• For the past four years, we organized public, day-long events to celebrate UTW Day. We invited local organizations that are about positive local actions and provided them with a platform. We had live music, real time video calls with people in other countries having their official UTW Day events, and raffles raising money for A Million Drops.

    This year, we did something completely different. We practiced what UTW stands for: Positive. Local. Action. On UTW Day 2017, we gave a make-over to 2nd Chance For Sobriety, a sober living house in Los Angeles.

    Sober living instead of prison time

    2nd Chance For Sobriety is a small, inconspicuous building on South Western. Nothing on the outside gives away what is going on inside, and one would never guess that the house is the (temporary) home for seventy men ages 20 to 45. Before they moved here, these men were doing time in County jail or prison for drug related charges. A program created by the city of L.A. looks for candidates that qualify to finish their sentences at 2nd Chance, giving them the chance for recovery. One of the criteria to get this opportunity is to have no prior convictions for violence.

    Darrel, a young homeless man, is one of the residents who currently live at 2nd Chance.  A Million Drops had been supporting him for a while when he was arrested last year. After he had spent two months in jail,  the judge sent him to 2nd Chance. With nothing tocall his own but the clothes on his body, and his cellphone, Darrel reached out to AMD director Maike and asked for help. A few days later she went to visit him for the first time.

    Sitting next to Darrel in the Visitation Room, Maike couldn’t help but notice the peeling paint and sad decor, and she wondered how anybody was supposed to find the strength to make a positive life change in such a depressing environment.

    An idea was born

    Working as a set decorator in tv and film, Maike knew how easily a space can be transformed, and what started just as an idea quickly became a plan. With the help of her network, the vision was put on paper, a project presentation was created to help reach out to potential donors and volunteers. The goal was to beautify three areas – the Visitation Room, the Dining Area and the Back Yard.

    BEFORE: three areas were chosen to receive a makeover

    Visitation Room: Before

    Dining Area: Before

    Back Yard: Before

     

     

    Getting ready

    Leading up to UTW Day, our team spent weeks planning, fund raising and asking for help with needed items and materials. The support was incredible. Individuals and companies followed our call and supported the project with monetary and in-kind donations. (Please see the list below). And then it was finally time to get to work.

     

    DURING: Volunteers and residents, working together, side by side

    On UTW Day, team members, volunteers and residents worked tirelessly from 7 am to 7 pm. Together, we were able to completely transform the space. The emphasis is on ‘together’!

    Two volunteers are building benches for the Visitation Room

    Volunteers, management and residents working together

    Three sun sails were the perfect addition for the back yard

    Working with plants can be very therapeutical

    Painting the Visitation Room

    These planter boxes were made from old pallets

    A deck was the only way to create a straight surface for furniture

    It was great to see how throughout the day,  more and more of the residents got involved.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    They painted, they planted a vegetable garden; they helped move furniture around and made suggestions for improvements that our team had not thought of.

    THE RESULTS: Better than the vision

    The results are fantastic, not only were we able to create the look of the mock-up pictures we put in the presentation, we actually made it look even better. At the end of the day, everyone, volunteers as well as residents and management, was blown away. The whole experience was so inspiring for everyone involved that we are already talking about what we can do next.

    After: The Dining Area

    After: The Back Yard

    After: The Visitation Room

     

    OUR DONORS

    A heartfelt thank you the generous donors who made this project possible!
    Alley Cats Props
    Alpha Medical Props
    Elevated Deck Systems
    Faux Library Studio Props
    Ralph Fowler
    Green Set Inc.
    Hand Prop Room
    Gary Hidalgo/NCIS
    Hollywood Studio Gallery
    Hollywood Trophy Co.
    Lennie Marvin’s Prop Heaven
    Al Limon
    Mark’s Paint Shop
    Nest Studio Rentals
    Objects Fine Set Decorations
    Omega Cinema Props
    Practical Props
    RC Vintage
    Simply Discount Furniture
    The Home Depot

  • UTW Day is celebrated annually in countries around the globe, introducing individuals and groups who take positive action in their communities, spreading awareness and inspiring others to join.

    The 5th annual UTW Day will take place on Saturday, June 2017. Here in L.A., we are going to give a make-over to a sober living house called 2nd Chance For Sobriety. At any given time, seventy men ages 20 to 60 live at 2nd Chance for up to a year, many of them by court order.

    Darrel, a young homeless man whom we have supported for a couple of years is one of them. When AMD’s director/UTW Day producer Maike went to visit him at 2nd Chance, all she could think of was how sad and depressing the place looked, and she wondered how anybody could possibly get sober in such an environment.

    Working in set decoration on tv shows and feature films, Maike knew how easy one can make a space look completely different. She decided to reach out to her friend, production designer Denise Pizzini, who immediately loved the idea. Together they went to visit the rehab to figure out what could be done with little money in just one day. Denise created an amazing mood board, visualizing the beautification of three areas – the Visitation Room, the Dining Area and the Back Yard.

  • Frankie felt immediately drawn to this piece by Kris Williams.

    Our opening reception for ‘Unsheltered’ – Art by Homeless, At-Risk Youth & Young Adults of Los Angeles on Saturday, February 4 was a full success!

    A seemingly endless stream people came in to check out the 44 pieces that were up on the walls of Wash On Western (WOW), a brand new, very hip laundromat in the heart of Hollywood. Friends, family, co-workers, strangers, some who had followed our invite, others who just happened to walk by.

    We had a full house, people loved the art and everybody enjoyed free tacos and lemonade, generously donated by WOW. And if that wasn’t enough, chiropractor Dr. Robert Zeravica set up a treatment table and offered free adjustments!

    At the end of the day, 15 works by young homeless had been sold and will be displayed in someone’s home soon. For now though, they are still up on the walls at WOW, so don’t worry if you couldn’t make it last Saturday. The show will continue throughout the month, and WOW is open 24/7. There are still 30 unsold pieces, beautiful, exciting works waiting for someone to fall in love with them. Prices start as low as $15.

    Laura fell in love with  Neil Massey’s ‘Life Is Strange’.

    Claudia chose an original by Morgan Movesaround for her home.

    Ren picked ‘Blue Smoke’ by Neil Massey for her collection.

    Artist Andrew Washington was thrilled to sell this piece to Gus.

     

  • 1 wall, 12 artists, 44 pieces. Framed, cataloged and ready for the grand opening  of ‘Unsheltered’ – Art by Homeless, At-Risk Youth & Young Adults of Los Angeles.

    We couldn’t be more excited. For the fifth time in two years, we are proudly presenting “Unsheltered’, a vibrant diverse collection of art, allowing a glimpse into the lives of  young artists, their struggles, hopes and dreams.

    Please join us on Saturday, February 4 between Noon-4 pm for the opening reception at Wash On Western. You will get a chance to meet some of the young artists, and maybe make one of their pieces yours. 100% of the proceeds go to the artist.

    Opening reception Saturday, February 4 Noon-4 pm at Wash On Western, 1548 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027

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    Prepping the art wall at Wash On Western

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    Every piece was carefully framed and cataloged

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    Clarence working on the exhibit descriptions

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    Art, art, art… as far as the eye can see

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    Artist Dondrell Lee dropping off his pieces

     

     

     

     

  • Since 2013, A Million Drops has been cruising the streets of Hollywood looking for young homeless in need. We take the time to sit with them and talk to better understand how we can help, and we will keep doing all this, but we want to be more effective and have more visibility. Rather than walking around, trying to find a young homeless whom we promised a sleeping bag or new underwear, we want them to be able to find us, on specific days, at specific locations.

    That’s why we want to buy a used short bus, wrap it with our beautiful A Million Drops logo and turn it into our easily recognizable, mobile outreach center.

    Disney storyboard artist Wendy Grieb and her art students created this super cute image of our future A Million Drops bus for us, and we started a fundraiser on GoFundMe, asking our friends, family and co-workers for support.

    We understand that times are tough for everyone, but please consider donating! Even the smallest amount will make a difference!

    And if you can’t afford sending money, please help us by sharing the fundraiser on social media and with your circle of friends. Thank you!

  • A Million Drops had posted on Facebook, asking people to donate their unused art supplies, acrylic and oil paints, brushes, color pencils, paper, canvasses etc., so we could pass them on to the young artists who have participated in our recurring exhibition, Unsheltered Art.

    Unsheltered Art show at Gallery Wallspace

    Unsheltered Art show at Gallery Wallspace

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    Awesome donor Sydnee Miller dropping off a whole crate of goodies

    A lot of people followed our call, and dropped of crates and bags full of donations.

     

    On Saturday, we invited the young artists to meet with us so they could pick  the materials they need to create their pieces.

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    Artist Wolfgang looking for color pens for his next piece

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    Kris and Marquze scored acrylic paints and canvasses

  • Some impression from this year’s Thanksgiving meal that our board members shared with 15 young men and women, whom we have gotten to know over the past couple of years doing our outreach work. They are homeless, some sleep on friends’ couches, others stay at a youth shelter, and a couple of them are lucky enough to live in an old RV.

    We had organized a pick up at the Metro station in North Hollywood, and shortly after 2 pm, everybody started showing up at Denise’s place. Denise has the biggest heart; without thinking twice she offered to have the event at her house, and I am still amazed how laid back she was considering the mess we made in her kitchen. 🙂

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    The banquet table set up in the backyard was barely long enough to fit all 20 of us, and there was plenty of yummy food, more than enough for for everyone.

    I loved to have everyone together at the same time, sharing a meal and exchanging ideas.

    Getting to know these young people helps us to better understand their needs and find ways how we as A Million Drops can be more effective in the support we provide.

     

     

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    Food preparations the night before

     

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    Board Member Don with Darryl and Marquze, two of our guests

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    Good thing there was plenty of food…

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    Joshua, Jessica and DJ

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    AMD founder Maike with Jessica and Joshua

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    Too many cooks in the kitchen?

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    Marquze relaxing with a full belly

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    Denise, our wonderful hostess, preparing the stuffing

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    How many cranberries does one need to prepare sauce for 20?

  • Reaching out to you, we asked for your support. And you were willing to help. With your support, within only fourteen days, we were able to raise over $2,500, enough for a used RV.

    Bob, Alexis and AMD members Maike and Ross.

    Bob, Alexis and AMD members Maike and Ross.

    On Thursday, April 21 we did it, we bought an RV for our homeless friend Alexis. She moved in the same night, and her life has taken a 180 degree turn since then… She has been able to take showers in the privacy of her own home, has been able to cook and decorate and clean her clothes… and and and … all the things that we take for granted. And less than a week later, Alexis had her first job interview at a local restaurant.

    Alexis, Bridgette and Jada in their new home

    Alexis, Bridgette and Jada in their new home

    There are still things that need to be taken care of, like registration and insurance and some repairs, and we would like to be able to continue our support for Alexis for a few more weeks until she is financially secure enough to stand on her own two feet.

    Please consider making a small donation to support this cause! Your contribution will be tax deductible, and we will be able to provide you with a donation receipt.

    If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at http://amilliondrops.org/contact/.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping us help Alexis!

    Maike Both
    Founder/CEO of A Million Drops

  • … and we need your help to do that.

    When we first met Alexis in the fall of 2014, she and her two dogs lived in a tent on a grassy hill off the 101 freeway. We quickly became friends; we were humbled and impressed by how, in spite of her own desperate situation, she would still help others, always willing to share what little she had. Alexis took great pride in cleaning up, not just her campground, but also the surrounding area, and at some point Alexis even started growing tomato and other edible plants, and all the neighbors loved and supported her.

    This all came to an abrupt end during a raid by the sheriff’s department when deputies destroyed and trashed most of her belongings. Alexis was left with nothing. Not knowing where to go, and too ashamed to ask for help, she ended up on a side walk in East Hollywood, surrounded by drug dealers and violence.

    Alexis5

    We want Alexis to be safe.

    How Alexis was able to keep going is a mystery to me. I would have given up long ago. But somehow, Alexis made her way into Hollywood, where she found a street that felt it little safer than her prior location, and she started doing what comes naturally to her: she cleaned up.

    She picked up trash and she made sure drug dealers knew they weren’t welcomed on the block. Seeing the difference, neighbors took notice, telling her how much they appreciate her work and eventually, a kind and generous property owner allowed Alexis to set up a small shed at the far end of a parking lot and live in it.

    And she did; she make it her home with a bed, a small wardrobe, a shelf and a chair, and an outdoor camping shower. Again, she started growing fruit and vegetables, she even built a fountain, and continued to make sure that the street was clean and safe.

    Until someone reported her to the city. An inspector came out on Monday, 04/04/2016 and ordered Alexis to vacate the premises. Desperate and at the end of her rope, Alexis reached out to us. We drove over there quickly, spoke to some of the neighbors as well as to  LAPD Senior Lead Officer Paul Jordan, who has been very supportive of Alexis since she moved into his district, and together, we decided that we need to get organized and help.

    Of course it would be best if Alexis could move into an apartment, but time is of essence, and as there are more homeless than housing options in L.A.,  we decided the most simple and immediate solution will be to buy a used RV that will be a home for Alexis until we can find a more permanent solution. A couple of legal, overnight parking options have already been offered, all that is needed now is the vehicle.

    In just 10 days, we have been able to raise over $2,100, and we have started to look at used RVs that are for sale. In order to get a decent one, and to cover taxes and insurance, we need to raise another $1,400.

    If you would like to help us help Alexis, please go to https://www.gofundme.com/ahomeforAlexis. Every dollar counts and will make a difference, and since we are a 501 c3 non-profit, we will even be able to provide you with a donation receipt.

    If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us !

    Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping us help Alexis!

    Maike

  • One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

    Join us for Rummage In The Parking Lot, our second fundraiser of the year.  Clothing, household items, books, electronics and more will be priced to sell!

    Bring a friend and join us for a fun morning of great finds that, in turn, help some of our neighbors in need.

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    See you this Saturday, April 16th, 7am – 2pm, 7990 San Fernando Rd, Sun Valley, CA 91352 (Enter parking lot on Lorne St./back of building.).

    Please share this with  your friends and tell them that all proceeds will go to A Million Drops to help the homeless and at-risk youth and young adults in Hollywood.