University News

UCLA's 2nd annual Volunteer Day sends 5,000 students to serve in L.A. communities Sept. 21

In the biggest student volunteer event of its kind in the nation, UCLA will send some 5,000 incoming freshmen and transfer students into communities throughout the greater Los Angeles area on Tuesday, Sept. 21, to paint, garden, clean up and otherwise improve 22 sites.
An additional 1,000 staff, faculty, alumni, upperclassmen and other volunteers are helping to organize and oversee the effort.  
The campus's second annual Volunteer Day comes just weeks after UCLA was honored in the Washington Monthly's annual rankings as the nation's top university in community service participation. The campus ranked third in the country in overall commitment to the public good.
More than half of UCLA's undergraduates participate in some form of community service, from tutoring young people and combating poverty and homelessness to providing legal, social, medical and educational assistance to others.
"Community service, volunteer work and engaged scholarship have been major parts of the UCLA student experience for many years," UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. "Volunteer Day emphasizes to students, before they even set foot in the classroom, that engaging in Los Angeles and improving the quality of life for our community are integral to their UCLA education."
Last year's Volunteer Day helped launch the new UCLA Volunteer Center, an online resource that centralizes information about service opportunities for the extended UCLA community.
No other campus has an event of this magnitude for incoming students. As part of a feat of logistics that has taken months of planning, more than 100 buses will transport the new UCLA students from the campus to the 22 locations throughout the city.
Improvement projects include cleaning and painting at the downtown Union Rescue Mission, where the UCLA Nursing School runs a health clinic for the skid row community; fire hazard abatement in Griffith Park; cleanup and trail restoration at Point Dume State Beach in Malibu; mural painting on the Santa Monica Pier and cleanup along 25 miles of coastline; gardening and landscaping at a downtown senior center; cage construction at the Star Eco wildlife rescue center in Culver City; landscaping and other assistance at the Veterans Affairs hospital and cemetery in West Los Angeles; college-preparatory mentoring at six Los Angeles Unified School District campuses; and numerous mural, beautification and other projects. (For a detailed list, see the end of this release.)
The buses will start rolling at approximately 8:30 a.m., and projects are expected to be completed by around 12:30 p.m., when students will be taken back to the UCLA campus.
Among the outstanding volunteers who will take part in Volunteer Day are:
D'Artagnan Scorza, a UCLA graduate student in education, who will serve as the Volunteer Day site leader at the Morningside Community Garden in Inglewood. Scorza, who is from Inglewood, has blended his research and service activities, focusing on social justice issues and offering young black males in underserved communities the opportunity to succeed. The creation and upkeep of the community garden, which provides fresh, organic vegetables to the community, is a project that continues to empower students from Morningside High School.
Cynthia Gonzalez, a first-year UCLA biology major, is the first in her family to attend college. Cynthia's immigrant parents struggled financially — her father working in sanitation and her mother staying at home — but she was raised knowing she could fulfill her wish to attend college. Realizing that many children around her did not share that belief, she devoted numerous hours to tutoring elementary school students and helping connect high school students to college students online. Her goal is to work in health care for underserved communities or in another capacity that helps her community.
Eric Lopez Guerra, a freshman and first-generation college student who hopes to become a software engineer, will turn 18 on Volunteer Day. His family has struggled, with his father, a soldier who served in Iraq, stationed at bases across the country and his mother working two jobs to help make ends meet — and sometimes there was still not enough food to go around. Despite these hardships, Lopez Guerra has been committed to community service. During his senior year at San Clemente High School in Orange County, he was president of the Interact Club, which organized community service activities like food drives and beach cleanups. At Thanksgiving and Christmas last year, the group gathered donations at a local grocery store and assembled food packages for about 200 families in need. At UCLA, Lopez Guerra plans to remain involved in helping schools and families. "I like the feeling I made a difference," he said.
For the second year in a row, Volunteer Day is being funded by a $250,000 grant from the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Hollywood's leading charity, as part of its "iParticipate" campaign to inspire action and promote a new way of thinking about service. Other supporters include the Ann C. Rosenfield Fund, Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Verizon and Flip Video.
Volunteer Day will be held during UCLA's True Bruin Welcome Week. UCLA classes begin Thursday, Sept. 23.
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer more than 323 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Five alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.
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Project locations, descriptions and student participation:
Union Rescue Mission, downtown (420 students)
545 South San Pedro St., Los Angeles, CA 90013
Activities: cleaning sleeping areas, painting mural in UCLA Nursing Health Center, rooftop painting, cleaning, gardening
My Friend's Place, Hollywood (72 students)
5850 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028
Activities: cleaning
Point Dume State Beach, Malibu (505 students)
7200 Westward Beach Rd., Malibu, CA 90265
Activities: cleaning, trail restoration
Beach Protection Project (1,092 students)
Activities: beach cleaning, touch-ups of lifeguard tower railings over 25 miles of coastline
Santa Monica Pier (153 students)
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Activities: mural, beach cleaning
Ballona Institute, Venice (90 students)
1531 Ocean Front Walk, Los Angeles, CA 90291
Activities: planting, restoration of wetlands
Griffith Park, 13 locations (703 students)
4730 Crystal Springs Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90027
Activities: landscaping, fire-hazard removal
Veterans Cemetery, West Los Angeles (72 students)
950 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049
Activities: landscaping
Gompers Middle School, South Los Angeles (144 students)
234 East 112th St., Los Angeles, CA 90061
Activities: painting, mural, college-preparatory mentoring
Monroe High School, San Fernando Valley (378 students)
9229 Haskell Ave., North Hills, CA 91343
Activities: painting, mural, landscaping, college-preparatory mentoring
University High School, West Los Angeles (153 students)
11800 Texas Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025
Activities: painting, mural, landscaping, college-preparatory mentoring
Emerson Middle School, West Los Angeles (355 students)
1650 Selby Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024
Activities: painting, mural, landscaping, college-preparatory mentoring
Nora Sterry Elementary School, West Los Angeles (74 students)  
1730 Corinth Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025
Activities: painting, mural, landscaping
99th Street School, South Los Angeles (215 students)  
9900 Wadsworth Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90002
Activities: gardening, mural, landscaping
Veterans Affairs Hospital, West Los Angeles (144 students)
11301 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA  90073
Activities: assisting veterans, setting lunch areas, washing vehicles, painting, restoration
Angelus Plaza Senior Activity Center, downtown (100 students)
255 South Hill St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
Activities: gardening, landscaping
Red Cross headquarters, West Los Angeles (117 students)
11355 Ohio Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025
Activities: washing emergency vehicles, mural, prepping emergency supplies
Star Eco Station, Culver City (45 students)
10101 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232
Activities: cage construction, cleaning     
Lummis House, Lincoln Heights (45 students)
200 E. Avenue 43, Los Angeles, CA 90031
Activities: gardening
Morningside Community Garden, Inglewood (45 students)
10500 S. Yukon Ave., Inglewood, CA 90303
Activities: gardening
Leimert Park, Crenshaw area (50 students)
4305 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008
Activities: painting, restoration
La Brea Tar Pits (127 students)
5801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
Activities: cleaning, painting, fossil-sorting
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