Elias Hakimian will do what it takes to benefit Huntington Beach's low-income Oak View neighborhood — even if the kids have really, really good aim.
Hakimian, the city pastor of Rock Harbor church, is among the local church leaders setting up a back-to-school carnival to raise funds for community programs. As part of the festivities, the churches are providing a dunk tank — and it's his understanding that the pastors from each congregation will take turns in the seat.
Has Hakimian, whose church launched in Huntington just over a year ago, ever been dunked before?
"No," he said, "but it's going to be a hot day, I'm sure."
However many pastors plunge into the tank Saturday, the event's overriding goal is to give a boost to a community far less privileged than most of Surf City.
Oak View, which resides in east Huntington Beach near the intersection of Slater Avenue and Nichols Street, is predominantly low-income and Latino; it has struggled recently to maintain funds for summer and after-school programs.
Iosefa Alofaituli, executive director of the community development nonprofit Oak View Renewal Partnership, said he and Janeen Laudenback, the city's superintendent of recreation, human and cultural services, conceived the event as a way of bringing together groups that have worked in Oak View for years.
Several churches, according to Laudenback, had contacted her and Alofaituli wanting to do more work in Oak View, so the two called a meeting to plan a major community event. Three churches — First Christian, Rock Harbor and Saddleback — ultimately got onboard and coordinated with residents to set up the carnival.
"It came about because the city and myself decided we wanted these churches that have been doing wonderful work for the community to get together and start a dialogue," Alofaituli said.
The carnival will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Oak View Family Resource Center and Oak View Park. The organizers request a donation for admission, which covers a barbecue lunch and more than a dozen carnival games.
In addition, the event will provide backpacks loaded with supplies for Oak View children in elementary, middle and high school. A $5 donation is requested for each elementary backpack and $10 for the higher grades.
Alofaituli said the organizers plan to divert all the proceeds back to the community, although they have yet to determine the exact recipients.
"They aren't looking to recoup any costs that they've incurred," he said. "They're looking to have the residents have some skin in the game, basically."
If You Go
What: Back-to-school carnival
Where: Oak View Family Resource Center, 17261 Oak Lane, Huntington Beach
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Cost: Requested donation
Information: (714) 596-7065