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Claire Risoli

Donor Spotlight >> 

Claire Risoli – Pocha LA

I absolutely love what Pretend City is doing. I’ve known Nelma on the Pretend City board since Middle School. I know how passionate she is about Pretend City, and I really trusted her recommendation.  When I received the proposal to have a Pocha pretend café and saw the goal, I got excited about getting behind it. It seemed like such a fun opportunity to contribute. I learned life is a lot more fun when I say yes. I sponsored the café change over because I was excited to see the pretend version come to life and the kids really brought it to life.  

I know the power of a lot of people doing a little bit and the compound effect is a lot of bit. I like how we are teaching kids about diversity, equity, culture through food and really that encompasses what Pocha is about. There was a lot of synergy and it’s a fun way to contribute.   

In 2019, I put my restaurant Pocha on my vision board. Since I love food and entertaining people, I decided to build a brand around a dining experience. I’m now looking at a second location. I’m having fun. Pocha feeds my soul and Pocha feeds people souls. When I see the kids at Pretend City playing, I can tell that their souls are getting fed. 

When we did the opening of the Pocha café at Pretend City, there was a little girl named Mia. I just loved how engaged Mia was with the Pocha experience and how much fun she was having with it.  She was in her own little world. We all need to do more about being in our own little worlds. The opening was more fun than I imagined. There was a lot of energy, and it was truly buzzing. It was so great to see the kids playing.  They really brought Pocha to life. 

The most important work Pretend City does is to cultivate an environment where kids can use their imagination. Because Pocha for me started out in my imagination I think it’s so important. Big things start out by envisioning them first. I used to pretend I was a waitress and a cook when I was a little girl. I loved serving my grandpa pretend food.   

I wish everyone knew that Pretend City existed. If you’re not local, it’s definitely worth taking a day to explore. They have so many resources for your kids to learn, play and explore that don’t cost an arm and a leg. 

  I am grateful for the opportunity to share and give back.  Thank you for all Pretend City does for kids and business owners.

Claire Risoli – Pocha LA

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