Featured Project: The Compton Initiative

Written by L.A. Works Volunteer Reporter Marvin Lee

Around 1600 volunteers gathered in the city of Compton on February 1, 2014.  These volunteers, comprised of local people from Los Angeles and Southern California as well as some from other States, came to faithfully serve a community that is stricken with violent crime and extreme poverty.

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The Compton Initiative is an organization that strives to do good throughout the LA area by providing community service opportunities on a quarterly basis.  The February 1st work day was the first of four work days.  Their motto, “Just do Good” is written on the yellow shirts that you see worn by the volunteers.

Upon arrival at 7:00 AM, the volunteers were served a hearty breakfast to get fueled for the day.  As the crowd grew, community leaders and city officials addressed the group with words of inspiration and gratitude; words that were genuinely spoken before the volunteers were released, almost as if they were commissioned to do good.  At the beginning hour during the assembly of volunteers, Aja Brown, Mayor of Compton, expressed her enthusiastic welcome and was met with a receptive thankfulness.  She addressed the common good of creating change and to make an overall positive impact in a community that would otherwise be left to social adversity.  A sense of community and support could be felt throughout the venue; this was a feeling shared by an amazing group of individuals of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds who recognized a need to help.

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There were over 30 worksites in which the volunteers could participate.  “Our goal is to beautify the city,” was the motto of the day.  Hundreds of people from various church organizations, schools, corporations, and other charity groups took on painting, repairing, gardening, and building tasks to renovate schools, public spaces, homes and other properties.  The Compton Initiative provided uplifting tasks for the nearly 2000 people who participated, those who not only came to serve, but also to show that they care.  Their contribution directly affects the enjoyment and quality of life of others who are less privileged, and those who are aware of the condition but cannot create change alone.  As one local Compton resident wisely said, “We came to bless the city of Compton.”

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People from Edison Electric Company brought families, husbands and wives, sons and daughters,friends and relatives to participate.  The attention given to all the many work sites paves the way for future volunteers.  It brought together friends, family members, and individuals of diverse ethnicities to spend time together as a unified team with the common hope of doing good.

There was tremendous wealth experienced on that day.  It is as if there was a desire to change within themselves by realizing that their personal sacrifice of time and effort would, in retrospect, translate to change for the greater community that is on the receiving end.

Please visit their website for more information: http://www.justdogood.org/

Also, please visit www.LAWorks.com for access to more fun volunteering opportunities.

Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Shipra

shipraShipra Gupta graduated from the University of Southern California where she double majored in Cinematic Arts Critical Studies and minored in Screenwriting. Shipra is excited to be joining the L.A. Works team because her role as a copywriter intern will provide her with the opportunity to produce thoughtful copy and execute effective marketing strategies. Shipra believes this position will allow her to draw upon her previous experience in entertainment and digital publication as well as her passion for social issues. Eventually, she would like to write long form pieces about culture for a major publication such as xoJane, Buzzfeed, The Atlantic or Vulture. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cross stitching, and tweeting. She is also involved in an arts collaborative called cARTel: Collaborative Arts L.A. The collaborative group puts on art events throughout the year, including Brokechella and the No Budget Film Festival. A fun fact about Shipra is that you can find her on the back cover of an anthology of folktales featuring strong female characters. The cover illustrator chose her as a model for the book, which can be found on Amazon.

L.A. Works & College Summit Promote College Success

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Last fall, L.A. Works volunteers served 30+ hours with College Summit Southern California, the local arm of a national nonprofit that partners with under-resourced high schools to get more students to and through college. Volunteers helped low-income high school and college students with meeting their academic goals.

In October and November, volunteers worked directly with high school seniors, helping them strengthen their personal statements, tighten up their resumes, and complete and submit their college applications. In November and December, they supported students’ professional growth by conducting mock interviews with them and sharing personal insight about their careers in the STEM field.

Most recently, L.A. Works volunteers attended a Résumé Workshop for first-generation college students where volunteers helped students critique sample resumes. This volunteering is part of a year-long managed project led by volunteer Jessaca Rowe, which will provide professional development sessions for college students on a variety of topics.

Interested in getting involved? Volunteers are currently being recruited to help our high schoolers complete the FAFSA, which qualifies students for federal dollars to pay for college. All training is provided. Later, in March and April, we’ll be looking for Career Month volunteers to speak on career panels, conduct mock interviews, and participate in speed networking sessions. For more information email Brian Rosenbaum, Community Engagement Coordinator, at brosenbaum@collegesummit.org.

1500 Volunteers Transform Hillcrest Drive ES for MLK Day


On January 20, more than 1,500 volunteers came together to transform Hillcrest Drive Elementary School and commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What many viewed as a day off was actually a day on for the 1,500 volunteers that woke up bright and early to devote themselves to a Day of Service at the Title I school located in South Los Angeles.

Before the large-scale beautification projects began, our volunteers unleashed their energy by jumping into a zumba warm-up led by zumba instructors Melissa Zugell and Aakansha Maheshwari from LA Dancefit Studio. DJ Dave and a dozen Laker Girls also got the crowd excited and ready for a fun-filled day of service. The kick-off ceremony was brought to life by Board Member Roger G. Smith who emceed and welcomed several esteemed speakers onto the L.A. Works stage to remind volunteers to reflect on the importance of service and the vision held by Dr. King of a beloved community. Speakers included Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell and Paul Krekorian, as well as L.A. Works founder Bob L. Johnson and Hillcrest Principal Elizabeth Pratt.

On a beautiful, sunny (80 degree!) day the volunteers rolled up their sleeves as they got to work on a 151variety of service projects such as painting colorful and exuberant wildlife inspired murals throughout the school’s campus. Others engaged in building and painting multi-colored picnic tables with unique designs. The tables made a great addition to the campus and served to create outdoor classroom learning spaces for the children at Hillcrest. Nature lovers had the opportunity to build garden beds to promote healthy nutrition for children and the local community. The goal was to provide a renewed learning environment for the children so they could be proud and feel comfortable at the school they call home. Within a few hours Hillcrest Drive Elementary was transformed into a vibrant, green-inspired campus ready for the children to come back to the next day.


We’d like to send a special thanks to all of the volunteers, volunteer leaders, skilled muralists, and sponsors for their hard work, dedication and high energy throughout the entire day. The collaborative work and spirit of activism held by everyone involved fittingly commemorated the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Check out more photos of the day here!

Huge Thanks to Sponsors and Supporters!

Sponsors: Northrop Grumman, Target, American Honda Company, Cesar Chavez Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Macy’s, and Tiny Rebellion.

Supporters: Velocity Network Solutions, United Way of Greater Los Angeles, The Office of Mayor Garcetti, CBeyond, Chick-fil-A, Jack in the Box, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Starbucks, and LA DanceFit.

See the day through the eyes of our Tiny Rebellion volunteers in this video their team put together of their experience. http://youtu.be/O9_2laSBecQ

Job Opening: AmeriCorps VISTA Nonprofit Relations

L.A. Works is looking for an AmeriCorps VISTA to join the team this Spring! 

Key Dates: The term of service begins on April 28, 2014 and lasts for 1 year. A Pre-Service Orientation (PSO) Training is required for all members and is scheduled for April 22 – 25, 2014.

Position Overview: L.A. Works seeks a passionate, dedicated, highly motivated individual who is capable of managing L.A. Works’ nonprofit and volunteer relationships and is ready for a transformative year of growth as an AmeriCorps member. In focusing on building effectiveness and sustainability of volunteer programs and delivery at organizations addressing anti-poverty issues including community and economic development, education and healthy futures, the L.A. Works Nonprofit Relations Coordinator will become familiar with the diverse organizations and volunteer opportunities throughout Los Angeles. The AmeriCorps VISTA member will help transform our nonprofit partners’ organizational structures to increase their capacity for poverty reduction in the community through more effective volunteer recruitment, placement and engagement practices. This position will require an entrepreneurial attitude, a pro-active drive to identify challenges and possibilities, build connections, and work towards seeing effective results in the LA community. Additionally, the ideal candidate will have strong communications skills, be a self-starter who can multi-task, and have experience working in nonprofits or with nonprofit volunteers. L.A. Works is an equal opportunity employer committed to workplace diversity. L.A. Works has a team of three AmeriCorps members. This position will have one counterpart to closely collaborate with during the year of service.

Key Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree;
  • Commitment and understanding of the AmeriCorps principles and values and the one year of service
  • Ability to adapt to the living allowance and other lifestyle challenges common for AmeriCorps members;
  • Capable and engaging public speaker and networker with a professional demeanor and the ability to engage successfully with a wide range of individuals, especially nonprofit leaders;
  • Strong customer service skills with professional demeanor in person, in writing, and on the phone;
  • Superior, persuasive, and proven writing and marketing capabilities;
  • Proactive, self-directed, and results-oriented personality with the ability to work both independently and as a member of a team. (L.A. Works has a team of three AmeriCorps members that work closely together so being a team player is key);
  • A track record of delivering results while juggling competing priorities under intense time pressure;
  • Comfortable and effective in a “coaching” role with nonprofit professionals;
  • Proficient in developing processes and procedures to track data;
  • Open to and excited by the opportunity to inform our strategic thinking and work within an entrepreneurial environment;
  • Interest in nonprofit work and belief in the value of community service.

Additional Requirements:

  • Ability to lift up to 30 pounds;
  • Valid driver’s license;
  • Access to personal car for travel throughout Los Angeles County;
  • CANNOT be engaged in any means of paid work outside of the full-time VISTA role at L.A. Works
  • Must be at least 17 years of age and a U.S. citizen, national, or legal permanent resident alien of the U.S.;
  • Some evening and weekend commitments;
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite;
  • Knowledge of databases is a plus.

Responsibilities Include:

  • Develop relationships with a core group of nonprofit agencies, providing them with consultative support to assist them in identifying challenges and areas of growth in their volunteer program and guiding them through action plans to address them;
  • Create a management plan to best track multiple projects of varying degrees with nonprofits to complete them from start to finish;
  • Be proactive in reaching out to the community to set up meetings and discussions;
  • Meet multiple deadlines and benchmarks set by L.A. Works and the AmeriCorps grant;
  • Identify new, creative volunteer roles at nonprofit partner sites;
  • Conduct targeted recruitment efforts online and offline to improve volunteer matches and increase the number of volunteers placed at the nonprofit sites in new roles;
  • Manage the online volunteer management and recruitment system for Community Connections, including: posting volunteer opportunities to the website, entering new partners, and cleaning and maintaining data with a high degree of autonomy;
  • Contribute to quarterly and annual grant reporting on the benchmarks set and progress on projects;
  • Create and disseminate marketing materials to the community to advertise the program;
  • Identify opportunities for further growth and expansion of L.A. Works volunteer opportunities and partnerships;
  • Serve as a community ambassador at L.A. Works events to recruit volunteers for a wide variety of volunteer opportunities;
  • Serve as a resource for volunteer management inquiries and recruitment efforts;
  • Assist with the logistics and delivery of the Service Enterprise Initiative to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations’ impact via leveraging the time and talent of volunteers.

Salary: A $15,996 per year stipend before taxes. It breaks down to about $1,333 a month before taxes.

Benefits: Childcare assistance if eligible, choice of Education Award or End of Service stipend, housing search assistance, health coverage, living allowance, travel coverage when applicable, relocation allowance if eligible, training accommodations onsite and offsite.

Location: L.A. Works is in Cypress Park, close to Elysian Park and just north of downtown Los Angeles, near Dodger’s Stadium. We are accessible by the gold line. This position will also be required to travel around Los Angeles by car.

Duration: One-year commitment.

Application Procedure: If you are interested in growing professionally within an innovative, highly respected organization through a year of service, we invite you to submit a single PDF document which includes the following to Becca Bloom, Director of Programs, becca@laworks.com:

  • Cover Letter
  • Resume
  • Two Professional References
  • Also, please answer a short online questionnaire by visiting: http://bit.ly/19trC8a

Application Deadline: Applications are due by Friday, February 7th.

L.A. Works is committed to providing an inclusive workplace that includes people of diverse backgrounds and fully utilizes their talents to achieve its mission. We are committed to fostering and supporting a workplace culture inclusive of people regardless of their race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, marital status, age, physical abilities, political affiliation, religious beliefs or any other non-merit fact, so that all employees feel included, equally valued and supported.

About AmeriCorps: AmeriCorps engages more than 80,000 men and women in intensive service each year through more than 15,000 nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. AmeriCorps members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve. Members gain valuable professional, educational, and life benefits, and the experience has a lasting impact on the members and the communities they serve. More information: http://www.americorps.gov.

About AmeriCorps VISTA: AmeriCorps VISTA is one of three main service programs of AmeriCorps that connects full-time members to community organizations and public agencies to create and expand programs that build capacity and ultimately bring low-income individuals and communities out of poverty. More information.

Position: Warehouse Coordinator, Part-time

L.A. Works is in need of a part-time Warehouse Coordinator.

L.A. Works is a 501(c)3 nonprofit volunteer action center that creates and implements hands-on community service projects throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Founded in 1991, L.A. Works addresses three principal needs: to increase volunteer participation in the community; to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations to achieve their missions through access to volunteer labor and other resources; and to educate and encourage people to engage in the broader social issues affecting the greater Los Angeles community.

Responsibilities: Clean and organize a small warehouse with varied equipment. Maintain inventory, loading and unloading event equipment as directed and making deliveries in company van. Attend volunteer events. Occasionally supervise up to 2 Jr. Service volunteers. Report to Director of Operations.

Requirements: Ability to lift 50 pounds, maintain an organized and neat workspace and work independently. Handyman knowledge an/or experience is a plus. Have a valid CA Driver’s License and good driving record. Clean background check.

Hours: 20 hours weekly, some Saturdays required.

Location: L.A. River Center & Gardens, 570 W. Avenue 26, Ste. 400,  Los Angeles, CA 90065

Application Procedure: Call or email Porsha Pearson for job application.

Contact: Porsha Pearson, Director of Operations, L.A. Works, porsha@laworks.com, 323.224.6510

Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Destiny


Destiny Henderson graduated from Baylor University where she obtained a B.A. in English and minored in Business Administration. Originally from a small town in Texas, Destiny moved to the Los Angeles area in last August. Her interest in L.A. Works stemmed from her desire to impact the new community she recently moved to. She views L.A. Works as the perfect opportunity not only to serve, but also to help others find ways in which they can positively impact the greater LA area. Destiny will be joining L.A. Works as the Content Producer Intern and she hopes to continue expanding her writing skills as she uses the talents she already has to benefit L.A. Works and the community. She also looks forward to growing her passion towards civic engagement while partnering with an organization that’s focused on giving back to the community. Destiny hopes to eventually transition into copywriting for advertising so she’ll be able to use her creative and professional writing abilities together to create ads for non-profits. Destiny loves traveling and going on adventures. She’s always willing to try new things that require her to step out of her comfort zone. She feels that these experiences challenge and grow her character in new ways. Following her adventurous spirit, Destiny once spent some time cliff jumping near a waterfall she found while hiking through the forest on the island of Grenada. During her free time she’s either running or hiking a new trail, taking a mini road trip to a nearby town, or trying new cultural cuisines.

Encore Performance of RODNEY KING

Rodney King x-LATsThe L.A. Works board of directors invites our L.A. Works community to a special matinee performance of Roger Guenveur Smith’s critically acclaimed RODNEY KING.

L.A. Works, the largest volunteer action center in Los Angeles was founded in 1991, the same year the late Rodney King was thrust into international prominence.

2 PM


Limited Seating    *    Reception To Follow


http://www.latimes.com//arts/culture/la-et-cm-roger-guenveur-smith-searches-for-real-rodney-king- 20131002,0,5802261.story#axzz2kfh42z6Y   

Northrop Grumman @ West Athens Elementary School

paintingOn October 30, volunteers from the Law Department of Northrop Grumman Corporation participated in an all day service event at West Athens Elementary School. The large size of the campus and high need of the school provide ongoing opportunities for large-scale renovation projects. This was the third project that L.A. Works has managed at West Athens Elementary School.

During this project, volunteers from Northrop Grumman completed the entrance facelift project that had been started by another BusinessWorks sponsor, Fiji Water, adding school spirit to the entrance by painting it a bright green, the official school color. The group also built four garden beds and four picnic tables to support the second grade gardening class. Additionally, volunteers harnessed their creative energy and passion for the science and technology field and created a STEM-themed mural for the school.bench building

Northrop Grumman is a long-time supporter of L.A. Works. Their annual contributions and participation in service projects continue to make an important impact in the community.

To learn how your company can make an impact in the community through L.A. Works, click here.

Check out more photos here!

Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Lindsey

Linsey KellyLindsey Kelly graduated in 2007 from UC Santa Cruz, with a BA in Environmental Studies. She is excited to be interning as a Program Coordinator and to get involved in the important work that L.A. Works does for our community. She intends to pursue a career in which she can affect positive change in the world, but says she is still trying to figure out exactly what that looks like for her. She is hoping this internship will be an opportunity to explore the possibilities, and looks forward to gaining practical experience working at a non-profit and managing volunteers. She currently works as an educator at the LA Zoo. On her free time she enjoys working in her vegetable garden, cooking and eating all kinds of food, hiking, riding her bike, and hanging out with her cat, Gizmo. A fun fact about Lindsey is that she rode an ostrich while in South Africa. “It was as terrifying as it sounds,” shared Lindsey.