Hundreds of people were on hand for the festive opening of the Pico Youth and Family Center’s new quarters on Saturday afternoon, October 4. The new location, on Pico Boulevard between Santa Monica High School and Lincoln Boulevard, was filled to overflowing as Executive Director Oscar de la Torre recalled the origins of PYFC.
The Center was born out of a 1998 demonstration against youth violence following a series of shootings in the Pico neighborhood, said de la Torre. “I carried a candle in that 1998 vigil for youth peace,” noted City Councilmember Kevin McKeown. “The flame still burns here at the new PYFC,” he added.
The new quarters will not only house the recording studio that has become so popular with the many youths who frequent the Center, but will also be home to a new film program that PYFC is instituting in conjunction with Lionsgate.
Among the many who hailed the opening of the new space on Saturday was Santa Monica High School principal Dr. Hugo Pedroza, who noted the many Samohi teachers at the opening and welcomed the Center’s proximity to the high school campus and the availability of PYFC’s facilities to the students.
De la Torre spoke of the principles on which the Center was based – peace, unity, and social justice – and pledged that PYFC would continue to work toward those goals in its new location.
Pastor Herman Kemp of Calvary Baptist Church concluded the formal program with a blessing, but the festivities continued with music, dancing, and food.