Featured Project: Beauty and Charm: To Lift Women’s Spirits

Beauty to Lift Women’s Spirits

 – Good Shepherd Centre for Homeless Women & Children
Written by L.A. Works Volunteer Reporter Wendy Green

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Project Leader: Jessica Bavel

Who is Jessica Bavel?

I suppose I’m just a regular girl. 

This is always a difficult question to ask yourself who you are. 

I suppose I’m a lot of things. I try be a good sister, a good daughter, a good aunt. 

I grew up in LA. I’m one of four I have 2 brothers one sister. 

My mother is Puerto Rican and my father is black, I’m very fortunate to get the best of those 

worlds. I love to hang out with my family we have so much fun. We might throw on some 

salsa music my mum will get and start dancing its just easy and good fun, I just love my 


Tell me about your journey as a volunteer.
I’ve been in a position where growing up was difficult and no matter what happened I 

remained determined- only because I had someone there. I had influences that impacted 

me either directly or non directly, it’s just the thought of having someone there. I really 

would like to be that person, a person who helps others. Its the reason I signed up with L.A. 

Works its actually why I started volunteering. 

I do a lot of volunteering such as working at Food Banks, Downtown Woman’s Center and 

elderly homes but my focus has always been with woman. I suppose its because I am a 

woman and I can relate to them on a larger scale.

Tell me the project you lead called Beauty and Charm: To Lift Women’s Spirits. 

I just love this project. The project runs once a month, volunteers come together to offer 

facials, manicures, pedicures, make up application and you don’t have to be a beautician 

its just about women enjoying each other company- eating , talking, laughing, its really 

good fun.

Do you have a volunteer story to share?
Yes I do. One day I had a lot of volunteers turn up, the clients were so spoiled they had so 

many women pampering them. I noticed one of the clients who had signed up, hadn’t 

shown. I inquired and was told she was in her room and was feeling pretty low, she didn’t 

feel like joining in. With a bit of coercing she came down and sat in a chair within a few 

minutes there was a group of women all over her. We had so many volunteers that day, that 

she had a person on each foot and hand, someone giving her a facial, someone making 

her a coffee.They were all laughing and having a great time. At the end of the day she 

came up to me and told me how much the experience meant to her. She had never 

experienced people to be so kind, she had never been pampered like that in her whole life. 

Stories like that are what this project is all about.

How do you feel volunteering impacts the community?
Establishing a connection with another human being is important, its fundamental, we 

relate to each other, we connect we one another- that should be embraced more. 

Unfortunately in our society there is a complacency, an interdependency, people are only 

worried about themselves. When you connect with someone its wonderful, dare I say even 

magical. Some people say magic doesn’t exist but when I connect with woman Ive never 

met before and there’s a connection, it’s really powerful, its magical.

What do you believe makes a good project leader?
A project leader needs to have sincerity. The ability to lead and inspire people. To have 

passion for what your doing which then creates a common goal. If a volunteer can see how 

much work and effort you put in as a project leader, hopefully that inspires them and in turn 

they too can make a difference.

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What are 5 words would sum you up?
Happy, Bubbly, Loving, Sassy and Compassionate.

Tell me a little about your heritage.
I’m African American. I’m a mix of black, French and American Indian. I live in California, an actual LA native.

Tell me about your volunteer experience
Well today I’m volunteering at a project called Beauty and Charm Lifting Women’s Spirits. It was really touching and lots of
fun. I haven’t volunteered in so long and I wanted to start the New Year volunteering at least once a month. I found L.A. Works and I liked the fact they had something for everybody. It caters to all personalities, interests or an intention that you would like to accomplish from volunteering. I found Beauty and Charm which is totally up my alley. Women bonding over manicures and facials-how much fun does that sound.

Volunteering is really important to me. My dad passed away when I was 12. Part of the grieving process is to find ways to heal, to cope, to have acceptance. One of the ways I did that, was when I was in my freshman year at University, I volunteered with Relay For Life.  In my junior year we didn’t have Relay for Life at my University (we didn’t meet the quota) so I started a team at another University. We had one month to raise $1000, we ended up raising $2000 which is exceptional for Hampton Virginia. From that the Atlantic region contacted me and wanted to reopen Relay for Life at Hampton, which I headed. I then started Colleges Against Cancer. My intention was to try and raise money to help fund research so no other person, had to lose a person to cancer like I did. I had so much fun with those projects, I just wanted to get back into volunteering when I got back.

What do you gain from volunteering?
Well that’s interesting. I don’t really volunteer to gain a personal gratification I just like putting smiles on peoples faces, so I suppose if I’m able to do that then thats what I gain. I don’t need to know someones personal story. I just like being together, laughing hanging out. I really like meeting new people. I actually thought I would be coming with a bunch of friends but they couldn’t make it, so I came alone and I ended up making new friends.

What would we be surprised to learn about Jade Howard?
My father was a legendary Jazz recording artist but unfortunately I cannot play an instrument, sing or dance.

Copy of DSC_0071_2Volunteer: Rosanna O’Guynn

Ive seen you at so many volunteer groups tell me when you started?
I’ve been volunteering in LA for a few years. I was searching the internet for things to do and volunteering came up. I was interested in what that was and meant, so here I am.

You volunteer a lot, I’m guessing on a weekly basis, tell me why your so passionate.
Well it sounds silly but as I said I was just looking for something to do and the word volunteer came up. I searched some more and thats when I found L.A. Works. L.A. Works had a calendar that made it very easy . I thought that is a great thing to do and gave it a go. I do it every week so I can be involved with the community, I want to participate. I did try other places but L.A. Works just made it so simple and easy.

What do you gain from volunteering?
People saying thank you. People commenting they feel inspired and motivated by us coming by.

Do you have any volunteer stories?
Not individual stories but people are always so grateful. People are so appreciative and I’m appreciative for the opportunity, it creates a great vibe.

What makes a good volunteer?
It’s an ongoing process I don’t think its one factor that makes someone good at it. You learn every time you volunteer.

Did something inspire you to be so active within the volunteering community?
No not really I just wanted something to do. I wanted to be involved and L.A. Works was there and made it easy to volunteer.

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LA Works Day of Service 2012 with the LAFD

L.A. Works makes volunteering easy and accessible for all Angelenos to make a significant impact in their community!

This year’s L.A. Works Day of Service volunteers will tend to one of LA’s most revered landmarks, the Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center in Elysian Park.  The training center is often the focal point from which Angelenos honor first responders who have fallen in the line of duty. The Hotchkin Training Center, the main training center for In-service training is in a grand Art Deco building near Dodger Stadium that once housed a Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center. In 1995, the building was vacated by the military and transferred to the Fire Department. It is named the Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center, after a firefighter who died while fighting a fire there in 1980 after falling through a fire-weakened roof.

The center also honors our nations first responders. Inside the entrance to the historic building is a towering slab with names of firefighters who died on 9/11. And outside stands a 20-foot-tall, 2,300-ton remnant of the World Trade Center.

As thanks to their selfless acts of courage and support of the entire Los Angeles community, we will be revitalizing, landscaping, painting and renovating the training center. With help from the generous support of local corporations, skilled laborers, and dedicated volunteers, we are poised to give back to our city’s first responders like never before.

We can’t do it without your help! L.A. Works Day’s fun and festivities don’t stop with the family-friendly volunteer projects, as the day will also include fire truck drills, food, music, and interesting and educational safety workshops. For more information about the day and how to get involved, click HERE.

Service Crawl 2.0 – Your Chance to Get Involved Behind the Scenes

L.A. Works makes volunteering easy and accessible for all Angelenos to make a significant impact in their community!

With the overwhelming success of our 1st Annual Service Crawl in November 2011, we’ve decided to bring it back for a second run in the Summer of 2012! We’re extremely excited to be offering once again such a unique, fun-filled volunteer experience in Los Angeles that not only engages people in the importance of service, but also meets pressing issues facing our community.

Here is a snapshot of what the 2011 Crawl was like:
This exciting and unique form of service is an opportunity for your friends, family and colleagues to get together and support the LA nonprofit community in just a few hours time. Experience a cross-section of nonprofits as your team “crawls” from site to site solving clues, completing tasks, and competing for some great prizes! Each team will be asked to raise funds to participate (similar to a walk-a-thon-type experience).

As you can imagine, such an event doesn’t happen by itself so we’re looking for enthusiastic and committed individuals to be part of this year’s Service Crawl Committee. There are many ways — big, medium or small to get involved.

Below is a list of some of the projects you might see yourself working on:

  • Securing sponsorships
  • Identifying agencies and planning the service projects
  • Recruiting volunteers
  • Developing fundraising and marketing campaigns
  • General event planning and administration
  • Day-of logistics and operations

If you’re interested in finding out more about getting involved with the Committee, please sign up for our first discussion meeting on: Thursday, April 19 from 6:30-8:30pm

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact me at becca@laworks.com or 323-224-6510. I hope you can join us!

Becca Bloom,
L.A. Works Director of Programs

Service Crawl LA: A Race to Give Back

L.A. Works makes volunteering easy and accessible for all Angelenos to make a significant impact in their community!

The results from the first ever Service Crawl LA are in!

  • 77 holiday gifts wrapped for seniors
  • 1,000 Thanksgiving place settings assembled for a homeless shelter
  • 50 bedroom sets sanded for at-risk youth
  • 10 flower beds planted for a women’s shelter
  • 62 volunteers racing around Los Angeles engaged in service in the first ever Service Crawl (in the rain no less!) = PRICELESS

In celebration of 20 successful years of service to the community, L.A. Works spearheaded the first ever Service Crawl where teams of volunteers raced around LA engaging in diverse service projects at a variety of agencies. Volunteers solved clues that led them to each destination, gained points for completing tasks, and won prizes for their efforts. From the starting line to the finishing line it was undeniable that all the teams were “feeling helpful and engaged in the community”, expressed Eric Kissack, Team East Side Crawlers Captain.

Despite the rainy weather, the energy and enthusiasm were sky high and the impact made on the community was phenomenal. 62 volunteers were part of this momentous event providing support to 4 of L.A. Works’ long-time community partners including Alexandria Care Senior Center, Angel’s Flight Shelter, Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children, and the Los Angeles Mission.

This unique event not only left a lasting mark on these agencies, but also “introduce[d] a new volunteering experience to new volunteers,” said Andrea Schenk, L.A. Mission project leader. We’re excited to bring this event back next year and make it even bigger and better!

If you’re interested in learning more about the agencies served at the Service Crawl, you can sign up on our website to volunteer with them throughout the month:
* Alexandria Care Senior Center

* Angel’s Flight Shelter
Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children
* Los Angeles Mission

A special thanks to the following vendors and companies for donating their services and goods for the event:
Antigua Coffee
Border Grill
Burke Williams Spa
Downtown Yoga Circle
Glen Ivy Spa
InterContinental Hotel
Trader Joes
Wake N Bake Wagon

A special thanks to the following volunteer leaders who helped plan and manage the project sites:

Andrea Schenck
Angie Assereto
Ed Simon
Eileen McCremens
Holly Fishbein
Juan Mendoza
KJ Black
Lupe Veliz
Natalie Duarte,
Niki Tolnay
Samantha Castro
Serinah Alexandri
Sofi Rubio
Thao Tran

You can check out the crawlers and leaders in action in the photos, HERE!
See you at Service Crawl LA 2012!!!

Service Crawl + Beer Garden: Celebrating 20 Years of Service

L.A. Works makes volunteering easy and accessible for all Angelenos to make a significant impact in their community!

For the past two decades, L.A. Works has worked hard to bring together the Los Angeles community through service. Though the projects and events have grown and evolved over the years, the objective to make volunteering as easy and accessible as possible has remained consistent.

This weekend we celebrated with a brand new event, the city’s first ever Service Crawl! Think Amazing Race meets Pub Crawl! Then the volunteers plus a few hundred of our friends braved the rain to toast our 20 years at our Beer Garden celebration!

A quick run-down of the some of our top “competitors” who volunteered at the Service Crawl…

  • First to Arrive: High Five
  • Second to Arrive: Do Good Bus
  • Most Points: Humblebraggers
  • Most spirited: Community Service is So Fun… I Really Mean That
  • Most Spirited Individual: Cindy Nguyen from UCLA Works Works Works
  • Top Team Fundraiser: Sour Pickles
  • Top Individual Fundraiser: Sarisa Ransom from Sour Pickles


The rain did not put a damper on the celebrations! Hundreds of Angelenos joined us in celebration of our 20th Anniversary as we drained  craft beer in a Beer Garden at the Los Angeles River Center & Gardens.

A special thanks to:

  • ColLAboration –  for their expert guidance on all things beer
  • bgreen apparel – the amazing organic cotton tee’s!
  • Yalla Truck – thanks Alan and team for coming out in the rain to feed the masses
  • Wake n Bake Truck – Johnathan and Ryan fed some hungry crawlers in the am and wet drinkers in the pm
  • Antigua Coffee – Yancey warmed our morning with delicious coffee
  • LaShawn and Pablo & Clean and Green Crew – helped with the set up for the crawl and garden
  • Rob Naples photography + his team of volunteer photographers at the Beer Garden
  • Jeff Hopkins and Alexis Sexauer for roaming photography for the Service Crawl
  • Roberta Romero – our Social Media Guru
  • LA River Center & Gardens – thanks for keeping our heads above the water
  • FOLAR – the tents were lifesavers!

Service Crawl Prizes were generously provided by:

  • Yogurtland
  • Downtown Yoga Circle
  • Starbucks
  • InterContinental Hotel
  • Border Grill
  • Trader Joes
  • Burke Williams Spa
  • Glen Ivy Spa

But wait, there’s more!

Sites and leaders from the Service Crawl included:

  • Alexandria Care Senior Center and Leaders: Samantha Castro, Serinah Alexandri, Sofi Rubio, Natalie Duarte
  • Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children and Leaders: Eileen McCremens, Niki Tolnay, Angie Assereto
  • Angel’s Flight Shelter and Leaders: Ed Simon, Holly Fishbein, Michael Hicks, Lupe Veliz
  • L.A. Mission and Leaders: Andrea Schenck, KJ Black, Thao Tran. Juan Mendoza

Thank you one and all. We look forward to another great 20 years of service to LA!

More pictures can be found at http://www.robnaples.com/laworks

Leadership development workshop, free for L.A. Works volunteers!

L.A. Works makes volunteering easy and accessible for all Angelenos to make a significant impact in their community!

As a service to the Los Angeles nonprofit community, each quarter Dale Carnegie LA offers free  personal enrichment/professional development workshops to our volunteer community! Join us on Wednesday, October 26 for the third in the series: Understanding Diversity. Learn how to get that project or event completed with less stress and fewer road blocks!

For more information and to sign up, visit THIS LINK!

9/11 Tribute Projects – Volunteer in September to Remember

L.A. Works makes volunteering easy and accessible for all Angelenos to make a significant impact in their community!

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a moment that through tragedy brought together cultures, bridged differences and united citizens of goodwill around the world in a spirit of unity and commitment. In tribute to all of those who were lost and the tens of thousands who rose in service, 9/11 has been designated a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Looking for a way to serve your community in honor and commemoration of the heroes and victims of September 11th? L.A. Works has opportunities for hundreds of volunteers all across LA, so you can volunteer at a project in September 11th that fits your interest regardless of time or skill!

  • To join our Signature Day of Service event, click HERE.
  • To find an opportunity by issue area, neighborhood, or that is suitable for young or older volunteers, click HERE and type “9/11 tribute” in the search box.

HOT Project: Caring Companions @ Alexandria Care

Volunteers needed this Saturday!

Many of the senior residents at Alexandria Care do not get regular visitors, so the time that volunteers spend with them can make an important difference in their day. Join us for a few hours this Saturday to accompany seniors on a neighborhood walk and shopping excursion at the local 99 Cent store. Volunteers also visit with seniors in the facility, working together on art & craft activities, playing games (Bingo!), conducting sing-a-longs, and sharing stories.

For more information and to sign up, click here: http://tinyurl.com/3mcwt5m