Author: Kiera Reilly, C’93 (@KieraReilly)
On Saturday June 9, Penn Serves LA hosted its first successful volunteer event. More than 20 Penn alumni and friends were on hand to serve dinner with dignity to the 55 residents of Turning Point Shelter in Santa Monica. Volunteers brought chicken, salad, dessert, decorations and more to prepare this memorable meal.
“We are thrilled that first event exceeded our expectations of interest from Los Angeles Penn alumni and their families,” shares Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16, a founding member of the Penn Serves LA Committee. Jane, along with Denise Winner, W’83, Leanne Huebner, W’90, Aileen Level, C’99, GSEd’00, and others, have been putting their various nonprofit experiences and connections together to get Penn Serves LA together and running.
In these difficult economic times, many succumb to homelessness due to job loss and these shelters are key to getting them back on their feet. According the Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty at the Weingart Center, an estimated 254,000 men, women and children experience homelessness in Los Angeles County during some part of the year and approximately 82,000 people are homeless on any given night. Interestingly, 32% of LA’s homeless have bachelors’ degrees (compared to 45% of the overall population) and 41% have worked in the previous year.
The Penn Serves LA goal is to volunteer our services as Penn alumni, parents and family to contribute to needy nonprofits in our community. Penn Serves LA is regularly scheduling service events whereby Quakers can proudly work together to service the Los Angeles community. We are working in partnership with PennClubLA, Wharton Club of Southern California, and the Southern California Regional Advisory Board.
The next Penn Serves LA event is September 22 The group will serve lunch at The Midnight Mission. More details will be available soon, and the event will be promoted via emails and through the local Penn and Wharton clubs.
The Penn Serves LA committee is seeking more LA-based alumni, parents and students to support our initiative. If you have interest in learning more, or in joining us on September 22, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
All photos (c) Kiera Reilly.