In honor of the back-to-school season, ReKon Productions has decided to take the classic “What I did on my Summer Vacation” assignment and give it a little twist. Everyone knows we spent our summer working on productions, what they might not know is who we spent the summer with. “Who Spent Their Summer Vacation with ReKon Productions” is a five part interview series highlighting some of the cool kids we’ve gotten to work with these past few months.
Who Spent Their Summer Vacation with ReKon Part Two:
Petrie Alexandra Williams, Safety Harbor Kids
Interviewed by Alyssa Bellia
Petrie Alexandra Williams is the Founding President of Safety Harbor Kids (SHK), an organization that breaks the cycle of prison, poverty and homelessness for disadvantaged children. In addition to leading outreach, fundraising and events, Petrie also uses her film and music background to enrich the learning experience of the children. She is a member of the Producers Guild of America, and inspires celebrities such as Reese Whiterspoon, Jeremy Picen, and corporations like Panavision and Tesla, to support SHK.
ReKon worked with Petrie on the recent PSA for Safety Harbor Kids. Titled “In Your Backyard,” the PSA demonstrates how SHK can sincerely make a difference and how every individual has the power to help. It truly combines the artistry of production with helping others…what could be better??
Photo by Pat Rodriguez
How does Safety Harbor Kids go about their mission of “enriching the lives of disadvantaged children through education in the area of college, career, and the arts?
SHK helps numerous orphaned and foster kids in areas from Pasadena to Santa Barbara and worldwide. Without SHK’s assistance, 80% of these kids would most likely end up homeless and over 60% would spend time in jail. To upset this depressing statistic, SHK brings disadvantaged teens to college campuses, brings them onto sets, and gives them hands on job experience. For example, some members from the show “Entourage” invited the kids to the set to learn from experts in the entertainment field. SHK also offers academic tutoring, where instructors teach on a one-to-one basis.
How can people get involved with Safety Harbor Kids?
Individuals can get involved by becoming members to sponsor a child on SHK’s website. With one of the lowest expense rate’s in the nation, this organization uses donations very effectively. Another option for helping is to donate to the gift drives for the holidays. Your donation may be the only gift these children receive all year.
As founding president of SHK how have you seen the organization grow since its inception?
In the beginning, it was a grassroots movement started with a picnic to bring the community together. The founder, John Williams, was parentless at a young age and was a driving force in founding the organization. We took the picnic to the next level by bringing programs to the homes of children and creating numerous events throughout the year. Our long-term goal is to build an arts and education center!
How have you used your background in film and music and your experience with being a member of the Producers Guild of America to further SHK’s mission?
I am able to reach out to experts in the field so that they can show, tell and give to the Safety Harbor kids. For example, the crew of “Big Love” helped with a toy drive.
Is there a story you’ve come across that really inspires you to be passionate about your work?
Anytime I can mentor a young person it is rewarding. Just being there for the kids and giving them hope can sometimes be enough to keep them from doing wrong over right. Giving them something to hang on to inspires me to continue in my work with SHK.
How did the idea form for choosing to do a PSA?
Since I was directing and producing before the charity even existed, it seemed almost natural for me to want a PSA for Safety Harbor Kids. I was involved with successful PSAs for other organizations and wanted to create one for SHK as well.
How was the pre-production stage and coming up with the PSA’s script?
Our founder came up with the script and it felt very organic because it was based on real life stories. It was hard-hitting in the way that it portrayed dramatic scenes of success and also scenes of catastrophes. There were scenes of teens getting jobs and going to school and then there were the harsh realities of jail, abduction and suicide that some disadvantages kids face. It demonstrated that without help, the lives of these children can become tragic.
How was working with actor Malcolm McDowell?
It was amazing! He superseded my expectations, and those were pretty high. He was an absolute pleasure to work with, as he is a gentleman and scholar.
Describe your experience working with ReKon Productions…
The experience was fantastic! I was thrilled to have ReKon join in the production. They really took care of us and were very detail oriented. They dotted the “I”s and crossed the “T”s. I am looking forward to possibly working with ReKon again and would recommend them to any of my friends.
More about “In Your Backyard” PSA:
Woman Film Makers Dramatic Portrayal of Real Life with Actor Malcolm McDowell Malibu, CA, More and more every day woman film makers taking executive roles in our society. You can see it in our corporate culture in business and in the cinematic arts as well – woman are taking charge. One such woman, and Producers Guild of America member, Petrie Alexandra Williams, is applying her cinematic skills to helping children in need.
Teaming with fellow PGA members Jennifer Hutchins and Marguarite Henry among others, and working through nonprofit Safety Harbor Kids serving local foster, parentless and homeless in Los Angeles, Ventura County, United States and Worldwide. Petrie has enlisted the support of screen actor Malcolm McDowell for a dramatic portrayal of teen life of orphans and foster children. Visit www.safetyharborkids.org
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