Noe Valley Voice June 1999

Juice It! to Juice up James Lick

By Kathryn Guta

If you drop by Juice It! before June 10, you can do something good for kids that may be good for your body as well. While you swig down your fruit and vegetable smoothies, you can bolster some sagging educational enrichment programs at James Lick Middle School on Noe Street.

Tom Burwell and Dave Allen, owners of the juice bar at 24th and Sanchez streets, are donating 5 percent of their register receipts from May 10 until June 10 to the kids at James Lick. (Customers should drop their receipts in the box marked "James Lick.")

The way Tom and Dave look at it, they are giving back to a community that has given them a profitable business for the past three years. These two young business partners, both age 30, are former international tennis pros. Playing on grass at Wimbledon and on dirt in Africa, they competed in over 20 countries in four years. Juicing fruits and vegetables became a way of staying healthy in countries where food and hygiene standards were sometimes dubious.

When Tom and Dave decided to hang up their tennis rackets in 1996, they naturally turned to juicing as a new career path. Translating the discipline and hard work of the tennis court into an energetic work ethic, they bounced into small business on highly competitive 24th Street.

Their mission statement was simple: Make work a big party where everyone is invited. Their success has traveled across the Bay to Berkeley and down the peninsula to Los Gatos, where new Juice It! bars have sprung up in the past three years.

Raw energy was evident on Saturday, May 10, when the Juice It! owners and store manager Matt Brown kicked off the James Lick fundraiser with yellow balloons for all. The juice queues were long, but patrons didn't seem to mind as they chatted, listened to driving rock music, and enjoyed a chair massage with masseuse John Elke.

James Lick parent Celia Magtoto rejoiced in the efforts of Tom and Dave to help make the school's programs succeed. "It takes a lot of work to raise a small amount of money for the schools," she said. "Some parents have taken out loans so that their kids can go on these educational trips."

Monica Magtoto was also happy for the boost. This sixth-grader will participate in a field trip to the banks of the Nile in June, partly as a result of the extra help from Tom and Dave.

Fellow Lick student Michael Lathrop, age 12, enjoys playing baritone horn in the band. Nawal Wahhab, age 11, is an actress who wants to continue performing in skits and plays at school. Some of the Juice It! receipts will go toward purchasing new band instruments and funding arts and music projects.

According to Celia Magtoto, many language arts enrichment programs are on the chopping block as the school budget gets tighter and tighter.

Tom and Dave hope to expand their fundraising efforts to form a Juice It! Foundation, which will help support all Noe Valley schools. They say it takes a village to raise a child. And in this case, it's easy to lend a hand: Just drink your juice!