Could not authenticate you.followers
This Friday, employees of Paramount Pictures worldwide will celebrate the company’s 16th anniversary of Viacommunity Day – a daylong volunteer effort named after Paramount’s parent company, Viacom, that engages nearly 1,500 employees in 19 countries to give back.
In Los Angeles, nearly 700 volunteers will support a wide range of activities, including beautifying public schools and parks, mentoring and teaching students, cooking and packaging food for AIDS/HIV patients, and cleaning up the Los Angeles River. Local public schools who will benefit from the day of service include Frances Blend Special Education School, Santa Monica Boulevard Community Charter School, Van Ness Avenue Elementary School, Wilton Place Elementary School, Le Conte Middle School, and Helen Bernstein High School.
According to Vahe Markarian, director of the Santa Monica Boulevard Community Charter School, the students look forward to the day every year.
“The older kids really remember it and even talk about it a year later,” Markarian said. “It brings the community together. It’s one of the things we build up to all year. The people that come by act more like mentors or buddies, and lend emotional support.”
Nancy Cohen, principal at Frances Blend Special Education School, said she agrees.
“The kids love it,” Cohen said. “It’s a lot of fun. The volunteers really seem to take an interest in the education of our students.”
For the employees at Paramount Pictures, Viacommunity Day is something they look forward to as well.
“The work that we do, we can [put on hold] because there’s so much need in the community,” said Anna Ortiz, vice president of corporate responsibility for Paramount Pictures. “Our neighborhood schools see us every year and the kids really look forward to it. This year, we’re setting up an obstacle course at LeConte Middle School, and a petting zoo at Frances Blend. We’re always very warmly received by the students.”
This year, volunteers at Santa Monica Boulevard Community Charter School will read to students, and offer face painting for students from kindergarten through 2nd grade, while 5th graders will attend a private screening on the Paramount Pictures lot.
Brian Everett, a painter and a 21-year employee at Paramount Pictures, will return to Santa Monica Boulevard Community Charter School to help spruce up the elementary school he attended from 1957-1959.
Other Paramount Pictures employees will volunteer at Project Angel Food preparing and delivering free meals to individuals affected by HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. They will also volunteer at the Fountain Community Garden, which is one of the city’s largest community gardens providing 65 garden plots used by more than 100 individuals and groups, including Project Angel Food. Other volunteers will build outdoor furniture, weed and plant, create an art wall to enhance the space, and help Project Angel Food by harvesting fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Volunteering at the film studio is a yearlong commitment. The Paramount Volunteer Crew includes employees that do community service at least once a month.
Ortiz still fondly recalls her first Viacommunity Day 13 years ago, when she volunteered at Portraits of Hope preparing panels on which hospitalized children could paint.
“Above everything, I love interacting with the kids,” Ortiz said. “They enjoy having someone from outside their world spend time with them. We want our employees to feel good not only about their jobs, but to feel better about themselves.”
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.