A Place Called Home provides a safe, nurturing environment with proven programs in arts, education and wellness for the young people in South Central Los Angeles to help them improve their economic conditions and develop healthy, fulfilling and purposeful lives.
Volunteer: Mike Ross
EnCorps, Inc. empowers science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals to transform public education by teaching high needs schools.
Volunteer: William Rapp
William joined the EnCorps, Inc. program in 2017 as a classroom volunteer. Since then, he has gone above and beyond to become a truly outstanding volunteer guest teacher and student mentor; in addition to attending all of EnCorps, Inc.'s professional development Institutes and trainings, William attends staff professional development events at his host school, meets with the school psychologist, and even attends parent/teacher conferences. He goes the extra mile for the students he impacts, for instance, conducting mock interviews to help students prepare for college and career success. During a site visit, one of his students exclaimed, "Rapp you should be a doctor because you know everything!" William has made a positive impact on every student he assists, and he has furthered Encorps, Inc.'s organization by onboarding and mentoring new volunteers at his school. He is committed to continuing to teach underserved student populations for years to come.
Food on Foot is dedicated to assisting the poor and homeless of Los Angeles through programs that provide nutritious meals, clothing, work opportunities and ultimately the transition to full-time employment and life off the streets.
Volunteer: Greg Perlman
Greg came to Food on Foot in 2012, through an introduction from Food on Foot’s Founder, Jay Goldinger. Greg’s passion for helping homeless and low-income people improve their lives through employment, education and stability paired with his successful and high-profile career in real estate and philanthropy has enabled him to dedicate not only his time as a volunteer and mentor, but also critical funding each year that is vital to strengthening core programs at Food on Foot. Despite Greg’s demanding work schedule, he still takes the time to attend Sunday meal services, distribute food, encourage participants and listen to their successes and challenges on their road to recovery and self-sufficiency.
Learning Rights Law Center seeks to achieve education equity for low-income and disadvantaged students in the public education system in the greater Los Angeles area. Their work focuses on changing the lives of at-risk students who have disabilities, face discrimination or are involved in the dependency or juvenile justice systems by providing free legal services, education advocacy and community training.
Volunteer: Mayra Jimenez
Mayra became a part of the Learning Rights Law Center on behalf of her son, Bryan. She is a founding member of the Center's Long Beach Community Support Group; in addition to preparing for and running the monthly meetings, Mayra also spends her time building collaborations within the community on behalf of parents with children and disabilities. Seeing Mayra - a parent from the community who has taken on the system and won - is crucial for new parents who have just started on the decade-plus long journey of guiding their children though special education. Mayra's success in receiving the supports her child needs is a testament to her intelligence, passion and dedication. She has grown from an advocate for one to an advocate for many.
The Los Angeles United Methodist Urban Foundation is committed to initiating and supporting signs of hope in the city by empowering people, achieving social justice and economic development and promoting the well being of communities as envisioned by Christian faith.
Volunteer: Herley Jim Bowling
In 2013 Herley Jim Bowling volunteered with Los Angeles United Methodist Urban Foundation’s Kid City program, where he taught students first- hand about the human impact on Mono Lake’s ecosystem due to Los Angeles’ water consumption. For urban youth without exposure to life outside Los Angeles, Herley Jim not only introduced them to the beauty of natural habitats, but to hiking and solo night walks that challenged students to draw upon their strengths, including the positive aspects of their immigrant backgrounds. Since that initial trip, Herley Jim has taken approximately 30 students to Mono Lake acting not just as a teacher, but as a mentor and friend who stays in touch after the trips. Although initially volunteering to help high school students, Herley Jim soon began supporting college students as a mentor and friend. Introducing Herley Jim at this year’s gala, one of his mentees described him as follows: “I love Herley Jim. All my memories with him are good. At times I would feel forgotten like the flower in the corner of the room, the part that never gets any sun. But hugging Herley Jim feels like he’s repotting you. Tending to the withering leaves outstretched from your body and revitalizing the roots below you. Watering the questions you may hold so that they may bloom and you can grow anew.”
Operation Jump Start helps low-resourced, high-potential first generation students get in, stay in and graduate from a four-year college by providing academic support, mentoring and exposure to a broader world.
Volunteer: Justin Rudd
Justin first became involved with Operation Jump Start (OJS) about 10 years ago as a volunteer photographer. Since then, he has made time to help OJS whenever the staff has needed an official and professional photographer for events, saving the agency thousands of dollars in marketing costs. His involvement has grown to transform the organization, and most critically, serve youth in an expanded and meaningful way. For three years now, Justin has hosted 13-15 of students annually for a week-long camp, giving them the opportunity to “explore, dream and discover Southern California” through his all-expenses-paid Camp Justin! Summer program. Constantly, Justin volunteers to promote growth and self-discovery among the students well beyond what is expected of the average volunteer. His belief in the importance and necessity of volunteering to build a healthy community is embodied by his actions and work.
People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER) improves the quality of life for low-income people and communities through community organizing. They build the confidence and competence of low-income leaders to advocate on their own behalf with decision-makers who impact their communities.
Volunteer: Lydia Poncé
Lydia began organizing with POWER in 2005, when she joined the organization's work to create and preserve affordable housing in Venice. She helped build a powerful, multi-ethnic tenant union that was representational of all its members and had the power to win an improbable campaign that successfully preserved the buildings for the long-term. More recently, Lydia has been instrumental in researching statewide land use policies that can help preserve and create affordable housing in Venice and throughout the Coastal Zone of California. She has helped introduce American Indian spiritual and cultural traditions to POWER's work, expanding their memberships' commitment to multi-ethnic, multi-racial organizing. She has been a consistent mentor and role model for other community leaders in how to be compassionate and sensitive, while also tough and tenacious.