Raising Laughs

Joy Escalante & Jeff Carlon take the stage to organize the auction items.

Joy Escalante & Jeff Carlon take the stage to organize the auction items.

Some of us are still laughing after the "Laughs for Leadership Burbank Comedy Night" earlier this month.  The Class of 2014 held the fundraising event at Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank to benefit Joslyn Oasis. The event was produced by class members David Freedman and Jeff Carlon, with lots of family, friends, and community leaders in the audience. 

Making the night even more memorable was our classmate Anna Varnon-Grier, a standup comedian who ably took to the stage and showed us a side of her we had never seen in class.  We know she's funny, but that night - she was hilarious. 

The fundraiser was a big success: we raised more than $4,000 between ticket sales, the opportunity drawings, and the silent and live auctions!  It all came together thanks to the hard work by our class members, volunteers from past Leadership Burbank classes,  and the many businesses who donated items for the opportunity drawings and auctions.  Thanks to everyone who supported our big night! 

Working Hard

Ground breaking is underway and we're already off to a good start. Our first weekend working on-site at the Joslyn Oasis was dedicated to cleaning up the project site. There was a lot of green waste to be picked up (we've never seen so many pine needles!), and old materials from the previous structure to be disposed of. Everyone chipped in with a rake or a bag in-hand so that we could get to the next phase of work: spraying the layout of the underground utilities and irrigation, then digging the trenches for the irrigation to be installed, all under the expert guidance of class member Kevin Mitchell. The milestones we hit (literally and figuratively) while digging the trenches gave us all new-found respect for the physical labor and commitment that goes into a project like this.  

Did you know? The Joslyn Oasis irrigation system will use reclaimed water. 

Another important task, spear-headed by Burbank’s own director of elementary education, Tom Kissinger, was painting the pergolas that will remain part of the Joslyn Center Project. While one group was shoveling and picking up the soil, we had another group with paint brushes and rollers in-hand tackling the painting. Tom was so dedicated to getting the painting done, he donated his personal paint sprayer in efforts to be efficient and produce a great quality finish.

Next up...planting!

Breaking Ground

Jeff on site 2_24.jpg

It's exciting to finally get construction started on Joslyn Oasis.  Watching the city of Burbank's demolition crews tear up the old concrete to make way for the new garden and recreation space gives me a tremendous sense of pride as the project manager and as a member of Leadership Burbank's Class of 2014.  But the feeling is also bittersweet. 

The idea to improve this unused area of the Joslyn Adult Center was inspired by the memory of my mother.  Before she passed away several years ago, the one thing she really loved to do was to go to her senior center in the Antelope Valley. She would get her hair done on Saturday, and go to the center on Tuesday (if she couldn't get her hair done, there was no way she would go to the center!).  To her, the center was an oasis - a home away from home where she would attend luncheons and special events, and, more importantly, play bridge with her friends.

As a firefighter for the city of Burbank, I see on a daily basis many of the community's adults wanting and needing that same kind of connection. The Joslyn Adult Center gives them a nice, safe place to do that.  

When I found out the center's shuffle board area hadn't been used in many years, I realized that turning it into a recreation and garden area would give the participants a new way to visit with friends, participate in activities, and just enjoy the outdoors.  When I proposed this idea to our Leadership Burbank class, I saw it as a way to honor not only our own mothers and fathers, but the moms and dads of this great community.  

Once the city crews have finished the concrete demolition, our class members and various volunteers from the community will get to work on painting, planting, and installing the new walkways and turf area.  To the folks who use the center: we apologize for any inconvenience the construction may be during your visits. We can assure you in the end, it will all be worth it!