alan Melina, producer RedOne and Beats Music head of curation and arts development Julie Pilat.
More than 600 guests are expected to attend the gala, which includes a cocktail reception, auction and ceremony saluting honorees Sister Patricia Connor, Dr. Philip Goglia and Jack Suzar. Entertaining the audience: the organization’s own student band, 29 Live, and dance company. Each year, the band produces, records and engineers an original CD that is debuted and distributed at the gala.
“This is about leveling the playing field and giving these kids the same opportunities that others have,” Glazer says.
Working with children and teens between the ages of 8 and 21, APCH currently welcomes 300 young people a day. The facility encompasses a recording studio (underwritten in part by RedOne) and a fine arts studio.
Since founder Debrah Constance opened its doors in 1993, APCH has helped more than 16,000 students. Executive director Jonathan Zeichner says the goal for 2013 is to raise at least $1 million. “If we’re all on the same side and serving the same mission,” he says, “then ultimately everyone and the community will benefit.”