Elliott Salter doesn’t want to make a big deal about it; in his eyes, he simply sold some used instruments to a local school at a discounted price. To those trying to create a band at Laurel Span School, it made all the difference.
Education Heroes, a new group formed by Laurel parent Harri James-O’Kelley, recently honored Salter. Band teacher Ray Vizcarra has been working with Education Heroes to garner the necessary resources to outfit a band at Laurel, and through that effort, Vizcarra teamed up with Salter, who was happy to oblige.
“It was the right thing to do,” Salter said. “It’s really sad. With the budget cuts, the school takes the hit. That’s just the future.”
He said band organizers purchased 12 to 15 flutes, eight or 10 clarinets and five trumpets from his West Hollywood pawnshop. Salter has a large inventory of used instruments, and the school is purchasing only those that Los Angeles Unified School District staff members can repair.
“They are wizards at restoring and repairing instruments,” Vizcarra said in a statement. “They keep the instruments in the hands of the students, while saving the district a lot of money in outside repair bills.”
Elliott Salter’s Pawn Shop has been in business for approximately 47 years. Though it once was down the street, it has been located at 7760 Santa Monica Blvd. for more than 40 years.
James-O’Kelley said she would like to expand Education Heroes in the near future, but for now it is acknowledging businesses, teachers and parents who support Laurel Span School. The goal is to create an ongoing relationship in which both entities benefit, she said.
“I think it’s a solution to the budget cuts,” James-O’Kelley added. “Reciprocally, it should be bringing business to the small businesses.”
She said the pawnshop is the second business to be honored by Education Heroes. Whipp’d LA has also been recognized, and on Feb. 22, the ice cream business will again visit Laurel — this time to award students with perfect attendance. Eligible students will receive a free, small ice cream cone, and the Whipp’d Bear mascot will make an appearance. The school will be celebrating 100 days of school, and the Whipp’d Bear will promote the importance of attendance, James-O’Kelley said.
“That’s the kind of support where he’s making a commitment to our kids,” she said, adding that she hopes families will frequent the business in return. “That’s what we want to keep building.”
Education Heroes will also be funding a presentation on the history of kites by Dave Shenkman, of Huntington Beach, on Feb. 22.
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