The 5th Annual UTW Day – Positive Local Action

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



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

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