All posts in UTW Day

  • The A Million Drops Learning Center

    June 9th was a BIG day for A Million Drops. We held our 6th Annual UTW Day. We had another successful Unsheltered Art Show. And both of these events happened at the Grand Opening of our very own A Million Drops Learning Center. What a day it was indeed.

    The Learning Center
  

    We’re very excited to share the news about our new Learning Center. It had been a goal for a very long time to have a place where homeless and at-risk young adults could come in off the street to read, learn and get the help they need to improve their life situation.

    Our opening day was a tremendous success. We had a huge turnout of friends, people from the community as well as our board members and many of our peers in the non-profit and fundraising community that work to help improve the lives of homeless and at-risk youth and young adults.

    The Learning Center offers opportunities to study as well as teach, and gives those in the community a brick-and-mortar location where they can come donate their time, needed items or money to help improve the lives of others.

    Unsheltered

    Coupled with the opening of the Center was Unsheltered VII, our recurring art exhibit presenting works by homeless, young adults. In the past we featured drawings and paintings. This time around we decided to make it a “photographs only” show.

    In realizing that not everyone is comfortable with paint, we thought everyone can take a photograph. This allowed for many more of our local homeless and at-risk young adults to take part.

    We raised money and spirits. The art exhibit resulted in many pieces being sold, with a majority of the proceeds going directly to the artists. They were thrilled, of course.

    Opening Day was also the day when we started to create our edible garden in the back of the lot. Thanks to the California sun and frequent watering (taken care of by Craig, one of our young clients) the little vegetable plants and herbs have already grown in nicely.

    Self Defense Class

    Directly behind our new Learning Center we have access to a banquet hall. That is were we held our very first community Self Defense Class. Supported by the Hollywood United Neighborhood Council (HUNC) this event was open to all members of the local community, and it was a rousing success.

    It was especially fulfilling to see some of our more shy and introverted friends step outside of their comfort zone to take part in learning how to defend themselves. The class was taught by Jean Morrison, a veteran self-defense teacher and life coach. The event was so well received we have already scheduled our next class for July 14th.

    Future Classes and Events

    In addition to the Self Defense Class, we have a number of events and classes scheduled: Local artist Sophie Pleshette started to teach a weekly Art Class with the goal to create pieces that our young people will paint on utility boxes along Hollywood Blvd. This project is supported by the Hollywood United Neighborhood Council (HUNC).

    We will also be holding a Career Planning Class where anyone can learn tips from writing a resumé to interview techniques.

    Every month – in partnership with Wash on Western Laundry – we sponsor a Free Laundry Night where homeless people can do some of their laundry for free.

    All of these and other events can be found on the Calendar Page of our website.

  • 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

     

    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