By Ivan Cazares
The Boys and Girls Club of East Los Angeles’ first Bubble 5k Run brought together community members, youth and celebrities to fundraise for the nonprofit organization Saturday.
The Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club has provided youth with services like tutoring and athletic programs since 1950.
Runners ran two laps around Legg Lake in the Whittier Narrows Regional Park, where they were met by a wall of bubbles at the finish line after each lap.
A DJ provided music for the runners as they ran laps. Community members interacted after the run.
Bicycles were raffled off, youth played bubble soccer and attendees were treated to refreshments and snacks.
Actor Luis Guzman said interactive events like the 5K run help bring people together, build communities and network.
Celebrity publicist, Boys and Girls Club adviser and East Los Angeles College alum Veronica Buenrostro said she is very proud to be able to reach out to celebrities she considers friends to show support.
“If I can personally reach one kid and inspire them, then I could be proud,” Buenrostro said.
Buenrostro graduated from ELAC and transferred to California State University, San Francisco where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis on television.
She was on East LA Boys and Girls Club’s board for several years.
However, she said the program is important to her and is why she continues to work with it even though she can’t give it 100 percent of her attention anymore.
Buenrostro said she is grateful she had an extensive support system while she was growing up, but knows not everyone is as fortunate.
She said programs like the Boys and Girls Club give youth a place to go after school and helps keep them off the streets.
Buenrostro said events like the Bubble Run help fund such programs, and the club plans on making the run a yearly event.
“It’s just about being a good human being and showing these young people that I come from the same humble beginnings. I want to be here for these kids and the community,” Guzman said. Guzman credited programs like the Boys and Girls club with keeping him off the streets while growing up in Lower East Side New York.
“I just think it’s important to give these kids an extra push and give them an extra support system besides their family. I see a little bit of me in them,” radio personality Cecilia Valencia, known as CeCe the Mamacita, said.
She said it’s important to have interactive events like the Bubble Run to teach youth to be involved in the community at an early age.
“You have to lead by example. It’s always good to just get up and move. I personally don’t like to get up and move, but I’m here early and I know why I’m here,” Valencia said.
Reggaeton artist and youngest Latin Grammy winner Miguel Angel Valenzuela Morales, known as Miguelito, boxer Victor Ortiz, actress Adriana Fonseca and comedic actor Anthony Campos, known as Citric, also showed their support for the Boys and Girls Club.
They interacted with the community like ordinary community members. Fonseca, Ortiz and Morales all ran the 5K and some of them signed autographs for fans.
“I’m just glad it was a fun event for the kids and their parents. This was a kickoff event and I hope we get more people involved,” Buenrostro said.
To donate, volunteer or find out about future Boys and Girls Club events visit bgccc.org.