Tag Archives: Jane Gutman

Penn Serves LA Beautifies Roof for The Skid Row Housing Trust

By Michelle Wattana, C’09, and Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16

Penn Serves LA The Skid Row Housing Trust Los Angeles volunteering

On Saturday, April 21st, the Penn Serves LA crew partnered with The Skid Row Housing Trust, where our very own Anne Dobson, C’08, serves as the Vice President of Philanthropy! Spearheaded by Penn Serves board members Jane Gutman and Irene Park, we met at the ground level of The Six Apartments in the Westlake/MacArthur Park neighborhood. Our team gathered water, snacks, and tools and listened to Anne’s informative pep talk for the day’s activities before we headed up to beautify the building’s rooftop through re-planting drought-resistant succulents.

Penn Serves LA The Skid Row Housing Trust volunteering Los Angeles

The Six building where we planted on the rooftop.

Penn Serves LA The Skid Row Housing Trust Los Angeles volunteering

Our group of Penn Serves LA volunteers

The Skid Row Housing Trust provides permanent supportive housing so that people who have experienced homelessness, prolonged extreme poverty, poor health, disabilities, mental illness and/or addiction can lead safe, stable lives in wellness. Many of these tenants are formerly homeless veterans. The Trust develops, manages, and operates permanent and supportive housing for its residents, and while a number of its buildings such as The Six are not actually on Skid Row itself, these buildings are beautiful, light-filled, open structures that in their very essence, exude what The Trust aims to provide – not only a place to get a safe night’s sleep, but hope, calm, and positivity during one’s greatest time of need.

Penn Serves LA The Skid Row Housing Trust Los Angeles volunteering

Penn Serves LA volunteers plant succulents

Penn Serves LA The Skid Row Housing Trust Los Angeles volunteering

On the roof planting succulents

The Six houses 55 tenants. All units in the building were single tenant units, as the targeted tenant is the single adult, with the average age of a tenant being 52-53 years of age. The units in the Trust’s buildings are subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”). The accommodations are provided for as long as a tenant needs, allowing as much time as necessary to heal, and various support services are provided, depending on each tenant’s need. Such services include case management, medical care, substance abuse counseling, technology assistance, benefits support, and full support for relocating from the streets or emergency shelters, and into housing. It is paramount that those who have been homeless can receive all the support they need to make the transition from homelessness to independence.

With this in mind, our team eagerly headed up to the rooftop where we were met with gorgeous views of Los Angeles – from the downtown skyline to the Hollywood sign and everything in between. As hot as it was, we got down to business! Armed with gloves and shovels, the Penn Serves crew planted a vast array of succulents into squares of soil that spanned the entire length of the rooftop. Everyone was hard at work, and some residents even stopped by to chat and help!

Penn Serves LA The Skid Row Housing Trust Los Angeles volunteering

Beautiful views of downtown Los Angeles from the roof.

In-hand with our previous event, making mosaic art through Piece by Piece, some pieces were brought to further beautify the rooftop garden. A few pieces were made fresh by volunteers on-site at the rooftop, and it was really wonderful to be able to link our events for the same cause. The beads and tiles used to make the mosaics really glistened and sparkled in the sun, adding a really cheerful touch to the little garden we had just created!

Penn Serves LA The Skid Row Housing Trust Los Angeles volunteering Piece by Piece

Making mosaics for the garden with Piece by Piece

Our crew had a wonderful time working our hearts out, chatting with one another while planting those succulents and piecing mosaics together. Before we knew it, we finished our tasks with time to spare! As our work came to an end, we were able to enjoy a fantastic view and the fruits of our labor. The little plants and mosaics added just the right touch to spruce up the space! The succulents, in particular, were the perfect plant for the job, as they are symbols of resilience, perseverance, and hope, and possess the ability to thrive under tough conditions. We were all reminded that afternoon, that all of us have a right to live in peace and beauty, and that even just a little light in our day can brighten things up immensely. And it was our sincerest wish that the residents of The Six would be able to enjoy the serene rooftop whenever they needed.

Penn Serves LA The Skid Row Housing Trust Los Angeles volunteering Piece by Piece mosaics

Working on mosaics for the garden

Penn Serves LA The Skid Row Housing Trust Los Angeles volunteering Piece by Piece mosaics

Penn Serves LA The Skid Row Housing Trust Los Angeles volunteering Piece by Piece mosaics

The finished mosaic ball for the garden

Penn Serves LA logo volunteering with Penn Alumni in Los Angeles

Upcoming Events

About Penn Serves LA

 

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

Since our founding in 2012, 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 a 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.

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 | Michelle Wattana, C’09 | Denise Winner, W’83, PAR’21

Read about our previous events:

 

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Penn Serves LA Makes Mosaics with Piece by Piece

By Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’ 14, PAR’16

Inspired by a 2006 visit to a micro-finance enterprise, training and employing women with HIV to make animals and dolls using seed beads in South Africa, Piece by Piece founder, artist Sophie Alpert, returned home with a desire to replicate this model as a mosaic workshop to empower people in underserved areas of Los Angeles.

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Detail of a mosaic piece the Penn Serves LA volunteers worked on during their visit.

People seeking new skills from South Central, Skid Row or other parts of LA can take training and certification classes in mosaic arts, free of charge, through Piece by Piece.  The artisans primarily use recycled materials (broken tiles, china, and glass) to create mirrors, trivets, wall décor, etc.  In March at our day to volunteer with Piece by Piece, the Penn Serves LA group received their own brief instruction in mosaic making: breaking up and chipping china, using thinset and other adherents, and basic design, before charging ahead with their own creations.

Our enthusiastic Quakers worked in groups on designs for decorating flower pots, and also took turns applying mosaic fragments on a large birdbath.  Reticent at the start, everyone found their rhythm and enthusiastically worked through lunch….but food ultimately beckoned, and fortunately, Piece by Piece has their showroom at Mercado La Paloma, an inviting space in the Figueroa Corridor which was once a garment factory.   This wonderful community revitalization project today provides affordable cultural, retail and culinary opportunities and serves as a vital hub for the area.

The Penn volunteers learned a new skill, made friends across the decades, enjoyed Vegan Ethiopian food (for example) and shopped for handmade copper bowls, embroidered blouses or woven satchels.  I came home with a magnificent mosaic wall hanging with a huge heart made up of white stones, surrounded pieces of blue and white pottery…this creation, made b a master mosaic artist,  will long remind me of the heart-filled joint venture between Penn Serves LA volunteers and the Piece by Piece community.

To learn more, shop or volunteer your time, please go to piecebypiece.org.

Penn Serves LA Piece by Piece

The Penn Serves LA volunteers pose with their mosaic pieces

Upcoming Events

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.

Since our founding in 2012, 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 a 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.

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 | Michelle Wattana, C’09 | Denise Winner, W’83, PAR’21

Read about our previous events:

 

 

 

 

 

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Penn Serves LA Serves Thanksgiving Meals to the Homeless in Downtown LA

By Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16

It is difficult to imagine that in 1944 Fred Jordan came to Skid Row and found hungry people living in boxes with their meager possessions strewn around the asphalt.  Sadly very little has changed in the ensuing years.

But throughout that time the Fred Jordan Mission has been steadfast on Skid Row, “Loving the unloved, feeding the hungry and healing the hurting.”  The Jordan family continues to be involved in running this non-profit, faith-based and educational relief organization.

A large crowd of Penn volunteers of all ages showed up in two shifts on this exceedingly hot and sunny Thanksgiving.  There was no shortage of helpers. Crowds of single guests and families lined up patiently waiting for their meal, while city leaders and clergy spoke and music blasted from a stage.

Penn Serves LA Thanksgiving dinner at Fred Jordan Missions

Penn Serves LA volunteers arrive on Thanksgiving morning ready to help, photo courtesy of Justin Gordon.

Penn Serves LA Thanksgiving Fred Jordan Mission

The early morning crew gathers on an unusually warm Thanksgiving Day in LA. Photo courtesy of Kiera Reilly

The event was planned to create a festive, tasty and embracing Thanksgiving for the poor, the working poor and the homeless, and the Mission was prepared to serve 3000 people at their 73rd annual Street Banquet.

Penn Serves LA serves Thanksgiving Dinner at Fred Jordan Mission

Penn Alumni in front of the Fred Jordan Mission in downtown LA. Photo courtesy of Justin Gordon

Penn Serves LA volunteers helped set tables, arrange chairs, serve plates of food, pass out drinks and mingle with the crowds.  Rarely has one seen larger drumsticks or heartier portions of mashed potatoes, and the diners seemed grateful for the wonderful meal and the upbeat atmosphere.

Penn Serves LA Thanksgiving Dinner Fred Jordan Mission

Penn Serves LA volunteers setting up the dinner tables. Photo courtesy of Justin Gordon

 

Penn Serves LA Thanksgiving Dinner Fred Jordan Mission

Serving Thanksgiving Dinner at Fred Jordan Missions near Skid Row not far from downtown LA. Photo courtesy of Kiera Reilly

Some Penn volunteers helped to pack and hand out sizable bags of produce to guests after they finished their meals.  As the sun reached its peak, tables were cleared and folded up, bags of trash were taken inside the mission, and brooms were at work to leave the streets clean before evening set in.

The Penn volunteers headed back to their cars, home to families for their own Thanksgiving celebrations.  To get to our vehicles, we walked by tents on the sidewalks, various encampments and people returning to their lives on the streets.  Our “work” that day was easy, but one could not help but feel humbled by what we had observed and experienced.

Penn Serves LA Thanksgiving Dinner Fred Jordan Missions

Penn Serves LA volunteers hand out bags of food to guests as they leave after enjoying a Thanksgiving meal. Photo courtesy of Jane Gutman

Upcoming Events

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.

Since our founding in 2012, 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 a 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.

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 | Michelle Wattana, C’09 | Denise Winner, W’83, PAR’21

Read about our previous events:

 

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Penn Serves LA 2016 – 2017 Year in Review

Penn Serves LA logo volunteering with Penn Alumni in Los Angeles

Since 2012, Penn Serves LA has been dedicated to the mission of providing Penn alumni with vetted opportunities for meaningful community service in the Los Angeles area. We work with a diverse mix of community organizations, with hands-on programs in a variety of locations throughout the city, all under our motto of SERVE, LEARN and HAVE FUN too. In some cases, Penn alumni become involved with the organizations we serve on an ongoing basis.

The projects and the impact of Penn Serves LA, along with the engagement of our participants, during 2016-2017 are described below. This past year, Penn Alumni, along with their families and friends, participated in a broad array of service activities across a wide swath of the LA region. Our projects included home building, fruit picking, blanket crocheting, food re-purposing, fluorescent painting, and literacy celebrating.

We have already kicked off our 2017 – 2018 year of activities with several events:

A calendar of impactful activities and projects for the year ahead is scheduled, and we look forward to working alongside Penn alumni, families and friends in 2018. Confirmed events for 2018 include:

We welcome all Penn alumni and their families and friends to participate at our events and are deeply grateful to the many people who participated in our projects last year, whether one time or frequently.  Through active engagement, Penn Serves LA builds bonds among our alumni, across all years and schools, while contributing to the strength of our great city.

Please Email us to be added to our Penn Serves email list. And Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Penn Serves LA 2016 – 2017 Year in Review

Read about all the people and animals that have benefited from the efforts of our Penn Serves LA volunteers during the last academic year (click on the date to read about our event and on the organization name to learn more about the organizations we helped).

October 2016: Got Books? Led by CEO and Penn alumnus Parker Hudnut, ICEF Public Schools is a Los Angeles based charter operator that oversees nine inner-city charter schools serving over 3,500 K-12 students. Penn volunteers staffed a wonderful literacy day, helping with craft projects, reading to kids, and generally sharing their love of books with the eager young students and their families.

Penn Serves LA volunteers at ICEF public schools

Penn Serves LA volunteers and ICEF staff with books

November 2016: Alumni made a visit to LA Kitchen, an organization working to empower, nourish and engage our community by reclaiming and repurposing healthy, local food that would otherwise be discarded. Alumni donned aprons and wielded large knives to convert bruised fruits and vegetables into healthy meals for seniors and the disadvantaged.

Penn Serves LA volunteers with L.A. Kitchen after food prep

Penn Serves LA volunteers pose with members of L.A. Kitchen after a morning spent chopping, slicing and dicing food.

January 2017: Penn Serves volunteers were trained in the art of crocheting with the lofty goal of creating soft, cheerful handmade blankets. Blankets of Love donates these works of love to bring some sense of security and joy to babies leaving Martin Luther King, and other area hospitals, with mothers and families who have little or no means, or who are living on the street.

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January 2017: We toasted Ben Franklin’s birthday and the New Year at a festive cocktail party. Our attendees took a moment to share a bit of their Penn story and their motivation for engaging with Penn Serves LA. As is true at all events, a wonderful cross-section of Penn schools and years were represented and hearing the stories about people choosing to commit time and energy to improve our city was most inspiring.

A great crowd of alumni of all ages and backgrounds coming to learn about Penn Serves LA

A great crowd of alumni of all ages and backgrounds coming to learn about Penn Serves LA

April 2017: For the second time, Penn alumni partnered with Habitat for Humanity for a lengthy, exhausting and most memorable day of working on a new home side by side with the family that will live there. People caulked, sawed, framed, installed siding and generally felt terrific about learning new skills and contributing to creating a lovely home for a family in need.

Penn Serves LA helps Habitat for Humanity Los Angeles - volunteering Penn Alumni with Habitat LA

The Penn Serves LA group – proudly wearing the Red and the Blue – after helping Habitat LA

May 2017: On a very hot day, alumni drove great distances to Orcutt Farm to work with Food Forward, an organization that has “rescued” over 100 million servings of fresh local produce in the past eight years. We spent the afternoon in an orange grove with other volunteers and picked 6500 pounds of fresh oranges, which would be delivered that very day to some of the 300 shelters, senior centers, and agencies Food Forward serves.

Penn Serves LA at Food Forward

Penn Serves LA ready to help pick fruit for Food Forward

July 2017: It was a happy day when Penn Serves volunteers spent an afternoon using fantastic fluorescent colors to paint flowers on enormous disks. Portraits of Hope was started in 1995 to develop motivational art projects to provide creative therapy for children with special needs, and civic education for students, by producing dynamic public artworks. The 1000 disks we helped to create will be distributed to adorn and brighten animal shelters throughout the city.

Penn Serves LA Paints at Portraits of Hope in El Segundo

Penn Serves LA at Portraits of Hope

August 2017: For our final project of the academic year, our volunteers assisted LA Works, an umbrella organization that, like Penn Serves, strives to empower Angelenos to address pressing social issues through volunteerism and community collaborations. The activities this day were focused entirely on the pressing issue of family and youth homelessness, and we listened to first-hand stories, created fleece blankets, packed necessity kits and the like.

9.8.17 photo 1

 

 

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.

Since our founding in 2012, 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 a 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.

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 | Michelle Wattana, C’09 | Denise Winner, W’83, PAR’21

Read about our previous events:

 

 

 

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Filed under Alumni Programming, Jane G., Kiera R., Los Angeles, Michal Clements, Penn Serves, Penn Serves LA, Volunteering

Penn Serves LA Restores the Ballona Wetlands

By Michelle Wattana, C’09

Penn Serves LA at the Ballona Wetlands

Penn Serves LA at the Ballona Wetlands

It was a terrific day all around for the environment, community, and the twenty-six Penn volunteers who came out to help preserve native vegetation with Friends of Ballona Wetlands in Marina Del Rey! Donning hats and sunscreen, we started the morning off with a quick but informative overview on the local plants, insects, and animals found in the wetlands that are crucial to maintaining a healthy ecosystem. We learned that over the last century, invasive plant species have made their way into the wetlands (some from as far as New Zealand and South Africa!), slowly encroaching upon the beneficial species and detrimentally altering the balance of the local ecosystem. With every plant we pulled, we were going to make change that had positive lasting impacts!  And with that, we set out into the sunny outdoors to make way for the native plants that needed room to thrive, and for the insects and animals that depended on them.

Penn Serves LA Restores Ballona Wetland Acres of Vegetation to Preserve

Acres of Vegetation to Preserve

The Ballona Wetlands spans approximately 800 acres, and is one of Southern California’s precious remaining aquatic ecosystems. With only 10% of California’s original wetlands remaining today, restoration and preservation of local, beneficial species is more important than ever, as the wetlands are crucial to everything from air purification, flood protection, and fueling for the 240+ species of migrant birds that make the trek on the Pacific Flyway every year. Since 1978, Friends of Ballona Wetlands has been leading the effort to save and restore the area, working with environmental agencies, businesses, and over 95,000 volunteers to bring attention and resources toward preserving the wetlands.

Penn Serves LA Restores Ballona Wetlands volunteers learn to recognize invasive plants

Volunteers learning how to recognize invasive plants

Penn Serves LA Restores Ballona Wetlands

Penn Serves LA Restores Ballona Wetlands - family volunteering

Volunteering a family affair!

With just a pair of gloves each, Penn volunteers got right to work, pulling everything from ice plants to soft tumbleweed – adults and children alike had a great time helping the environment and getting to know one another better, while also receiving a nice morning workout! We took turns pulling, bagging, and carting off the invasive vegetation, and a few of us were lucky enough to catch sight of a hummingbird or butterfly, or two!

Penn Serves LA Restores Ballona Wetlands - smiles during break

All smiles during a well deserved break!

Penn Serves LA Restores Ballona Wetlands

Penn Serves LA board member Jane Gutman CW’73 and volunteers stacking the fruits of their labor

Penn Serves LA board member Jane Gutman CW’73 and volunteers stacking the fruits of their labor

Towards the end of the event, we stood back and marveled at our work – a good chunk of land was cleared for beneficial plants to thrive, and for seeding to take place in the Fall. We were then rewarded with a cool breeze and a beautiful view overlooking the salt marsh, reminding us just how important it is to keep the wetlands thriving. It was a true pleasure to do our part for mother nature!

Penn Serves LA restores Ballona Wetlands

The beautiful salt marsh

Penn Serves LA's Michal Clements, W'84, Jane Gutman, CW'73, XXX, and Michelle Wattana C'09

Penn Serves LA’s Michal Clements, W’84, Jane Gutman, CW’73, Elizabeth Gourlis, GED’08, and Michelle Wattana C’09 (impressive line-up of Penn attire ladies!)

Jane Gutman, CW'73, helps to clear out invasive vegetation

Jane Gutman, CW’73, helps to clear out invasive vegetation

Stay tuned for more fun, upcoming events with Penn Serves LA!

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.

Since our founding in 2012, 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.

Stay tuned for additional fall events which will be announced soon!

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 | Michelle Wattana, C’09 | Denise Winner, W’83

Read about our previous events:

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Filed under Guest blogger, Los Angeles, Penn Serves, Penn Serves LA

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

Penn Serves LA Paints with Portraits of Hope

By Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16

Penn Serves LA Paints at Portraits of Hope in El Segundo

Penn Serves LA at Portraits of Hope

What a happy day for thirty Penn volunteers!  We gathered in an air conditioned art studio in El Segundo to paint gigantic flowers stenciled on heavy cardboard to benefit Portraits of Hope.  Working with fantastic fluorescent paints, everyone shared tips (start in the center and work outwards, yellow covers best) and Penn stories while indulging our creative sides.  As always, the event attracted people from a range of classes and schools, and we were especially pleased to welcome three incoming “freshpeople,” Class of 2021!

Portraits of Hope was founded in 1995 by brothers Ed and Bernie Massey, originally to benefit sick and physically disabled children.  They wanted to develop motivational art projects to provide creative therapy for children with special needs, and civic education for students, by producing dynamic public art works.  Over time they have painted and transformed NASCAR racecars, a NY taxi fleet, airplanes, buses, buildings and more.

Penn Alumni and Penn Serves LA painting flowers at Portraits of Hope

Penn Alumni painting flowers at Portraits of Hope

Penn Serves LA painting at Portraits of Hope

Painting at Portraits of Hope

Penn Serves LA board members Kiera Reilly, C'93, and Jaime Kendall, W'04 paint a flower

Penn Serves LA board members Kiera Reilly, C’93, and Jaime Kendall, W’04 paint a flower

The project to which we contributed, and for which there are over 1000 discs of varying sizes, will adorn and illuminate a prominent pedestrian destination, the historic lily pond in Beverly Hills.  We hope people will visit this lovely spot after the show mounted and opened on August 3rd.  On weekends, bright lights and 3-D glasses, which our Penn Serves LA volunteers were able to preview, will make the flourescent flowers appear to float at varying levels – a fabulous, DayGlo, flower-filled water spectacle!

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Following a period on display at the lily pond, the discs will become part of a permanent beautification initiative for animal shelters in Los Angeles. Many of the Penn volunteers purchased colorful dog collars, leashes, sweatshirts and the like to benefit Portaits of Hope…my dogs love their new look!

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Join us this weekend (August 19) as we help for L.A. Works Day of Service and in the Fall for more fun Penn Serves LA projects, as together we continue to learn about and work with organizations making a difference in our community!

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.

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 Jane G., Penn Serves, Penn Serves LA, Volunteering