Anybody who's ever eaten pizza understands the last slice quandary, in which you're left wondering whether you should really, really eat one more slice. Lucky you, 17-year-old Alexandra Ventura is giving you the perfect reason to have another slice, even another whole pizza, with a pizza fundraiser that will not only help get her to college, but continue the teenager's mission to help her parents, a then-teenage-mom and a father in prison, raise Ventura's five younger siblings.
Recently, Ventura was hired to work at Bob and Judy Fox's new Whittier location of Papa Murphy's — a take 'n' bake pizza company, where pizzas are purchased unbaked and taken home to create a home-baked pie.
Ventura met the Fox family a little over five years ago when Judy and Ventura's mother worked together in the same ophthalmologist's office. Impressed by how mature Ventura was for a then-12-year-old, Judy developed a friendship with her and, over the next five years, became a strong roll model.
When Bob and Judy began planning the grand opening event for their Papa Murphy's, they realized that they had a unique opportunity to help Ventura. During its June 13 through 19 grand opening celebration, the new pizza place will be donating two dollars from every pizza sale to Ventura's college fund.
When Ventura graduates from high school and moves onto college, she will be defying a million statistics. Born to a 14-year-old mother and a father who has been serving time in prison since she was four-years-old, Ventura was forced to grow up quickly. As a high school junior, Ventura is now working 16-hour days in order to help support her mother and her five younger siblings, who range in age from one to 13. Through it all, Ventura has prioritized her education and has been an honor student from elementary school through her junior year.
“When we had the opportunity to give back to somebody,” said Judy, “Alexandra came to mind as somebody that we would want to help.”
Ventura hopes to pursue a career in cosmetology, a goal that she may not have been able to achieve without the financial contribution from the fundraiser. “I was actually speechless when [Bob and Judy] told me what they were doing for me,” said Ventura. “I didn't know what to say, I was just so grateful.”
The Foxes hope that they can make this college scholarship fundraiser an annual event, with a new student recipient every year. Having hired a young staff of mostly high school and college students, the couple looks forward to pulling next year's recipient from their pool of Papa Murphy's employees.
The customized-to-your-liking, uncooked pizzas will be available for purchase all day from June 13 to 19 at 14382 Whittier Blvd, Whittier. Additional donations to help Ventura are also welcome.
Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.