Looking to help women in need in Los Angeles? I’ve compiled a list of worth NGO’s I have worked with:
Center for Pacific Asian Family
A women shelter started in 1978 for victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault & more
“Our mission is to build healthy and safe communities by addressing the root causes and the consequences of family violence and violence against women. CPAF is committed to meeting the specific cultural and language needs of API women and their families.”
Downtown Women Center
325 S. Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles, CA
(a clip of an interview with Vanessa Wai, a volunteer coordinator of DWC is in my reel.)
“Founded in 1978, the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that provides 40,000 meals, 45 permanent supportive housing apartments, and a wide array of health, education, and other supportive services to more than 2000 homeless and very low-income women each year. The Center meets our mission by offering a warm, friendly atmosphere that encourages homeless women to commit to their own betterment and healing process. Our supportive community and much-needed resources allow homeless women to reconnect with their sense of self, reclaim goals lost in the day-to-day struggle for survival on the streets, and move toward self-sufficiency. In the local Skid Row community, the Downtown Women’s Center is the only resource that is exclusively for and singularly dedicated to serving the unique needs of this population.”
Thanksgiving morning 2008: 2nd from right is me serving the Gravy.. trying not to spill. and Marcia Cross, of Desperate Housewives 3rd from left, it has been tradition for her to serve for the DWC for years.
There was no better way to spend Thanksgiving day than volunteering for such a charitable organization as Downtown Women Center. After volunteering, we should be so grateful to have families to spend our Thanksgiving evening & weekends with. I am grateful for the warm spirit of the residents & volunteers at the Downtown Women Center.
After food was served and consumed, there was karaoking on stage!! The women sang beautifully to classic 70s groovy tunes. If American Idol were to see, they’d definitely blow all the others away.
What you can do for DWC: Donate money to house homeless women. Donate clothes. Birthday Guilds: Once a month, you may host birthday parties for the women.
DWC isn’t a shelter that just takes anyone. For a woman to become a resident at the DWC, there are months of screening/interviewing and chores to accomplish. In this way, they provide shelter for the individuals that really need it and women that do want to improve. DWC helps them find jobs through confidence building, interview training and more. Many of these women come from domestically violent relationships, and as a result, had no where to go, but the streets.
In early 2007, I volunteered one Saturday morning, among 23 other women; 5 volunteers placed on different corners of Skid Row, Downtown LA, to interview homeless women. We each interviewed 5-10 in a matter of 3 hours. It was an application prepared by the shelter, in effort to compile data for the government, about 5 pages, deeply personal questions. The women were very open about answering them, doing whatever it takes to get their message out, and be heard. I heard them. And I wish the world would too. It was so difficult to hold in tears after many hardship stories. We handed them bags with beauty products & toiletry as a minimum effort to thank them for their time & honesty.
Questions consisted of how long they’d been homeless for, if they had been sexually/physically abused under the age of 18, over 18, domestically abused, separated from their children, educational background, been in jail… the conflicts with law enforcement, the access to housing/food/health care.
It’s easy for people to forget the struggles of our neighbors, and turn our head when we see homeless individuals. The easy way of letting them out of our mind is to say it was due to laziness that they have not made it here in America “The land of Opportunities”. “I came to this country with nothing, I worked hard, and look where I’m at now,” is one I hear from some people here. And I concur to that, as my parents have started with very little in a foreign country they knew nothing about, nor the language. But we also tend to forget how fortunate we are to have this foundation laid upon us that many don’t.
I think to succeed as a human being, it’s not about the money in our bank account. It’s about helping others. It’s about giving, giving to our loved ones, and giving to those in need. As a start, we should see why it is there are homelessness in America, the hyperpower of the world, among the richest. Learn where they grew up. School districts neighboring each other have such a dichotomy between the rich and poor, neighborhoods within 2 blocks of one another in Los Angeles can range in housing price from 300,000 to 1,000,000. Neither care to step to the other side. Many kids are scared to go to school, due to gang violence; scared to come home because of domestic violence. If there is no foundation at home, nor inspiration at school, it is very rare for individuals to be self-driven. There are so many other attributes to the subject of Homelessness, but why not start with these few thoughts.