Larry Kurzweil scratched his head as he tried to find shoes that fit the 10-year-old boy in the chair.
“What do they call these anymore? They’re not called sneakers are they?” asked Kurzweil, helping the boy try on another pair.
“Tennies,” the boy said.
“Tennies? Well, here’s a pair for you.”
The boy had no idea who Larry Kurzweil was, but he’s President of Universal Studios Hollywood. Kurzweil and other Universal Studios employees were volunteering their day to help in their annual Day of Giving on Thursday.
More than 200 Universal employees offered to help the students that the public school system identified as in need, and who are actually homeless, but still go to the Los Angeles Unified School District.
“This is our eighth year doing this community service and everyone seems to have a good time,” said Dorothea Scattaglia, the director of Employee and Community Service at Universal.
The children were given backpacks, clothes, shoes and books as part of the community outreach program, and they got to spend the day at the Universal Studios theme park, too.
“They get to play hooky from school today,” Scattaglia said.
The nonprofit Discover a Star organization worked with Universal to welcome students from Woodcrest Elementary and 95th Street Elementary from South L.A; Florence Elementary and Sheridan Street Elementary from Southeast and East L.A.; and Arminta Elementary from the San Fernando Valley.
Kurzweil said, “I wish we could do this all the time. For the past eight years we’ve been uniting as a company to demonstrate our commitment to our core values of ‘doing the right thing.’”
Other Universal Studios Hollywood “Day of Giving” events will take place throughout the day at AIDS Project L.A. (APLA); Pacific Lodge Boys’ Home, and L.A. Family Housing. The Discover a Star Foundation is part of Universal’s philanthropic division that helps more than 60 organizations.
“It has been an incredibly rewarding and moving experience to be able to help make a difference in the lives of the people from our communities we serve and I applaud each and every one of our employees for their compassion and dedication,” Kurzweil added.