Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory is a unique facility that combines both work and play. It's the set of professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek's reality MTV show, but it also serves as an indoor skating plaza, an office complex and a recording studio.
Due to the generous donation of Tiger Woods Foundation volunteer and donor Andrew Varela, 15 TWLC high school students were invited to tour the Fantasy Factory in Los Angeles. Varela purchased the tickets at a Tiger Jam benefit event, only to donate it back to Learning Center students.
An entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Varela has a simple philosophy for success.
"I believe in getting people prepared for what they are going to do. You need a good balance of everything."
Varela considers Dyrdek to be his hero. Dyrdek was a professional skateboarder from the age of 18 to 32. He is also an entrepreneur who has two shows on MTV with a third currently in production.
"When I went to visit the Learning Center, I was impressed that the school allowed the kids to dive into what they loved," Varela said. "I thought allowing them to see what an entrepreneur like Rob does was a great fit."
As a former Southern California resident, Varela used to spend time at the Learning Center.
"I practiced golf with the kids, played ball, volunteered and also made financial donations," he said. "It allowed me to combine my two passions, which are golf and teaching kids career skills."
Now in Phoenix, Varela made time to visit the Fantasy Factory with the TWLC students.
"I had a flight at 6 a.m.," he said. "Landed in L.A. and met the kids there. Then at the end of the day, I hopped on a flight back to Phoenix."
The handful of students chosen to attend the Fantasy Factory outing were not picked at random. They were selected based on academic standing, volunteering/community service and good standing at the Learning Center.
"The Fantasy Factory was awesome!" high school senior Edgar Perez said. "We skateboarded on ramps, jumped in the foam pit, were fed Domino's pizza and got a tour of the entire factory. My favorite part was when we walked across a shaky bridge to the Factory's 'crow's nest.' It's where the cameramen film their shots. You could see the entire factory from up there. Andrew was really cool. He brought along a friend who skateboarded with us."
The students were also given free T-shirts, stickers and tickets to an upcoming skateboarding competition. Thank you, Andrew Varela, for your generous donation. The kids all had an experience they'll never forget!