Pasadena Police Activities League Honors Robert and Maggie Shahnazarian at Golden Badge Awards Thursday

Published : Wednesday, March 27, 2019 | 5:21 AM

For devotion to their community which goes far beyond mere business, Robert and Maggie Shahnazarian will be the honorees at the 17th annual Police Activities League Golden Badge Awards Dinner on Thursday, March 28.

“They’re known for helping out the community in different ways,” said Barbara Baptie, president of the board of directors of PAL. “They’re good people and they hold a lot of non-profit and community events at their restaurant.”

The Shahnazarians own the restaurant and multicultural event venue Noor in Paseo Colorado, with a mission to bring people together.

“My wife always had an idea of doing an event space that catered to cultures,” Robert said. So when he thought the time was right in his career, he went back to get his MBA at Pepperdine and pursue a new dream.

“Through that program, I came to find Pasadena had more non-profits than anywhere in the country so I knew a big part of our mission and vision statement had to do with doing something for the community,” Shahnazarian said.

The PAL fundraiser was held last year at Noor and it will be again this year. This time the Shahnazarians get more than just the booking, they get top honors, too.

President Baptie has been on the board of PAL since 2014. PAL has been in existence since 1997 and the Golden Badge Awards premiered in 2002. This year, Phillip Palmer of KABC7 will emcee.

The PAL program is popular and there’s a waiting list of more than 150 families hoping to get their kids in, said Officer Eddie Bondarczuk, the Program Director. PAL is a year-round program for boys and girls aged 9-17, that accomplishes many things.

In addition to giving kids a fun yet purpose-driven place to go, the Pasadena Police Department employs college students as youth advisors to mentor and tutor the PAL kids. The program picks the kids up from school and brings them to the Salvation Army Tabernacle. They have a mandatory 30 minutes of homework, and if they need help, they turn for tutoring to the youth advisors.

And in addition to celebrating those who are important to the community, the Golden Badge serves another purpose.

“After the gala hopefully we’ll be able to upgrade our recreational room, get new games, replace the worn equipment that we have and make it a better environment for the kids to enjoy,” Bondarczuk said. “We have the gymnasium, we have sporting equipment and it’s kind of free play. The kids that are selected either go to school in Pasadena, they live in Pasadena or their parents work in Pasadena.”

“The reason for PAL is to get the kids off the street but to build a better relationship between the youth and the police so the youth don’t think the police officers are all bad people,” Baptie said.

“There was a group of PAL kids that came to talk to us for student government studies,” Baptie said. “And when they were done I raised my hand and asked ‘How old are you guys?’ They said 12 or 13, but they acted like they were 18 or 19.”

“I just know when I go to the PAL center, everyone seems happy, they’re involved and they want to help each other out,” Baptie said. “It’s a very involved program and I believe it does help that the kids see the officers as real people.”

The Golden Badge Awards will include dinner as well as silent and live auctions featuring an array of wonderful items and experiences. Cocktails will begin at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

To support Pasadena PAL, sponsorship opportunities are available. Tickets are $175 each and can be purchased on the Pasadena PAL website. For more information or to purchase raffle tickets in advance, call Jill Hawkins at (626) 791-1225 x 701.

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