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Founder, Studio Penny Lane
Conrad Morales was raised in the low-income projects of L.A., and became a victim of his environment and himself. He grew up into a life of drugs, a demon he was never able to conquer, surrounded by gangs and violence. At 23 he found himself in prison in the United States, later to be deported to Mexico. Not permitted to re-enter the United States, Conrad’s four children were shuffled between their mother, relatives, and foster homes. Two of Conrad’s sons, Conrad Jr.-13, and Ricky-11 were placed in the care of an Aunt and Uncle on their mother’s side, Raul and Cathy Sarinana.
What followed was gross abuse, brutal beatings and ultimately the gruesome deaths of Conrad Jr. and Ricky. The Sarinana’s were charged with murder with a special circumstance of torture and eventually sentenced to the death penalty. The death of his two children haunted Conrad for the remainder of his life. He was never able to escape the heartbreak, the pain, and the responsibility. He realized how his childhood had contributed to this senseless circle. Too often self-medicated to escape the relentless pain, Conrad worked in the final year of his life to reach a place of forgiveness for the choices he had made when young that ultimately placed his children in harm’s way.
Despite his history, Conrad was a person of a pure heart, and, as a boy, he believed he was worthy and meant to do something meaningful. Before his death, there were many conversations about what could have changed his life and given him the tools to be aware he did have choices. Before his passing he realized if he could have only stopped, before he acted, to understand the consequences of his actions, his life and those of his children would have been vastly different. After Conrad’s death, Laurie conceptualized Studio Penny Lane as an effort to help others avoid the fate of Conrad and his children. Laurie’s vision, to empower children to choose a path that coincides with their true nature, one of compassion and kindness, was Conrad’s gift and blessing
Check out a bit more about our history from our most recentTedx Talk