By Ken Williams | Editor
North Park businessman Anthony Bollotta has become a passionate advocate for the health and welfare of children, because as a boy he witnessed child abuse against some of his young relatives. For the past decade, he has been involved in various roles with Home Start, a local nonprofit agency focused on child abuse prevention and treatment.
Bollotta and other Home Start volunteers are busy preparing for the 10th annual Hallo-Wine Fall Festival fundraiser, scheduled from 3-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at the historic Burnham House, 3565 Seventh Ave. in Hillcrest.
Held every October in recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Hallo-Wine Fall Festival raised money for Home Start and its programs that provide critical assistance to vulnerable children and families throughout San Diego County. Guests enjoy boutique wines, craft beer, hand-crafted liquors and gourmet hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $65 and include a $10 Lyft voucher. Call 619-692-0727, ext. 144 for tickets or more information.
Here are five questions with Anthony Bollotta:
1. Why have you become such a loyal supporter of Home Start, and what is its mission?
Children are why I’m an avid supporter, and every one of the 75,000 abused children here in San Diego County count as one of the many reasons I remain committed to Home Start. It’s upon them that Home Start’s vision is firmly focused and its mission, solidly placed.
Home Start’s vision is for every child to have a safe, stable, nurturing home. Home Start’s mission is to assure the safety and resiliency of children by strengthening families and their communities.
You see, once upon a time, I was a child myself. I wasn’t abused, but I do remember how it felt to crave love and yearn for approval. And I do remember a certain uncle who had a belt and a penchant for using it. He made me shiver. His own children, my cousins, are still living out the effects of their excruciating childhood.
Child abuse is egregious. No matter the form it takes, it turns kids into victims and its impact is life-altering. Home Start is tackling child abuse with comprehensive services to attend to the physical scars, treat the emotional scars, and eliminate or mitigate the conditions that lead to it in the first place.
Home Start is saving children. I want to be a part of that, even if only in the relatively small way I am.
2. What roles have you played with Home Start, past and present?
I have served on Home Start’s board for about 10 years now, taking on the role of board chair from 2010 to 2012. Currently, I also serve as chair of the Thrift Boutique Committee, our consumer-facing retail boutique in Normal Heights that employs Home Start Maternity Shelter Program clients, and as a member of the Resource Development Committee.
3. What other nonprofits and organizations do you support, and why?
Although Home Start receives the lion share of what little time, treasure and talent I have to offer, causes that impact human rights, and raise funds for health-related issues remain compelling to me. Among them, the Human Rights Campaign, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Vista Hill, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
I’ve also maintained a long-time love affair with live theater and have recently become a supporter of La Jolla Playhouse. The theater, based on the campus of UC San Diego, not only gives voice to previously unheard artists and ideals, but also provides educational outreach, and opportunities for those to experience live theater who might not otherwise.
Lastly, I think, I am one of several volunteer cantors at the Mission San Diego de Alcala, charged with singing specific passages within the liturgy as well as leading the congregation in song. This year marks my 24th at the mission.
4. On a professional level, what do you do?
I am the president of Bollotta Entertainment, a licensed talent agency located in Bankers Hill providing creative entertainment and production services to the global meetings and events industry. Within our offices, I manage a staff of six, as well as my own portfolio of business.
When on the road with a client, I serve the role of producer, ensuring all planned entertainment and presentation-related activities flow smoothly and seamlessly. This includes production design and execution, technical direction and management, speaker support, cuing, direction, and content (speech, video and presentation) creation.
I also create theatrical shows, parodies and costume performances on commission, having put my theater degree to use for such clients as Showtime, Qualcomm, Petco, Hewlett Packard, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, El Cajon Performing Arts Center, and a host of other private and corporate clients.
5. What do you like about living in North Park?
What’s not to like about living in North Park? Forbes counts us among the top 13 hipster neighborhoods in America!
OK, I will admit that when I first moved to San Diego in 1991, North Park was not the mecca that it is today. In fact, I rarely ventured east of Park Boulevard.
These days, venturing east of Park Boulevard is where it’s happening — eateries, shops, galleries, craft-beer and wine bars abound, and sidewalks are bustling.
Just feet from our home lies not one but several fields of dreams at Morley Field, as well as bocci ball courts, tennis courts, the Bud Kearns Pool, a dog park, and acres of grassy knolls to do anything or nothing at all.
Let’s not forget the community. Within our little North Park enclave, we enjoy the company of terrific neighbors on a frequent basis at a little something we call First Fridays. Potlucks that always include engaging conversation and laughter, they make North Park feel like my childhood home. What could possibly be better than that?
Sara is the editor of San Diego Uptown News.