School Seeks Skates for Kids After Theft

When the school week ends at Valerio Street Elementary School, many students don't want to go home.

Each Friday afternoon, the Van Nuys school throws a skating party in a makeshift rink on the playground blacktop.

Officials say it provides a safe place for students to have fun after school.

A damper was put on the parties, however, after thieves broke into a supply shed recently and made off with 24 pairs of in-line skates, school officials said.

Most of the children come from low-income families and can't afford to buy the skates, so now they take turns using the few the school has left.

"A lot of people have to wait a long time" to use the skates, said first-grader Julian Ellis.

The school is asking the community for donations of skates. Prospective donors are asked to call the school's playground supervisor, Anthony Simpson, at (818) 785-8683.

The stolen skates were forgotten temporarily on Friday, however, during an appearance of two members of the rhythm-and-blues group Somethin' for the People. Mark Lomax and Rochad Holiday signed autographs and gave out tapes.

"This is fun," said third-grader Lorraine Molina.

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