Community Profile: Silicon Beach Parents Group looks to bring families together for events and giving back

When Gabrielle D’Addario, an outgoing, energetic mother of two, moved from Playa del Rey to Playa Vista, she was eager to join an organization that would bring together families from all over the area for social events and activities. When she encountered many groups that were specifically for Playa Vista residents only, however, D’Addario got to work creating a community group that would bring families from neighboring communities within the Silicon Beach area, including Playa del Rey, El Segundo, Culver City, Westchester, Venice and Santa Monica, together with families in her new Playa Vista neighborhood. D’Addario approached Playa Vista Community Services, pointing out the potential growth the community could see by interacting more closely with other local neighborhoods through engaging family events. She says Playa Vista was extremely receptive to her vision, allowing her to experiment with different ideas. The result was the creation of the Silicon Beach Parents’ Group (and Facebook page), a community organization designed to unite families in the Silicon Beach area through entertaining events, exchanging of invaluable resources and giving back to community members in need.

Since D’Addario created the group in August of 2016, its accompanying Facebook group has garnered more than 1,000 members from the community, who post about a host of topics including local family events, childcare, education options and local news.

During the same time D’Addario began putting together the parents’ group, she joined Club Momme, a local parent lifestyle organization run by Mom.me as the community director. As she began organizing events for the Silicon Beach Parents’ Group, she partnered with Club Momme, enabling her to expand her relationships with large companies such as Whole Foods, which eventually helped her build an extensive network to bring on board to her own group.

“It was a great opportunity for me to tell these brands, ‘Listen, these local families are your target demographic, and that’s who you want to get your product in front of,’” D’Addario says.

As several brands began supplying her with products, D’Addario was able to assemble gift bags for events, which included items ranging from gift cards to restaurants such as 800 Degrees Pizza, nursing pillows and passes to clubs like Wondertree Kids in El Segundo.

Since the group’s creation, D’Addario has been able to host several events in Playa Vista, including a community fashion show, cooking class, picnic and more. This month, the group has two events scheduled including a Friendsgiving Celebration and a CryptoCurrency Social Mixer.

“People love getting together, enjoying each other, and really just being thankful for having great friends,” D’Addario said of the “Friendsgiving” event.

Aside from pairing with larger companies, D’Addario has also been able to partner with local nonprofits, helping spread the word about the organizations and holding drives for them to get the supplies they need. For last year’s Friendsgiving, D’Addario partnered with Sore Feet Saviors, a Los Angeles based nonprofit that helps create meaningful opportunities for homeless families. During the holiday season, the group’s founder and executive director, Jess Echeverry, looks to the community for donations to give the families she serves. For the Friendsgiving event, D’Addario reached out to her network asking for donations of diapers, toys, clothes and sleeping bags. Raffle tickets were given out for each item donated, which could be exchanged for special giveaways, supplied by companies D’Addario partnered with for the event.

“People like Gabrielle are our angels,” Echeverry says. “When we connect with someone like her, the resources are abundant, and we can help so many more families. That’s how we’ve been doing it, and it’s been working.”

In honor of the group’s one year anniversary, D’Addario recently arranged the Silicon Beach Fashion Show at Playa Vista’s Concert Park, where families hit the stage to showcase children’s fashion brands such as Catimini and Little Unicorn. The event was held to support the Harvest Home, a Santa Monica-based volunteer-run organization that supports homeless pregnant women by providing them with shelter and programs that prepare them for motherhood. After finding out what supplies the group felt they were lacking, D’Addario used the group’s Facebook page to spread the word about the event, asking members to donate baby wipes. D’Addario was thrilled when donations of wipes, clothing and more began pouring in. Companies, including LilleBaby and Paige Lauren, also donated baby carriers, baby caps, baby bottles and more.

Next up for the Silicon Beach Parents Group is a CryptoCurrency Social Mixer on Tuesday, November 14 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Their annual Friendsgiving event will be held on Saturday, November 18.

Though the 2018 schedule is tentative, D’Addario’s plans for early in the year include a community picnic and barbecue and a Spring Shower– a large baby shower for expecting families or families with children.

“I’m hoping that this event brings more people into the Playa Vista community,” D’Addario says.

While D’Addario hopes to grow her group, she wants to make sure it stays true to its goal of promoting community bonding, friendship, supporting worthwhile causes and giving back.

“At this point, I’m keeping it a fun community group that’s a hobby for me,” D’Addario says. “It’s a great way for me to stay involved in the community, do great things for the community and teach my kids how to be involved in the community.”

If you are a parent who would like to get involved in the Silicon Beach Parents’ Group or are interested in the group’s upcoming events, please visit facebook.com/groups/siliconbeachparents.

By Sarah Ahern. Posted November 2017.