Many of you know the story of how Brat Pack 11 was founded but for those of you who don't know, here's the story.
At 11 years old, my father, MAJ(ret) Hall, deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. Once my dad arrived there, he met Julia and Eva's father, CPT Rob Yllescas. Unfortunately, their father did not make it back. I immediately wanted to do something for them once I found out. So at 11 years old, I raised money through family, friends and local businesses to send them to Disneyland. After getting pictures back and seeing how happy they were, I wanted to continue to do more for other Military Brats of wounded and fallen soldiers. Ever since then, I have been working to do just that. I now have my own 501c3, my website (bratpack11.com) is up and running, and I'm building and continuing to build my team of Board Members and Celeb Ambassadors.
Now, that both Eva(7) and Julia(14) were older, they were beginning to feel the hole left behind by the loss of their father. After learning how they were still struggling with the loss of their father, I emailed their mother, Dena, to ask if they were able to have one wish what would it be. I learned that Taylor Swift was their Idol and that Girl Meets World was their favorite show! I immediately got to work! A few weeks later I received an email that a radio station in San Diego called, KSON, wanted to interview me! I may have dropped T-Swizzle's name in a few times hinting that if someone wanted to hook us up with some meet and greets that would be incredible! Fast forward to August, I received an email that KSON was able to get their hands on meet and greets and tickets and that they would love to help me out with a wish grant! Get this, the concert was in two weeks! So what does one do on a time crunch? Gather the incredible BP11 Board Members together and start planning. I remembered that Dena also mentioned that the family were huge fans of Girl Meets World and she watched Boy Meets World growing up. A few weeks before this all happened, I was able to get in contact with the production of Girl Meets World about helping us out with wish grants in the future. They were so incredible and gave us upcoming dates that we could bring people by. It just so happened that one of the dates was the day before the Taylor Swift concert! The stars couldn't have aligned any better. I was truly grateful for their generosity. Alright, enough of me rambling. Let's get to the exciting stuff.
But the very next day, we were up bright and early to meet everyone at the KSON Radio Station. The girls were informed that they might have to talk about Brat Pack 11 a little bit and that we would use the audio in our "campaign video", but the girls had no clue what was about to go down. The BP11 team, Julia's family, and mine all piled into the studio. The radio interview started and just a few minutes in, the girls were handed an envelope and asked to open it. BAM! They found out they're meeting Taylor Swift! Julia was in COMPLETE shock, she wasn't sure what to say! Eva on the other hand, was ready to get out of there and to the concert! Unfortunately, she would have to wait just one more day!
After, we headed to breakfast at the Corner Bakery Cafe in Mission Valley. Quick shutout to the AMAZING customer service, management, and our sweet waitress for treating our group to breakfast. They even set our table with a bunch of cute and yummy goodies.
On our way out I told the girls that I heard that they were interested in acting and we were taking them to a REAL TV show set in Hollywood to see some things being filmed! Julia's face lit up with excitement and Eva was super excited as well! Although, Eva was a little confused as to where Hollywood was. Once we explained that all of her favorite Disney actors filmed their shows there, she was even more excited than before! So we hopped into the car and started driving to the set of Girl Meets World!
Once we arrived, we met our incredible tour guide, Laurel! We started making our way into the building and passed multiple TV and movie posters hanging up in the hallways. All of the sudden I hear, "GIRL MEETS WORLD!" from Eva as we passed the GMW's poster. Everyone looked at each other with huge grins on their faces because we knew these girls were in for a big surprise! We made our way into the Girl Meets World classroom and there was Rowan Blanchard (Riley Matthews) and Corey Fogelmanis (Farkle) waiting on our arrival! The girls were in COMPLETE shock and they didn't know what to say! Rowan and Corey were incredibly sweet and greeted us with big hugs. Then we opened another door that led us into another classroom. There, Ben Savage (Corey Matthews), was casually sitting in a bean bag going over his script. Sabrina Carpenter (Maya Hart) and Peyton Meyer (Lucas Friar) were sitting at some of the tables. As we walked in, they immediately got up and greeted us all! They were all so kind and were so sweet to the girls! Dena was also incredibly excited to meet Ben Savage because she has been a HUGE fan of Boy Meets World for many years. I mean, personally, I couldn't complain either. My cousin, Stevie, got me into the show when I was 10 and we had plenty of binge watching BMW sessions since. (On the inside I was acting calm and pretending like the little girl inside of me wasn't ready to jump out and scream COREY, TOPANGA, ERIC, FA-FA-FA-FEEEENY, SHAWN, MINKUS. But my cool was kept and my adult-like mature attitude was turned on. I hope.)
We then met up with August Maturo (Auggie Matthews) and his little brother, Ocean, who took a liking to Miss Eva! As you can see above, they were holding hands throughout the visit! We visited all of the sets, the prop room, learned all about what goes into making this show a reality, we watched rehearsals of the episode, and met all of the cast! Some orginial BMW cast members even showed up! Such as,Rider Strong (Shawn Hunter), Will Friedle (Eric Matthews), Lee Norris (Stuart Minkus), and William Russ (Alan Matthews)! How crazy is that?!
Right after the set visit, we went to dinner at Buca Di Beppo. Thank you to the INCREDIBLE management, customer service, and waitors/waitresses for treating us to dinner! We had such an amazing time and the food was so good. Our Celeb Ambassador and Awareness Director, Cody Saintgnue, joined us as well!
Day 2: Taylor Swift Concert
Need I say more?!
The girls were so nervous to meet Taylor, but came out super giddy afterwards! The concert was incredible and the girls had a blast. We were dancing and screaming to Taylors songs all night long! Check out Eva rocking out to T-Swift at the concert here.
Getting to meet the Yllescas family after so many years of keeping in touch with them on Facebook was truly incredible. I know it especially meant a lot to my dad to meet Rob's girls!
It was an amazing few days for the family, filled with laughs, smiles, and a lot of happy tears! The Brat Pack 11 knows one thing for sure, that these memories will last for a lifetime for the Yllescas family. We are so happy that Julia and Eva had such a great time and feel blessed that we were able to help make their dreams come true!
Julia and Eva are now even more inspired to pursue singing and acting after this trip! They are both so incredibly talented and the Brat Pack 11 team knows they have a bright future ahead of them.
Want to help grant a wish to a Military Brat in need? Donate on our website today!
-Brat Pack 11 Founder-