Tuesday, December 28, 2010

HOT 92.3 FM PSA for MLK Jr. Day of Service

L.A. Works MLK Jr. Day PSA by debbie-1
Josefa Salinas recorded this spot airing on HOT 92.3 FM to promote MLK Jr Day!! Listen for it in January!!! Thanks, HOT 92.3 for your generosity and support.

Used Laptop Computer & Elementary School Book Drive (until MLK Day)

Because many computers in the Rosemont Elementary School classrooms do not work well, the teachers are unable to include technology in their curriculum. They would like to incorporate laptops in their classrooms to use for classroom instruction and student use. On MLK Jr. Day of Service, volunteer corporate IT team will assess the laptops during the event and install as many as possible in each classroom. Unused laptops will be recycled.

We are also doing a book drive for MLK Jr. Day. The books should be appropriate for elementary school aged children (used or new).  Corporate volunteers will sort, prepare and set up a “free book store” which will remain on campus after the event.

If you would like to donate your used laptop or books for elementary school-aged children, L.A. Works is accepting donation prior to January 12. We're not able to arrange for any pick-ups but you can contact us at 323-224-6510 to arrange for a good time to drop off these items to our office. We're located just north of Downtown, convenient to the 5 and 110 freeways. If you are participating in MLK Jr. Day of Service with L.A. Works, you can bring your donation then as well. THANK YOU!!!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

December Volunteer Spotlight: Duncan McLean

Just this year Duncan McLean joined L.A. Works' volunteer movement. The intention to volunteer had been in the back of his mind for years, so when a project crossed his browser this summer, he decided to take the plunge. Searching L.A. Works' webpage was perfect for what Duncan was looking for… although he candidly admits he didn’t know exactly what that was. "But I knew I wanted to test the water." He felt confident that he could find a few hours in his weekend, and now was as good a time to get started as any. 

The first project Duncan checked out was the Ballona Wetlands Restoration. With a positive experience under his belt, he then took on Food Sorting at the LA Regional Foodbank, Adventures with Apes at the Gibbon Conservation Center, Angeles Forest Restoration, and Furry Fun at Friends of Animals Foundation. Although Duncan found it particularly appealing that there isn't a big time commitment to volunteer through L.A. Works, and that he could take each experience on a trial basis, he has returned to several of these projects and now volunteers weekly at Friends of Animals. "The dogs are just so excited to go out for a walk. It's sort of my thing now," he told us.

Duncan was so pleased to come across our organization that whenever he volunteers on a new project, he tells his friends about it on his Facebook page, “Not to say ‘Look at what a good dude I am’ but to help spread the word and maybe inspire my friends who’ve also thought about volunteering but haven’t done it yet. Just to show how easy, fun and rewarding it can be." Duncan continues to volunteer because he likes to be able to get "outside my own world" which includes producing and editing television documentaries and docu-reality series. When asked what keeps him busy when he’s not working, he shared, "I enjoy hiking, reading and watching movies." After pausing a moment, he added, "And now I can add volunteering to the list!"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Volunteer Spotlight: Karen Poon

Karen Poon is one of our most active and versatile Project Leaders. Karen has volunteered at 16 different L.A. Works managed projects and frequently supports us at events, committee meetings and social gatherings!! Karen is most committed to working with young people. As the leader of the Crafts with Kids @ Gramercy Place project, Karen contributes her smiling, easy-going leadership style along with fun and creative activities for youth and volunteers alike.

Below are some questions that Karen has kindly answered for us – thanks so much Karen!

1) Where were you born?
I was born in Hong Kong. I came to the U.S. for college when I was 16.

2) Most interesting fact about you?
I’m a big golf fan! I wanted to pursue a career in golf course management before I came to the U.S. I ended up playing college tennis for two years before transferring to USC.

3) Favorite thing about the project you lead?
The kids at Gramercy Place and Angel Guardian are amazing! Their smiles make my day. The kids look forward to meeting new volunteers
because they want to meet new people and learn from them. On the other hand, I look forward to seeing these kids because they have so much energy and great ideas to share with the group!

4) Top tip for leading volunteers in a project?
Be prepared :) I always bring extra supplies, just in case more kids or volunteers show up. Also, I always have a second plan, just in case some kids want to do something else.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

FUNdraiser Action Tip Sheet

Volunteer and Go Out More with L.A. Works and Goldstar!

About this partnership
L.A. Works and Goldstar both strive to build community by providing fun opportunities to be active - easy and accessible! This FUNdraising opportunity for L.A. Works will be most successful if it goes viral… but that can only happen with your support! Invite your friends, family and co-workers across the country to get access to half-priced tickets in 13 metro cities nationwide! (Boston, Chicago, DC Metro, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York, Orange County, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle.)
  Our goal:
3 months
$3 donations by Goldstar/member (FREE membership)

How YOU CAN HELP us reach this goal:

Join Goldstar for free and Goldstar will make a $3 donation to L.A. Works. Plus, they will give you an instant $5 credit to use toward your first purchase. Goldstar offers half-price tickets to theater, concerts, pro sports, comedy, family attractions and more! www.goldstar.com/support/laworks

Tweet it
Learn about 1/2-priced tickets to sports, music, and events while supporting L.A. Works' volunteers in LA! More @ http://tinyurl.com/2b43mjy

Post on your Facebook page

Learn about half-priced tickets to sports, music, and events while supporting L.A. Works, an organization that I care a lot about! More about this FREE FUNdraiser @ www.goldstar.com/support/laworks.  

Send a message to your friends (Facebook/email)

Learn about fun events and half-priced tickets to sports, music and events while supporting a cause that I care a lot about! Join Goldstar for FREE and they’ll donate to L.A. Works for each new member on www.goldstar.com/support/laworks.  L.A. Works channels the city's enormous volunteer power into an organized network, building the volunteer capacity of hundreds of nonprofits!! Please pass this message along to help us build awareness of this FUNdraiser – relevant for 13 metro areas nationwide! Thank you!!

Post on works' intranet, share in the e-newsletter and meetings
Check out this easy opportunity to learn about fun events and half-priced tickets to sports, music and family attractions, while supporting volunteers in Los Angeles! Join Goldstar for FREE and they’ll donate $3.00 to L.A. Works per new membership referral on www.goldstar.com/support/laworks.  L.A. Works channels the city's enormous volunteer power into an organized network, building the volunteer capacity of hundreds of nonprofits that impact pressing issues like education/literacy, environmental sustainability, health, HIV/AIDS hunger, homelessness, domestic violence, elder care and animal welfare.

Put it in your email signature
Join Goldstar and Build your Community! Goldstar will donate $3 to L.A. Works for every person who signs up (for FREE) @ https://www.goldstar.com/support/laworks

and don't forget...Volunteer and Go Out More with L.A. Works and Goldstar!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Dale Carnegie Training - Partners with L.A. Works!!

Dale Carnegie Training is generously supporting the L.A. community by extending skills-building development courses to  L.A. Works' volunteers and staff. We are excited to join their programs that offer people the knowledge, skills, and practices they need to add value to the organization.

 Dale Carnegie Training partners with small to large for-profit and non-profit organizations (as well as individuals), to produce measurable business results by improving the performance of people with emphasis on leadership, sales, team member engagement, customer service, presentations, process improvement and other essential management skills.  Recently identified by The Wall Street Journal as one of the top 25 high-performing franchises, Dale Carnegie Training programs are available throughout the entire United States in more than 80 countries and are available in more than 30 languages.  Dale Carnegie Training includes as its clients 400 of the Fortune 500 companies.  Approximately 8 million people have experienced the benefits of Dale Carnegie Training.  

Keep an eye out for more information and details on this partnership in the coming months!!! More about Dale Carnegie @ Dale Carnegie LA 

Monday, August 02, 2010

Volunteer Spotlight: Brian Dolen

Ever wonder who designed L.A. Works Day 2010's volunteer t-shirt, poster, and summer artwork?  Meet Brian Dolen, a graphic designer and photographer who generously donates his time and creativity to the organization’s aesthetics. He also runs and contributes to southlandtopology.com, a blog covering the outdoors, fitness and food. We caught up with Brian to learn a little more about his commitment to volunteerism, and his passion for camping and snowboarding. Notably, he has photographed for Kia Motors, Burton Snowboards, Epic Records, and Vapors Magazine.

Brian Dolen Interview by L.A. Works' intern Hestia Ragan Rojas

Is there a specific cause that you are passionate about and advocate for?
Other than L.A. Works, I contribute to two very important organizations. The Sierra Club, whose stickers you may have seen on peoples cars, and Trout Unlimited. Personally, I like that the Sierra Club has a holistic approach to advocacy. They organize small grassroots programs and huge undertakings at the same time. I think a strategy like that is what it will take to move the needle towards a more responsible global situation. Trout Unlimited is a non-profit dedicated to the conservation of freshwater habitats for fish. I support TU because I love to fish, but also because their tactics involve both saving the streams and changing the environmental legislature. I also like TU because it isn’t a bunch of green flag waving hippies trying to save some fish. It is a group of well respected people from all political parties who understand how important our fresh water aquafers are to the entire ecosystem.

Why do you think it’s important for professionals, like yourself, to volunteer in their free time?
I think it is important for everyone to volunteer in his or her free time. Especially if they are lucky enough to have time that is free! Once upon a time things like this were not even considered volunteering or advocacy. Doing the right thing and helping others was just the right thing to do all the time. A community grows together, works together and lives together to better the lives of everyone in it. That is why I like working with L.A. works, when I drive home from work I can see first hand the good they have done in my neighborhood.

How did you get started in photography and graphic design? Do you have any advice for those who wish to pursue a similar career path?
I was very lucky to have parents that supported artistic endeavors from a very early age. I do not know if I showed some kind of toddler talent or if they just threw me in art classes, but I can not remember a time when I thought I would grow up to do anything else. My advice would be just to do it, work it, live it all the time. The beauty of this day and age is that you do not need to depend on anyone else to create and promote your work. This also means you have no one else to blame when things are not going great. Make a blog, submit to other sites, do tons of work for charity and people will find you.

Your professional creative skills benefit L.A. Works immensely. Any other thoughts on how creative people can be of service?
It is pretty easy to donate time, especially in the creative services. I may not be able to work with kids on a mural for half a day on a Saturday, but I sure can squeeze in a few hours here or there for some poster or t-shirt layouts. I say just do it once. The feeling you will get when you see photos of how you helped is pretty darn good!

What’s fun about designing a t-shirt, poster or billboard for a volunteer action center?
Well, that is tricky. It is fun when you have the freedom to do anything with the design, and with volunteer work you usually do. Sometimes you have to squeeze a few too many logos in or make the logo bigger, but you just have to remember that these small sacrifices in the design help the organization raise more money and that is the overall goal.

According to your website, you really enjoy camping. What is your most memorable camping experience?
I have so many! I think each one has a special place, but there is one from my youth that we still talk about. It was a group trip, lots of Dads and lots of kids. To preface my Pops has a wicked sweet tooth. I have seen that guy house a whole bag of Chips Ahoy Cookies in a sitting. The kids were off goofing around and the Dads were around the fire shooting the “*#@!.” We had a bag of cookies on the picnic table when we left, but when we came back for them, they were gone. My brother and I immediately blamed our Dad, to which he proclaimed a raccoon came out of nowhere and ate all the cookies. To this day he is sticking to his story and we continue to blame him. We are all headed out for a family trip to Idaho soon, perhaps I will bait him with a bag and see what happens now!
Thanks for the interview and keep up the amazing work at L.A. Works!
To learn more about how you can contribute your professional skill or passion to L.A. Works, please contact reena@laworks.com

Brian showcases his photography at http://www.briandolen.com/.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

L.A. Works Day 2010 - A Great Success!!!

In celebration of the 18th Annual L.A. Works Day, over 750 volunteers revitalized the historic neighborhood of Cypress Park on Saturday, June 12th. The community-building project included beautifying three neighborhood schools, landscaping and removing graffiti from storefronts on the main Figueroa corridor, and painting a community mural on the side of the local coffee shop, Antigua
Presenting sponsor Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems' Keith Burton emceed the day, with the kick-of program including speakers: Councilmember Ed P. Reyes, First District, and Rafael González, Chief Service Officer, Office of the Mayor and Donna Bojarsky and Bob Johnson, Co-founders and Co-chairs of L.A. Works, and Michelle Scarpella, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems Vice President.

After volunteering, participants enjoyed a performance by Gustavo Galindo, a passionate singer/songwriter signed with Surco/Univeral Latino, live community mural painted by Executive Art Director and co-founder of Mictlan Murals, Raul Gonzalez, and a delicious and healthy lunch, compliments of Cinnamon Vegetarian Restaurant/Viana-Tofutown.  Additionally, community and volunteers participated in a resource fair where they learned about nonprofit resources and services available in the neighborhood and greater city of Los Angeles.

"On behalf of Aragon Avenue School, I would like to thank [L.A. Works] for your generous gift of volunteers, supplies, and Dodger tickets! Your commitment to helping students in our community is sincerely appreciated. Each year Aragon Avenue School continues to advance its mission of educating students to their highest potential. Through our programs at Aragon Avenue School we have seen many lives changed for the better," said Katie McGrath, principal Aragon Avenue Elementary School.

L.A. Works Day Statistics:
  • Thousands of children's spirits positively impacted by beautifying their schools
  • 210 gallons of paint used
  • 12 murals painted
  • 1 freeway bridge painted
  • Over half a mile of interior school hallways painted
  • 350 plants planted
  • 2 benches constructed
  • 100 mini murals painted by students/parents

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Crystal Lake Campground Revitalization

After natural disasters (fires and mudslides) struck in 2000, the Crystal Lake Campground in the Angeles National Forest was closed. Now, ten years later, this largest urban forest in the US is almost ready to be opened for public use once again... thanks to the hard work of L.A. Works volunteers from the Kehillat Israel temple in the Pacific Palisades. Nearly 50 youth and families trimmed trees, raked, cleared campsites, and painted picnic tables for the weekend, and the result was over 75 sites are now ready for use when Caltrans ensures the safety of the road leading to the campground and the Forest Service opens the park.
For more pictures, check out the album on our facebook page: www.facebook.com/laworks 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Earth Day last week already???

Wow. Almost a whole week gone since Earth Day. Time really flies when you're... working too much? :-) I'm sure you all can relate. Last week I had the opportunity to volunteer my morning and participate in LA Works Earth Day Park clean up event in Elysian Park by Dodger Stadium. I'm sure most of you reading this are aware of the financial difficulties our city is having with the budget. Parks and Recreation have taken a hit. There aren't enough workers to cover all the parks in the city anymore. Overgrowing brush, weeds, graffiti and garbage will unfortunately begin to overrun these areas without people like us pitching in to keep 'em clean. Now you say "I just don't have the time" or "I don't go to parks" and my personal favorite "That's why I pay that stupid city tax I've never had to pay anywhere else I've ever lived!". I get it. Here's an idea. Go to your employer and see if they'll sponsor a volunteer morning. See if you can get 'em to give you a morning off for you and some co-workers to come help out at an LA Works event. Good publicity for them and you get the morning off. I meet two groups just like this on last Thursday, one from Bloomberg and the other from AMC Theaters. Enough hot air from me. I'm preaching to the choir if you're reading this site. I volunteer for totally selfish reasons. I feel good when I do, I meet new people and I get to say I'm part of the solution (which give me the right to complain when there's a problem :-) Spread the word to your friends and family. Be the solution.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Toast to a Great Match! - taste delicious Spanish wines and dishes while helping out a good cause

On Wednesday, May 12 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at SLS Hotel, Wines from Spain, will partner with L.A. Works for its 17th annual Great Match: Vivacious Varietals.Tantalizing Tastes  tasting tour.  Eight of the Los Angeles-area’s most notable restaurants, including THE BAZAAR at SLS by José Andrés, will prepare signature tapas designed to show the versatility of Spanish wines with many styles of cuisine. Guests will have the opportunity to taste more than 130 current release wines, highlighting Spain’s indigenous varietals.

And the sweetest part?  Ticket proceeds from the Great Match will benefit L.A. Works, Los Angeles' premier volunteer action center that empowers Angelenos to address pressing social issues through volunteerism and community collaborations.

Make Great Match a date night or a much deserved night out on the town with your friends or co-workers! To experience a sensory and delicious evening benefiting L.A. Works, visit www.greatmatch.org to purchase $45 tickets.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Volunteer Appreciation Picnic

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen nor touched...but felt in the heart."
--Helen Keller

On April 18th, L.A. Works brought together volunteer project leaders and dedicated volunteers for a picnic as a thank you during Volunteer Appreciation Week 2010. For national volunteer appreciation week, we would like to recognize all of our volunteers who have spent time mentoring, tutoring, and visiting with at-risk children, painting and revitalizing our schools and community centers, caring for animals, visiting with the elderly, planting, gardening, trail maintenance, increasing accessibility for individuals with disabilities, and so much more. Your heart, commitment, time, and efforts are truly priceless to Los Angeles.  For more pictures, check out the album on our Facebook Fan page!

Monday, March 22, 2010

GetLA and VOTE for your favorite!

L.A. Works and Los Angeles Magazine have selected eight finalists from the many we received for the Get LA film competition. The videos are up on the LA Magazine website, click here to vote for your favorite short film to help one filmmaker win the Audience Selection award.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

WE Connect -- volunteer to help over 10,000 Angelenos

L.A. Works will be recruiting, managing, and coordinating over 500 volunteers to serve more than 10,000 at-risk Angelinos at Maria Shriver's WE Connect Event on March 26-28.  The WE Connect event will connect families with the information and tools they need to take full advantage of valuable resources, empowering them to live their dreams.

In addition to L.A. Works, partners for the day include the United Way to provide free tax preparation, the Legal Aid Society of Orange County to provide foreclosure and loss mitigation counseling, the L.A. Regional Foodbank to distribute food, and the Employment Development Department with job search and resume assistance.  Click here if you are interested in becoming a volunteer for this event.
The WE Connect event has a special need for EMT-certified volunteers. If you are EMT-certified and want to get involved with this important event, please contact Gil Gonzales.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Civic Participation

By participating in the whole of community life, in both action and civic dialogue, volunteers have the power to magnify their local and global impact. L.A. Works encourages all of our volunteers to build upon their service experience through education, conversation, and advocacy. An L.A. Works volunteer created the following Social Issue Briefs as a resource to provide brief introductions to the issues, relevant federal, state, and local policy, suggestions on where to learn more on the issue, and bi-partisan civic engagement tools on how to share your voice to the cause. Please peruse these documents and visit this page again soon too see additional briefs, ideas, and initiatives as we work to grow this resource for you.

The briefs will be available on L.A. Works website shortly but for now can be viewed:


More briefs to be posted soon... homelessness... aging/elderly...

And what would you like to see? Share your thoughts/comments here!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Let's Read, Westside - OLYMPICS session

At the first Let's Read, Westside session... We had 12 kids and about 16 volunteers, including Beth and me. The theme of the session was the Winter Olympics.  To start off the session I read aloud Curious George in the Snow to the kids.  From there the kids picked out a book and a volunteer to read with one-on-one.  After about 45 minutes, the kids returned to the room for snack (apple slices and cheese and crackers).  We then had the kids make gold medals by painting cardboard circles with yellow paint (pictured, above).  While those were drying the kids made Olympic torches out of paper and red/yellow/orange tissue paper and Olympic flags. Jared and Rashidi are pictured here (below) and there are more photos posted on our facebook page!
~ Aaron Perez, Co-Project Leader, Let's Read - Westside

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Let's Read - Aaron Perez shares why he's involved and encourages you to join him!

Let's Read - Westside is a multi-week program designed to provide the youth of Nora Sterry Elementary School and the surrounding community with the tools to help them achieve their dreams. Working individually and as a group, volunteers work with youth to strengthen their reading and comprehension skills and to show them that reading can be fun.

I found Let's Read back in September 2008 as I was browsing through the L.A. Works' postings for a program that worked with children, specifically in education. After my first session, where I read and played board games with some really cool kids, I knew the program was perfect for me. After I heard that Mike and Beth, the former project leaders, would not be able to continue running this program full-time, I was eager to help out.

The most inspiring thing about the program is after you've worked with the same child for a few weeks and start to notice improvements. You'll realize he or she is a lot more confident sounding out big words and is enjoying reading a little bit more. Most of the parents of these kids don't have the English language skills to read with their kids, so the hour we spend reading with them is really invaluable.

If you're enthusiasm for kids is as great as your love of learning, then this program is for you. I know how busy we all are and taking a part of a Saturday morning may seem daunting. With that said, I promise if you can make it to one session you will be surprised how much of a positive impact you can make in a child's life with just two hours of your time!

~ Aaron Perez, Let's Read Westside Co-Project Leader

Click HERE to learn more about the WESTSIDE Let's Read project OR HERE to learn about the PUEBLO DEL RIO Let's Read project.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Announcing the Get L.A. Short Film Contest

As we work to fulfill our mission of increasing volunteerism in L.A., we understand that building better communities starts with learning what people care about in Los Angeles. And we believe that as people begin to connect more with the ideas/issues/places that make our city great, they will further embrace why L.A. Works organizes volunteer projects focused on positively impacting the community. So, we have partnered with L.A. Magazine to offer our volunteers and supporters an opportunity to share their videos about what is loved/hated/thought about L.A. We get your thoughts on what is important in our city and you get a chance to win an exclusive VIP meeting with Hollywood executives and more!! More information about L.A. Work's Get L.A. Short Film Contest available at www.lamag.com/citythink/getla.

Monday, January 25, 2010

2010 MLK Jr. Day of Service

I can't believe a week has gone by. My name is Rob and on last Monday I volunteered on my first LA Works project. I have to start by commenting on how organized and well put together this event was. Groups were assigned to specific tasks, projects for young people were designed to teach them of Martin Luther King Jr. and his commitment to serving people and everything got done in the time alloted. Not even the rain could damper the spirit of the hundreds of people who showed up to help give Van Nuys Middle School a bit of a facelift.
Work had been a bit slow and I was spending too much time having one sided conversations with politicians on the TV, so I started looking for opportunities to use my skills to help others. I'm no stranger to service work but I haven't had a fire lit under me like this for quite a while. I started calling around to my friends tossing out ideas and planning my take over of the nonprofit world. I was going to have the idea that revolutionized service work. K. Where do I start. I'm not going to bore you with all the kookie ideas that I came up with and jump to the last. I was going to create a place online that brought attention to small non profits who needed help finding volunteers and put up a calendar of all kinds of events across Los Angeles taking place all year long so a busy person could check in when they have a day off and find a group that could use their help on that day! Yes! So, I checked in with the almighty google and found once again I'm not that original. I found LA Works. Not only had they stolen my idea, they did it in 1991 when I was in my senior year of high school in Boston. All lame jokes aside, I was a bit deflated. I had a sincere desire to serve and my ideas were running out.
It was Christmas and I was visiting the in-laws when I had a realization. My ego was getting in the way of me serving others. Why not help the organization in existence that's doing what I thought was such a good idea. I shot an email to LA Works asking if they could use a photographer at an upcoming event and the rest is history. Now you're thinking 'Where are the photographs?' As usual, when I need to get something done my life gets busy. Don't worry though. I'm almost done editing some stories and photos together and hope to have them up tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

We're Back!!!

After a brief hiatus, we've returned to the blogger-sphere to help build an even stronger volunteer Los Angeles community! In addition to sharing news and updates, highlighting volunteers, and offering interesting insights on volunteerism and civic engagement, we hope that you, our volunteers, will share your thoughts and experiences volunteering at the L.A. Works programming!

If you have one or two stories to share, please email them to Debbie at debbie@laworks.com and she will post on this blog. If you'd like to be a regular contributor, sharing your volunteer thoughts/experiences once or twice a month, please let Debbie know and she'd be happy to add you as a contributor to the site.