Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” Speech echoes in the minds of many on this nationally recognized holiday. Parades, memorials, and public gatherings are common throughout Los Angeles to honor what MLK has done for our country. For the “I Have a Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles and its affiliates across the United States, MLK Day marks a day to give back and partake in volunteer projects. The Dreamers and IHAD staff all take part in community service projects to give back and pay it forward. This year, each of IHADLA’s program sites–Inglewood, Watts, and Boyle Heights–took part in separate projects that benefited different individuals and communities in and beyond Los Angeles County. These LA volunteer projects not only help shape various communities and positively impact the lives of others, but also teach our Dreamers the wonderful feeling of giving back and doing good for other people.
IHADLA Inglewood: LA Regional Food Bank
Dreamers from Program 16/17 in Inglewood paid it forward by participating in a day of volunteering at the LA Regional Food Bank. This project was very well suited for our 9th and 10th grade Dreamers, as they were able to successfully sort, sift, and pack large amounts of food that would be distributed to various locations throughout the greater Los Angeles area. The LA Regional Food Bank relies on volunteers to make this process possible and would not be able to provide food to individuals in need without a constant stream of volunteers. Our Dreamers were joined by their program coordinators, Chaznae and Morgan, their program assistant, Erik, our development manager, Emily, and our CEO/executive director, Debra. The IHADLA team was assigned to sort through and pack different types of bread and bread products. From 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM our team worked tirelessly to change lives and make sure people would have food to eat! We are incredibly proud of their successful day of service!
Our high school Dreamers and IHADLA staff sorted and boxed 7,154 pounds of bread, which will feed about 6,000 families.
IHADLA Watts: Watts Clean Up
Our 6th grade Dreamers from Program 18 in Watts and some of the IHADLA staff took part in an outdoor clean up on Central Avenue in Watts. Program coordinators Lupe and Alberto organized the day of cleaning up the streets through the East Side Bike Riders Club (ESBRC) of Los Angeles. The Dreamers, Lupe, Alberto, program Assistant Kylia, and our development and marketing coordinator, Taylor, met up at the ESBRC’s CO-OP on Central Avenue in Watts. John Jones III of the ESRBC explained why they were hosting this day of service for the Watts community and what the ESRBC does for the community. Soon, everyone took to the streets and began cleaning up by raking, sweeping, shoveling, and bagging excess trash and rubbish along and on the streets. Thanks to the guidance of the ESRBC and other wonderful organizations and volunteers that came out to help (Foundation for Second Chances and the LA Conservation Corps), the Watts clean up day was hugely successful–the streets looked amazing! (Update: Sadly, the East Side Bike Riders Club has permanently closed)
From 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM, the Dream Team in Watts cleaned Central Avenue from 114th to 108th Street, bagging more than twenty 50-gallon trash bags on each side of the street!
IHADLA Boyle Heights: Meals on Wheels
Our newest class of 3rd grade Dreamers from Sunrise Elementary in Boyle Heights took part in their first MLK Day of Service Project by decorating paper bags for Meals on Wheels recipients! With help from program coordinators Raquel and Cursta and program assistants Mayra and Josh, the Program 19 Dreamers creatively decorated numerous paper bags with positive quotes and drawings to help put a smile on the meal recipients’ faces. The Dreamers used crayons, markers, and colored pencils to beautifully illustrate what they thought was fun, inspirational, and happy on the bags to ensure those receiving the meals on the other end would smile when reading them. This volunteer project was really amazing for the young Dreamers because they were able to learn about what Meal on Wheels does for different community members and how their contribution would help others. While designing the bags, many of the Dreamers were excitedly bragging about how much their “friend” would like their drawings!
The Dreamers decorated more than 100 bags in total!
Volunteer Los Angeles MLK Day of Service Photos
We are always looking for volunteers at IHADLA, too!