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On the Town: Teen brightens foster children's holidays

Many people have the desire to reach out and help others, and even harbor great ideas to assist them in accomplishing their goal. The problem is, too often, they end up putting those ideas “on ice.”

While that phrase typically connotes inactivity, just the opposite has been true for 16-year-old Burbanker Ava Pulvers, who recently made this past holiday season a bit brighter for a group of foster children by putting her ideas on ice — literally.

Ava — who has been ice skating since the age of 5, and appreciates the self-discipline, hard work, perseverance, camaraderie and fun that competitive skating provides — put together a volunteer team of her fellow skaters to help her stage “Sharing Smiles,” an evening of skating, music, food, gifts and surprises highlighted by a performance at Pickwick Ice Rink for the children and families of ChildShare.

The locally based ChildShare is a nonprofit foster-care advocacy organization that pairs up children and families to create forever homes that Ava and her mother, Laurel Pulvers, became acquainted with through their mother-daughter philanthropy work with the Burbank chapter of National Charity League.

Under the younger Pulvers’ lead, the duo worked for months, first with a videographer to create a video-pitch that Ava posted to raise funds to finance the event, followed by securing the Pickwick Ice Rink and planning the decorations, food, entertainment and gifts for the children.

Upon their arrival at the Burbank ice rink, each child was given a Santa hat, enjoyed the musical stylings of Vic Moraga, and a catered dinner, capped off with a cupcake tree prepared by Burbank’s Half-Baked Bakery.

They then opened gifts Ava specially selected for each of the 19 participants. Ava also arranged for professional photographer Mark Fractor to take and print photos of the families as a keepsake memory of the evening.

Following dinner, the children were given the opportunity to lace up skates and take to the ice, most for the first time, and were then treated to a performance that showcased the talents of Ava and her friends, members of the Los Angeles Ice Theater and the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club’s Junior Council of Skaters.

Ava, who is a member of the internationally and nationally ranked Los Angeles Ice Theater team, trains at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo with coach Linda Fratianne, at Pickwick with coach Sharon Carz and in Sun Valley, Idaho, with coaches Ashley Clarke and Brent Bommentre.

Among the volunteer skaters who assisted Ava in staging the performance she directed were Patrick Frohling. Brian Lee, Valeria Yushkevich, Ariel Davydov, Ashley Wang, Lily Cowan, Sophia Augustine, Shayanne Casapao, David Kazarian, Ella Ales, Carolyn and Alfred Bartel, Katie Miles, Nichole Huenergardt, Joshua and Jasmine Fendi and Karolina Calhoun.

Others who helped make the evening a success included Ava's father, Tracy Pulvers, Ember Ngur, Lauren McKinley and Tiffany Yeung of ChildShare.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to combine my two loves: ice skating and charity work,” Ava said. “Having the opportunity to take the children of ChildShare ice skating and provide them with joy and laughter was such an honor. Just seeing these children smile gave me so much happiness. It was truly an event I will never forget.”

Ava said she now looks forward to making this event an annual tradition and is also looking into creating a nonprofit organization to stage future events and to provide opportunities for ChildShare kids to take skating lessons.

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

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