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OCCTAC News - July 2021

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

Thank You To The Torello Family

(Photo of James taken in 2010, courtesy of the Torello family)

On May 31, OCCTAC received a generous donation from the Richard Ciolek-Torello family in memory of their son, James Brandon Ciolek-Torello. This donation of a complete DJ system came with two beat machines and a synthesizer with all the accessories to perform in a live event. This kind and generous donation will expand our Media Arts department by offering a new DJ class for the upcoming fall 2021 semester!

James was born on August 16, 1989, in Phoenix, Arizona and spent his earliest years in Tucson before moving to Anaheim in 1994. He went to school at Imperial Elementary, El Rancho Jr. High, and Canyon H.S. before getting his High School diploma at Santiago Jr College. As a young boy, he was passionate about baseball and played in Little League all the way from T-ball to Senior League. While in high school, he also developed an interest in electronic music. Over the years he acquired a great variety of audio equipment and spent countless hours, late into the night working on his music. He was pursuing a degree as a sound engineer at Fullerton College before he passed away on Dec. 24, 2016. OCCTAC is extremely grateful to the Torello family for this generous gift, and we will honor James Brandon Ciolek-Torello’s memory in our Media Arts program by teaching and empowering our “at-promise” youth to pursue their dreams in life.


Thank You Helping Hands Of

Orange County

Revathy Ravi and her friends were looking for people that they could help in Orange County on a regular basis. As believers in the healing arts, the friends found themselves asking, “what else can we do?” They began simply in 2012 by cooking meals for a local women’s shelter once a month. As word got out and more women asked to join their group, they named themselves “Helping Hands of Orange County.” The group grew and wanted to do even more, and that is when Revathy remembered a place called Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center where her son volunteered in high school. “I was impressed by Dr. Ana even then,” said Revathy. She contacted Dr. Ana Jimenez-Hami and offered to donate supplies to whichever program was in need. At the time, that was our Early Childhood Education program, and Helping Hands of Orange County began donating snacks and crafts supplies, often stopping by on Saturday to drop off donations and see our students enjoying classes.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, Helping Hands of Orange County had to refrain from dropping off supplies to OCCTAC and other groups they usually donated to. They instead began donating money, and last month were able to donate $726 to our Family Mentoring Program! “It is our pleasure and honor to support and be a part of all the worthy causes that are run by your organization,” said Revathy recently. OCCTAC is so very grateful to Revathy and her friends at Helping Hands of Orange County for being our dear and faithful community partners. We are inspired by you!

(Parent and child reading together in Early Childhood program. Snacks and supplies provided by Helping Hands of Orange County)


Yep Participant Finds His Calling In The Media Arts Department

Emiliano Aguillion is a participant in our Youth Employment Program (YEP) who found his true calling as an intern with our Media Arts department this summer. Arline Dominguez, YEP Coordinator, stated: “Emiliano expressed interest in a lot of different areas, but his tech skills were a hidden talent. He’s doing a great job in his school courses, and he does remarkable work. He reached out to me for more hours and more learning, he has been great!” Our Media Arts program Coordinator, Randy Ruiz stated: “Emiliano was one of my former students, and he was actually one of the best students I’ve ever had! He has been putting together some awesome content recently. I had him in my video production class, where he mastered Final Cut Pro and is now transitioning into Canva.”

According to Randy, Emiliano was able to pick up on so much that he even started helping him with some of internal tech issues at the center. “Emiliano has been very essential to our department with handling tech issues, troubleshooting the computers and some of the software. He is now what I call a video production ninja. He does everything, he is the one-man band. His work speaks for itself.” Emiliano gave a positive endorsement for the intern program and working at OCCTAC: “I would definitely recommend being an intern at OCCTAC to my friends, especially if you have self-confidence problems. They really encourage you.”

L-R: Emiliano Aguillon and Randy Ruiz at work, photo courtesy of Mark Dimalanta


Upcoming Events & Workshops



Preparatory Arts Academy 2021

Fall Registration

Classes for our amazing Preparatory Arts Academy are open for registration now! Studio Arts, Dance, Music, Media Arts and more! Call us or visit our website for more information on how your students can be part of the OCCTAC dream!

OCCTAC: 714.547.5468




OCCTAC’s Youth Employment Program is accepting applications! Santa Ana youth between the ages of 16-24 years old interested in gaining paid work experience, job training, and educational assistance are welcome to apply. For more information about the program and requirements please call the OCCTAC at (714)547-5468 and ask to speak with a Youth Employment Program staff member. Meetings are currently taking place by appointment only.


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Become a Donor

Did you know that when you donate, you are improving your own health as well? A study by the University of Oregon found that donating activates the pleasure center in your brain. Voluntary donations are especially pleasurable and improve your happiness, joy, and contentment! OCCTAC is forever grateful to our Supporters and Community Partners! Their donations and support continue to help our Arts Center grow and bring opportunities to our families and community, and you can be part of this as well!

Please help OCCTAC by sharing our Social Media links, liking our page, sharing our events and donating to our center! Find out how by clicking on the link below:

Donate with Amazon Smile!

You can help OCCTAC today by donating money, choosing to donate on a recurring basis, or by designating “Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center” as your charity when purchasing through Amazon via their Amazon Smile program at Here are the simple steps to designate OCCTAC as your charitable organization to receive a portion of the purchase price:

  1. On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select “Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts” to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at will result in a donation.

  2. If you already use Amazon Smile for another charity, you can change your charity to "Orange County Therapeutic Arts" on your Amazon Smile home page. ​

We appreciate you and your continued support of OCCTAC’s mission to provide innovative, artistic, educational and therapeutic programs that inspire and transform children, at-risk youth, adults and their families to fulfill their highest potential.

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