Yesterday was September 11th. I think everyone can remember where they were 12 years ago when they received word about the Twin Towers. For me, I was a college kid at Eastern Michigan University; sound asleep in my dorm room. Once the first tower went down, my mom called and woke me up just in time to watch the second fall. It was an incredibly sad day indeed.
picture courtesy of zoonabar from Flickr
To honor those who volunteered (and gave up) so much that day–and the coming weeks–September 11th has been nationally recognized as a Day of Service and Remembrance. I know we all do not need a good reason to “pay it forward” or help our communities, but should you choose to do something extra special this week–or in the future–I will be posting links to various local charities. Go lend a helping hand. Pick up that piece of trash on the side of the road. Read a book to a child. Do something, get involved, make a difference.
To start off the first highlighted charity, I’ll go with one that’s near and dear to my heart. I’ve worked extensively with these guys over the years–starting a donation program on their behalf during my tenure with Oakwood. These guys work tirelessly to help homeless men and women turn around their lives, get education and work experience, and feed and clothe those in need. Kudos, LA Mission.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a HUGE horse enthusiast, and has been riding since I was 9. Out of Atwater Village, this group empowers girls to find their own voice through writing & photography classes, urban gardening, and yes–even horsepower.
Located in Van Nuys, these guys are dedicated to rescuing America’s children from both the streets and the ravages of child prostitution. Wow. Seriously, wow.
With two locations in Van Nuys and Reseda, ONEgeneration is about bringing together the community to support EVERYONE, young to old. There are programs for young children, to at risk youth, to senior day care.
You might have seen Food Forward’s workers in your neighborhood. These guys rescue fresh local produce that would otherwise go to waste, connecting this abundance with people in need, and inspiring others to do the same. Some of the ways are by picking fruit from individual homeowner trees who have a surplus or taking the food unsold at Farmer’s Markets and donating it to the local food bank. Cool, huh?!
There are many animal rescues local–from the local animal shelter, to individual breeders. But the Boxer Rescue LA is located right here in Encino with a kennel in the east valley. Walk dogs, clean kennels, adopt. Speaking as a former Michigan Humane Society employee–the moments these animals spend with people are the best moments in their day.
And while we’re on an animal kick, let’s turn it to strays. Did you know that eradicating feral cats will not solve a feral problem because they will actually breed in order to fill the gap? Fix Nation offers free trap-sterilize-return. They’ll lend you traps and teach you how to use them. They’ll even do house pets at a low cost. I already have two strays in our neighborhood signed up and awaiting their snip-snip date. Sorry boys, but you’ll thank me for it later!
I would be a terrible real estate agent if I didn’t at least mention Habitat for Humanity. Everybody knows that Habitat for Humanity helps build homes for those in need, but not everybody knows where they can go to help pitch in.
Perhaps the one that chokes me up the most today is Wounded Warrior Project. The amount that these guys–and their families–give up to support us is humbling. The scars–both visible and invisible–take their toll no matter how strong you are.
Culture is important to all of us, no matter what background you might have. California Traditional Music Society takes music to underprivileged kids and helps them learn their culture through it. Pretty neat, huh?
There are tons of things that you can do.
If you’d like more information on the San Fernando Valley or Los Angeles, or to have help looking for your next home, please feel free to reach out! I’m happy to help, no obligation.
From reading at your public library to teaching English as a second language. I wish I could highlight them all. There’s a reason why I donate 5% of my commission to charity: the community it builds is important to me. And so, to close off I will just say–check out pages like www.VolunteerMatch.org
or even Yelp. Maybe even on the small scale, like by spending time with an elderly neighbor or walking a pet for a neighbor that’s injured/sick. Little things will brighten not only your day but theirs as well!