The Pico Youth and Family Center (PYFC) is celebrating the New Year with a continuation of its longstanding mission to serve youth who are underserved by other kinds of programs.

“As of January 2017 we have 206 registered youth,” said PYFC CEO, Oscar de la Torre.

The center is currently encouraging its youth and volunteers to participate in a new wave of visual media projects, productions and software programming.

“PYFC launched the Digital Dreams Pathway Campaign in July 2016 to expand opportunities for the underserved in the high tech sector, such as Silicon Beach,” said de la Torre.

The campaign will help fund three existing PYFC programs, Film and Visual Media, Music Production and Computer Coding. It will benefit all youth between the ages of 13 – 24, from the Pico neighborhood as well as the Westside area who have limited access to professional grade software and high-level training.

It was launched with the help of Lucas Donat, an executive at TrueCar who was able to help provide equipment for the youth at PYFC.

PYFC believes the music program is an anchor to the Digital Dream Pathways.

“I started as a youth participant and now I work at PYFC as the music coordinator,” said Julian Ayala, PYFC Music Coordinator. “We have produced five CD compilations at PYFC and I can say that the recording studio helps build community and in a way it’s like therapy for the youth who participate.”

The music program consists of daily classes and hands on training that cover the basics of recording arts, music production and engineering.

“PYFC was the first one to open a public recording studio in Santa Monica, and now we create an annual compilation album. The album is created by youth from the beats to the lyrics,” said de la Torre.

Officials said the campaign is a work preparation tool to help local kids break into the every expanding digital workforce. PYFC has been fundraising in support of the program for months.

“We have raised over $103,000 since July 2016. The City of Santa Monica provided $50,000 as a cash match in October,” said de la Torre. “We have raised $7,304 through out the year end fundraising campaign.”

PYFC is currently seeking internships and mentorships that foster skill sets in the video & media production, music production and publishing, web design, government affairs and more.

“People who have training in technology and similar areas can really have a positive impact on the youth,” said de la Torre.

In hopes that PYFC Digital Dream Pathway Campaign continues to grow, they will be hosting their 8th Annual Art for Hearts Fundraiser at Bergamot Station on Feb. 26 from 7 p.m. – 11 p.m.

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