By Rachel Zeskind on
Look To The Stars’ Celebrity Ambassador Rachel Zeskind recently had the chance to find out about Aviation Angels, a philanthropic iniative that has a number of celebrity supporters.
What one passionate man and Hollywood can do in the heart of Los Angeles’ most gang riddled areas to make an impact on the community and the future of Compton’s youth is astounding. In fact, it is almost unbelievable that kids who had no escape from gang violence and drugs have found a safe haven, a realistic hope and a new direction for their future by just looking up to the sky.
Founder, Robin Petgrave
Robin Petgrave, a top Hollywood pilot and successful entrepreneur, changed his aeronautical course drastically after re-evaluating his dreams for the future and the future of the next generation. He had achieved the ultimate success; both financially as well as by reaching the top of his field. That’s when he decided to change his mission. Robin said ‘Why don’t I make my business helping these kids’, and that’s exactly what he has done.
He not only created an after school program – Aviation Angels, where kids ranging from 6 to 18 can use computers, learn about aviation, train as pilots, learn healthy community skills, and even have an opportunity to work towards building up a college fund – but also inspired these kids to explore and go after a whole new future, one that would have never been available to them if it weren’t for Robin and his program. Since it’s start, Robin’s program has had four teens set seven world records in aviation.
The program’s goal and message is strong and clear: to empower today’s youth. Today’s youth is faced with many hurdles such as gang and domestic violence, and many other types of dangers, which prevent them from reaching their full potential. The Aviation Angels is a group of advocates that want to help bring these children of tomorrow to a higher ground utilizing tools such as Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum and other types of positive programs that will enrich their lives.
The program is partially financed by Robin’s business, Celebrity Helicopters, which captures some of the most intense aerial shots seen on television and in films today. Turning to the Hollywood community for support, a number of celebrities joined forces with Robin to grow the after school program as well as open a museum, Tomorrow's Aeronautic Museum, which is dedicated to the history of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Celebrities such as Randy Jackson, John Schneider (Dukes Of Hazard), Michael Dorn (Star Trek), Christine Devine (Channel 11 News), Richard Gant (Rocky V, Nutty Professor, NYPD, Smallville), Frank Lozano (Producer, Director, Videographer), Justin Urik (How High), Lou Gossett Jr (Roots, Iron Eagles, The Punisher), Billy Zane (Back To The Future, Orlando, Posse), and Omarosa (Celebrity Apprentice) have pulled together in order to help these programs gain exposure as well as to roll up their sleeves and pitch in by donating their time to inspire these youngsters.
On any given day, not only do the children of Compton and the public in general have access to the museum, but the Tuskegee Airmen themselves who drop by to help carry on their legacy and history to tomorrows generations. The Tuskegee Airmen who are involved in the Tomorrows Aeronautical Museum are Otis Cowley, Levi Thornhill, Lee Archer, Col. Charles McGee, Edward Tillman, Ted Lumpkin, Burton Lowe, Jerry Hodges, Franklin Henderson, Lowell Stewart, Bob Maxwell
The Tuskegee AirmenUntil recently when both the museum and Robin’s program, Aviation Angels, gained some sponsorship from UPS, Southwest Airways and Boeing it was Robin’s own personal sacrifices that kept the lights on and the propellers spinning. Now, little by little, with the support of Hollywood and the Tuskegee Airmen, not only are lives changed everyday but also the program continues to grow despite all the odds.
For more information on Robin, the Tuskegee Airmen, Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum and these programs visit:
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