Tag Archives: homeless

Continuing To Support My Friend’s Place (or Learning New Ways To Help Others)

I’ve written a few times in the past about My Friend’s Place. It’s an amazing organization that helps homeless youth in Los Angeles. So many organizations to help the homeless focus on adults and their needs. So it’s great that there is a place for homeless youth to get support and services they need. They do such a great job with providing education, health services, housing information, and other services that homeless youth need. Every time I have things to donate I bring it there since I love the work they are doing. I always just wish that I could do more to help.

At the SAG-AFTRA Convention, we encouraged delegates who were staying at the hotel to donate their hotel toiletries if they didn’t need them. Since My Friend’s Place has shower facilities, toiletries are needed so they have enough supplies for everyone who wants to clean up there. When there have been National Board meetings in LA, board members from other locals come and stay at a hotel here and they have been encouraged to do the same. We’ve managed to collect quite a nice collection of things to donate from people at the union.

I also had some things from friends who knew that I do donation drop offs. Sometimes people just need a way to be able to make a donation easily and don’t have the time or ability to do a drop off on their own. So this week, I went along with 2 other members of SAG-AFTRA to do a drop off of the things we collected.  It felt so great to be able to go with lots of donations even though most of them were from other people.

A lot of times when I do drop offs, I just bring things over and then head back. But this time we had some time to be there and I’m so glad that we weren’t rushed. We got to check out a new thing that My Friend’s Place is doing called the Corner Collective.

The Corner Collective is art, apparel, housewares, and jewelry that was made by the youth at My Friend’s Place that is for sale. Artists come in from time to time to teach a class and then the youth get to create their own work. And now, they are selling them so the youth are able to gain new skills like marketing and are able to gain confidence knowing that what they create is valuable. I know it must give them so much pride to know that someone is buying what they made. And I bet that confidence and pride can be shifted into other areas of their life so they can continue to make steps to getting a job and getting a place to live. It’s such a great idea and I love that we were able to see the work that was for sale!

We also found out that they are going to be doing their 30th anniversary gala on April 7th. It’s going to be held at The Hollywood Palladium and I’m definitely going to see if I’m able to attend. I’m sure it’s going to be an incredible event and I know that supporting such a great organization is something I want to do whenever I can.

I wish I had the ability to donate more items to My Friend’s Place because it is an organization I believe so much in. But since I can’t give as much as I’d like, I figured I could help continue to spread the word about them and the work they do. I found out about them through someone telling me so hopefully I can inspire others to do the same. They have a list of donation items that they are always looking for on their website. I know that some people have been hesitant to donate to certain organizations because of how they may use the donations. With My Friend’s Place, I know that the things we drop off go directly to the youth that they support in Los Angeles. There isn’t a corporate office that determines who gets what. It all goes right there and is used by who needs it first.

If you are in Los Angeles, please consider donating to My Friend’s Place the next time you have items to donate. Or if you have to buy a gift for someone, please browse what The Corner Collective has available and know that your gift will go to support the homeless youth in Los Angeles. And if you are interested in attending their gala, there will be more information on their website soon.

Helping People Help Others (or A Drop Off At My Friend’s Place)

I’ve gotten to work with My Friend’s Place a couple of times in the past. It’s such an amazing organization and they really can use all the help they can get. And unlike other organizations, I know that they use everything that is donated and pretty much everything goes directly to the youth that needs it (some things like office supplies goes toward running the organization).

I wish that I could donate more to charity, but right now in my life I can’t. But I’ve had the chance over the past month to do some collections so I could do a wonderful drop off at My Friend’s Place.

Somehow I got on a mailing list for pregnant women. I have no clue how that happened on what list I’m on to be taken off it. Most of the things I get just go into the trash because they are ads or promotions if I start a baby registry or buy things that I wouldn’t buy. But one box was actually 2 cans of baby formula. When I got that, I knew in a heartbeat that I would be bringing that with me to My Friend’s Place for their parenting program.

I posted online that it’s weird I’m getting baby stuff but I’m glad I did so I could donate it. From that post, several friends reached out to me asking how they could help too. I explained about My Friend’s Place and told them how they could drop things off. But then I realized that might not be easy for my friends with babies to do so I offered to do a drop off for them.

I’ve been getting things from friends since the end of October. And my parents had things for me to donate too when I saw them at Thanksgiving. They had pet supplies that Tucker is too big for and my dad had a small collection of hotel shampoos and conditioners that he doesn’t need anymore.

I put all of my friend’s and family’s donations together and was able to make a stop at My Friend’s Place after my class this week (it’s only a few blocks from my class so that was easy). My trunk was pretty filled with everything that people gave me (plus the 2 cans of formula that I got in the mail).


When I dropped off all the donations, I could tell right away that the staff was so grateful. I wish I could have taken credit for what I was dropping off, but really it was all due to the generosity of my friends and family.

I think I’m going to try to run donations drives again in the future. I think a lot of people don’t donate things because of the hassle to drive to where you have to drop it off. Or they don’t think about it and forget later. But if someone is reminding them to do it or is making it something easy, they have no excuse not to do so.

If you are local to LA and want to donate to My Friend’s Place, they have a wish list on their website. Anything on the list (even if you only have one of something) really can make the difference in someone’s life and will be appreciated.

This is the season for giving, and let’s try to work together to give to those who might not usually have someone giving them a gift.

Lunch and Learn (or Learning More About My Next 5K)

I was recently invited to be a part of a blogger lunch and learn for the Hard Rock Cafe 5K. I was so excited to attend since this will be my second year participating in this 5K.

The first part of the lunch and learn was the lunch section of it. We were brought back into a private room at the Hard Rock Cafe at Hollywood and Highland and we were given a sample of some of their appetizers.


It was all super delicious (and my share of what was on our table was pretty much my meal for the day).

While we were eating, I was seated with 2 other bloggers and a representative from My Friend’s Place. My Friend’s Place is a center for homeless youth and is the official charity for the Hard Rock Cafe 5K. They were actually the charity for last year as well, but I’m embarrassed to admit that I signed up for the race because I wanted the medal and not because of the charity.

During lunch I learned a lot about My Friend’s Place including some of the programs that they offer to help get youth off of the streets and into safe places. I also learned that they are one of the rare homeless organizations that will let people bring their pets with them (although the pets do stay outside).

I was so interested to learn more about My Friend’s Place and fortunately the second half of the Lunch and Learn was a tour of the facility and to learn even more about it!

It was a short drive over and as soon as I got inside, I noticed how different it looked from other homeless organizations I’ve seen around LA.


They make it as cheerful and homey as possible. We started our tour in the entry room where people come in each day (sadly, the center is only open during the daytime and weekdays right now).


At the front desk, everyone can get clean socks and underwear. It’s the little things that can make you feel like a new person. We learned that they have to buy men’s briefs because they are cheaper, but they would love a donation of new boxers to give out (I’m hoping to make a Costco run to pick some up to donate). At the front they also have a mail service. Anyone who wants to get mail at their address can do so. And they can use the address to get a state ID card. I never thought about it before, but you cannot get an ID without an address.

Next on the tour was a room right off of the entry way. And it was not something I was expecting to see.


A circus classroom! Cirque du Monde is a program that was created by Cirque du Soleil. While it might seem silly to have a circus program at a homeless shelter, there is a lot of good that can come from people learning circus tricks. Many of the homeless youth have not been in environments where they can trust others. But in Cirque du Monde, they have to be able to trust the instructors and have respect for the lessons.

After we learned a bit about the program, we were given a chance to walk on the wire in the room. I jumped up and was the first to go.


It was awesome! I was able to go up and back and it felt amazing. After I went, all the other bloggers tried it out and realized how great of a confidence booster an activity like this is.

Next we toured the classroom where they have GED classes and tutoring as well as computers for the youth to use.

Next to that was the clothing room.


While it looks full, they can always use more donations of clothes and shoes.

We then headed upstairs to see the mothering program room.


They have parenting classes and are able to provide diapers for little kids. And they mentioned an amazing idea for people to donate diapers. When your kid outgrows the size of diapers you have at home, donate the extra ones so that they will have some to give out! They don’t mind that it isn’t a full box. Any diapers are helpful.

We also learned about some of the other programs that are available at the center such as legal aid, health services, life skills (like finding a job and permanent housing), and counseling.

Honestly, while I have volunteered at homeless shelters before, I never learned as much about homelessness (and homeless youth) as I did during the Lunch and Learn. I know that when I have money to donate to charity, this is going to be one of the first places on my list to get money. These kids need help and many times they don’t have anywhere else to turn.

I highly encourage everyone to learn more about My Friend’s Place and donate either goods or money if you can. And if you want to join me for the Hard Rock Cafe 5K, you can still register and get an awesome medal as well as help an incredible organization.