Monday, March 14, 2011

We've Moved Blogs!!!

To make volunteering as easy and accessible as possible, we've updated our website technology... now, L.A. Works' website has a whole new look, feel, and functionality. All our blog posts are updated in real-time on our new website (still at However, this feature wasn't compatible with blogspot so we had to switch over to wordpress. You can find our new blog at!!

Friday, February 04, 2011

L.A. Works Service Awards

As a nod to the Oscars in our own backyard, L.A. Works is calling for nominations of our volunteer community’s own… before February 25th, post on facebook or email the name of your nominee and reason for why they deserve the service oscar for the following categories:
* best actor/actress in a leading role (project leaders),
* best actor/actress in a supporting role (volunteer participants), and
* best picture (community partner organization).

We’ll announce the winners in our March newsletter (winners will receive a free sweet courtesy of the Corner Bakery)!

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!

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

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 @  

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  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  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) @

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, 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

Brian showcases his photography at

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