Monthly Archives: September 2017

Penn Serves LA Assists with L.A. Works Pop Up Day of Service Focused on Family and Youth Homelessness (August 2017)

by Michal Clements, W’84

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On a hot Saturday morning, fourteen Penn Serves LA volunteers turned out bright and early to assist with L.A. Works Pop Up Day of Service in Griffith Park.  L.A. Works  mission is “to empower Angelenos to address pressing social issues through volunteerism and community collaboration.”  While L.A. Works  (http://www.laworks.com) offers a variety of hands-on community service projects intended to benefit different groups, the focus of this particular day was the important issue of family and youth homelessness.   In 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s report to Congress found that LA had the most chronically homeless people in the nation (13,000) and the most homeless veterans (2,800) and unaccompanied homeless youth (more than 3,000).

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After a brief overview from L.A. Works leaders, Penn Serves volunteers swung into action, with each Penn Serves volunteer assigned to a specific cohort (e.g., 4B) of fifteen to twenty-five other volunteers.   We led our assigned cohort to work stations in tents and then joined them in participating in the hands-on activities.  Activities included making sandwiches, making quilts for the homeless, assembling toiletry/self-care kits that included handmade origami with encouraging notes, and more.  After about twenty to thirty minutes for a given experience, the Penn Serves volunteer led the cohort to their next assignment.

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We also had the opportunity to learn from experts about the many initiatives underway to address L.A.’s Homeless at the Advocacy tents.  We heard personal histories from members of the stories of Skid Row community.  One woman mentioned that Skid Row is dramatically under represented for toilets (perhaps six hundred to one) and that there is an opportunity to address this basic, perhaps with temporary structures. We also heard from Meg Barclay, City of Los Angeles Homeless Coordinator about LA’s Prop HHH efforts to build and encourage the creation of 10,000 permanent housing units for the chronically homeless.

This was the last in the Penn Serves LA 2016-2017 year programming.  Looking back over the year, it’s satisfying to reflect on the many different opportunities we had to serve this year and to consider the impact we have made.   In addition to L.A. Works, our Penn Serves LA activities included feeding the hungry and reducing food waste with L.A. Kitchen, staffing ICEF’s first literacy festival, crocheting with Blankets of Love, building a home with Habitat LA, painting with Portraits of Hope, harvesting fruit with Food Forward.    It’s worth noting that the deliberate choice of the Penn Serves LA board is for the group to serve multiple not for profits, in different geographies, with different focuses, rather than to repeat or to concentrate on a particular organization.  This is because Penn alumni are attracted to different service opportunities, live in geographically diverse parts of LA, and this allows them to see if they are attracted to any particular one on an going basis.

I look forward to another great year in 2017-2018!

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Filed under Los Angeles, Penn Serves LA, Penn Spectrum

Penn Serves Picks Fruit with Food Forward LA

By Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16

It was a scorching day in the Valley (95 degrees!), but twenty some hearty and enthusiastic Penn Serves LA alumni and family gathered at lovely Orcutt Farm (where two of our volunteers had gotten married) to spend Saturday afternoon assiting Food Forward. Since its start almost eight years ago, Food Forward has “rescued” over 25 million pounds (or 100 million servings) of fresh local produce. The math is quite simple: using volunteers, Food Forward connects surplus food produce with food insecure people in our community.

Penn Serves LA ready to help pick fruit for Food Forward

Penn Serves LA ready to help pick fruit for Food Forward, photo courtesy of Jane Gutman

Penn Serves LA gets instructions from Food Forward, photo by Kiera Reilly

Penn Serves LA gets instructions from Food Forward, photo by Kiera Reilly

Armed with long tools resembling lacrosse sticks with metal baskets, we went into a beautiful and shady grove of orange trees and chatted about our Penn experiences, families and work while carefully catching oranges and filling boxes – a very social and productive time. It was all so easy and so much fun to make a little difference for our community!

Penn Serves LA picks fruit for Food Forward

Getting to work picking fruit, photo by Jane Gutman.

Picking fruit for Food Forwardy, photo by Kiera Reilly

Picking fruit for Food Forward, photo by Kiera Reilly

Our Food Forward team leader Jane Gutman with another Penn alumna volunteer, photo by Kiera Reilly

Our Food Forward team leader Jane Gutman with another Penn alumna volunteer, photo by Kiera Reilly

The morning group had picked 6,000 pounds of oranges and, as slightly competitive Ivy Leaguers (with a few other groups out there helping too), we were delighted to learn our final count was more than 6,400 pounds of gorgeous, juicy oranges. Given that Food Forward is such a well oiled machine, we were informed that later that very day the fruit we picked would be enjoyed by people at some of the more than 300 hunger relief agencies they serve across eight counties in Southern California.

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Lots of Red and Blue shirts helping pick fruit for Food Forward, photo by Kiera Reilly

Lots of Red and Blue shirts helping pick fruit for Food Forward, photo by Kiera Reilly

Food insecurity is one of the most devastating issues facing our community, especially given the natural abundance surrounding us. Penn Serves LA has had volunteer opportunities addressing this immense need from various angles through our work with: the Westside Food Bank, the Veteran’s Garden, the Midnight Mission, Turning Point Shelter, The Giving Spirit, Meals on Wheels, LA Kitchen and more.

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Love this shirt: Lancaster Ave., the Rodeo Drive of West Philadelphia. Photo by Kiera Reilly

Love this shirt: Lancaster Ave., the Rodeo Drive of West Philadelphia. Photo by Kiera Reilly

Penn Serves LA are great events for Penn families!

Penn Serves LA are great events for Penn families!

As always, our Food Forward Penn Serves LA volunteers represented a broad cross section of schools and years at the Red and the Blue. Once again, we were thrilled to meet many new volunteers and to see other familiar faces. The Penn Serves LA community continues to grow, as we add to the list of extraordinary non-profit organizations we are fortunate to serve in Los Angeles.

Thank you…see you next time!! Our next event? September 23.

For more information or to volunteer with Food Forward, go to: https://foodforward.org.

Penn Serves LA after picking 6,400 pounds of fruit with Food Forward

6,400 pounds of fruit later! Photo courtesy of Jane Gutman

6,400 pounds of fruit that Penn Serves LA helped pick for Food Forward, photo by Kiera Reilly

6,400 pounds of fruit that Penn Serves LA helped pick for Food Forward, photo by Kiera Reilly

About Penn Serves LA

Penn Serves LA logo volunteering with Penn Alumni in Los Angeles

Penn Serves LA impacts the Los Angeles community by engaging University of Pennsylvania alumni, parents and families in meaningful community service activities.

We have done everything from serving meals to the homeless to restoring the environment to fixing homes. Six times annually, we find another great opportunity to learn about interesting nonprofits, lend a hand and enjoy fun experience with fellow alumni.

Join Us

We invite the Penn community in Los Angeles (alumni, parents and kids) to join us at a future event, to help spread the word and to help us plan future activities. Join us, meet new Penn people, demonstrate what service means to your kids and friends, and help fellow Quakers make a little bit of difference in our complex city!

If you have an established nonprofit that you would like us to consider for future events or announcements, please let us know. We are looking for new nonprofits to serve in meaningful ways.

Our next event – September 23. We will be helping to restore the Ballona Creek Wetlands. For more information and to register, click here.

Contact Us

Questions? Want to join our email list? Reach us at pennserves@gmail.com.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

The Penn Serves LA Team

Christine Belgrad, W’85, PAR’15 | Michal Clements, W’84 | Justin Gordon, W’05 | Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16 | Leanne Huebner, W’90 | Jamie Kendall, W’04 | Irene Park, C’05 | Kiera Reilly, C’93 | Jeff Weston, C’05 | Denise Winner, W’83

Read about our previous events:

 

 

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Filed under Alumni Programming, Jane G., Los Angeles, Penn Serves, Penn Serves LA, Volunteering

The Daily Pennsylvanian Welcomes the Class of 1993 to Penn (45 Weeks To Go)

By Kiera Reilly, C’93

You never know what treasures you will find when cleaning out the attic, basement, or boxes of things in the back of a closet. As we countdown the weeks to our 25th Penn reunion #93tothe25th, we are encouraging classmates to share photos, memories or mementos of our time at Penn.

My mom recently found the July 1, 1989 issue of The Daily Pennsylvanian at her house. Apparently the DP sent an issue to all of the incoming freshmen, and it’s been in my childhood home since then.

The top of the fold headline article was a bit jarring though….class is less selective but quality up!

The July 1, 1989 issue of The Daily Pennsylvanian sent to incoming Freshman

The July 1, 1989 issue of The Daily Pennsylvanian sent to incoming Freshman

It was interesting to see the front and back page stories of the day.

The full front page of the July 1, 1989 issue of The Daily Pennsylvanian

The full front page of the July 1, 1989 issue of The Daily Pennsylvanian

Fran Dunphy was newly hired as the Head Coach of the Men’s Basketball team, and Gary Steele was promoted to be the Head Coach of the Football Team.

The back page of the July 1, 1989, issue of The DP

The back page of the July 1, 1989, issue of The DP

What do you have in your attic? Share it with us by emailing upenn1993@gmail.com.

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion Countdown

The weekend of June 30 – July 1 2017, marked 45 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 14, 2018)!

Join us we count down the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:

  • Do you have old photos or mementos from our time at Penn? Photos of Spring Fling? Football at Franklin Field? Classes at DRL? We are taking a trip down memory lane and would love for you to share your memories with our class in a future post. Please email us upenn1993@gmail.com!
  • Join our reunion committee – email Lisa Grabelle at lisagrabelle@yahoo.com.
  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

Important hotel update! Overwhelming response from our great class has sold out the Downtown Marriott Class of 1993 room block for Saturday night. Here are alternatives if you are planning the Saturday night stay. We recommend booking ASAP! Please see our class website for additional details:

  1. Call the Downtown Marriott directly and book by phone under the “UPenn Alumni Weekend 2018” room block for $259/night. Call (800) 320-5744 (for international classmates, call (215) 625-2900).
  2. Book the Downtown Marriott on-line but select “Attendee” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Book at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel room block which is directly across the street and $279/night.
  4. Book at the Courtyard Philadelphia Downtown room block which is just 2 blocks away and $244/night.

 

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Filed under 25th Reunion, Class of 1993, Kiera R.