Give A Voice LA is a social media campaign to build community driven after school programs in healthy living and the arts. Give A Voice LA seeks to encourage dialogue among members in the greater Los Angeles Area and throughout the United States, in the hopes of inspiring others to implement and volunteer at their local community centers.
The campaign originally started as a way to “lobby” political leaders and active community members in the Los Angeles area and raise money and awareness for after school programs. Well how naïve we were! In these hard economic times people do not have money to put behind many causes; this is clearly a reason why funding is lacking in these areas of child services right now. So after we realized that trying to get people to donate money was impossible, we asked ourselves “WHAT CAN WE DO?”.
So we began to brainstorm ways that WE could make a difference and that is when Give A Voice LA was born. I definitely learned that if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. With this basic idea as the foundation of our thinking, we decided to we woulddevelop a 5 week after school program at Hoover Recreation Center in Los Angeles. Each week we concentrated on a specific pillar that we believed was a necessary skill for the youth living in today’s society (Pillars: Share, Reflect, Feel Discover, Understand). The kids in our program had the chance to play drums, participate in yoga, and cook (just to name a few).
Although the program only lasted for five weeks, it was great to see how much the children grew in such a short amount of time. They were quiet and shy in the beginning and now they are full of life and love to express themselves and try new things.
I’ve truly had an amazing experience. Seeing kids learning to play an instrument for the first time and their eyes lighting up is beyond touching. Further, reading their journals over the last few days (note: we had them keep journals throughout the program) really confirmed how much you make an impact in their lives. In particular one boy wrote about how he loved doing yoga and all the new poses he learned, it was the “Best Day Ever”. You never really know when you touch someone’s life. It amazing how simple it is to just go for an hour or two a week and teach kids and not think much about it, but when you hear their response to what you have done you begin to see how something so small can truly effect them.
I’m extremely excited going further, we’ve had a large response of people hoping to get involved next semester, so we plan to have two five week cycles in the Spring 2013.
If you want more information please go to www.facebook.com/giveavoicela
Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
– Sydney Allen; Give a Voice LA; Undergraduate Senior in Philosophy, Politics, and Law (USC Dornsife College of Arts & Science)