HomeBlocksFront-GridOn The Town: Boys & Girls Club Helps Youth Explore College, Careers

On The Town: Boys & Girls Club Helps Youth Explore College, Careers

There was a time, “back in the day,” as the years of the 20th century are now referred to, when a boy envisioned a future career as a cowboy, a secret agent or, perhaps, an astronaut. As for girls, career dreams in those days of yore meant making a living as a ballerina, a model or an actress.
While those who hoped to be working for NASA, the FBI, the New York City Ballet or a major Hollywood studio when they grew up, the vast majority found themselves in somewhat more conventional professions.
Once the reality of having to make a living was actually thrust upon them, it was jobs in fields such as the medical, legal, insurance, beauty, transportation, government, construction, finance, real estate, retail, hospitality and restaurant industries that proved to offer more pragmatic opportunities.
While there is certainly nothing wrong with setting one’s career sights at the highest levels, especially during one’s optimistic days of juvenescence, it is also beneficial for young people to understand just how many different options they have to apply their occupational time and talents in order to find satisfaction and enjoyment in the work they pursue to keep themselves and their family fed, housed, clothed and finically secure.

Brian Barry moderates a career panel discussion during this year’s College and Career Fair.

As a part of their dedication to giving local youth a well-rounded springboard to face the real world, the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley recently presented their 2023 College and Career Fair under the theme, On the Road to Readiness.
“This event has been designed to give our club members the chance to meet numerous career professionals ― individuals from very diverse businesses and industries,” said Arpineh Ineh, who serves as the club’s director of programs.
“They have the opportunity to hear what the professionals have to say about what they do, which may spark a desire for them to pursue a career they didn’t even know existed. They can ask questions, and, because the professionals we bring in are all local, it also gives them a chance to establish invaluable relationships.”
Coordinated by Jesse Zapatero, who oversees the club’s teen services, the event saw more than 90 members gather in the Warner Bros. Performing Arts Center on the club’s East Angeleno campus.
The fair began with a panel discussion of professionals which was moderated by Brian Berry, the executive director of the Ventura County Medical Association, who has more than 30 years of experience in board leadership, executive coaching and career development.
Offering information on how they first got involved with their chosen careers, attendees heard from Bryan Homyak, who is the manager of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center; Susan Pearl, a senior buyer at TJX; Trina Smith from Hasbro; and Narek Kurkjian, who is a vice president with Bank of America.

Laurie Dew of Burbank’s Hotel Amarano explains the numerous career options available in the hospitality industry.

Other panelists who discussed what they best enjoyed about their work included Deputy Fire Chief Mark Hatch of the Burbank Fire Department; Irvin Rivera, who is the founder and editor-in-chief of A Book Of magazine, which covers art, culture, photography, celebrities, fashion and music; Stevland Turner of Cast and Crew; and Laurie Dew who is the sales manager at Hotel Amarano.
Along with representatives from traditional careers, the attendees also head from those who do jobs that many people don’t even know exist.
Kevin Izzard, Tim Hunter and Tim Whiten of WET Design, a water feature design firm founded by a trio of former Disney Imagineers, revealed that their company has designed over two hundred fountains and water features worldwide including the world’s largest performing fountain in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Following the panel discussion, those in attendance were invited to meet one-on-one with various career professionals including representatives from Woodbury University, Burbank Water and Power, and MUD Make-Up Designory.
With their College and Career Fair now behind them, the staff of the local Boys & Girl Club are now preparing for their annual speakeasy-themed fundraiser, Gala 2023, which will be hosted by Emmy-winning NBC4 anchorwoman Lynette Romero. Always well-attended by a vast cross-section of Burbank residents, the event will honor Warner Bros. Discovery on their 100th anniversary and be held on May 6 at Lakeside Golf Club.
For more information on the gala and to get tickets, call (818) 842-9333 or visit bgcburbank.org.

DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

Among the career professionals who took part in the Boys & Girls Club College and Career Fair were Bryan Homyak, Susan Pearl, Tim Hunter, Trina Smith and Narek Kurkjian.
Deputy Fire Chief Mark Hatch, magazine Editor-in-Chief Irvin Rivera and entertainment payroll professional Stevland Turner were among those who shared their career paths with club members.
Astineh Bandari, a vice president with Bank of America, meets one-on-one with attendees interested in career in banking and finance.

First published in the April 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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