Through marshalling over 20,000 volunteers to organize beautification projects, free medical clinics, homeless assistance, and more, the 1DayLA movement has united to bring Los Angeles hope. The movement took place on July 18-24, where volunteers from all over the country gathered to demonstrate the power of love.
According to a report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the pandemic has triggered a 13% increase in rates of homelessness, with 161,548 people currently living without a roof. While some have turned a blind eye, many want to help the crisis. Unfortunately, Los Angeles county did not provide the avenue to do so. For these people, 1DayLA, a collaborative movement of organizations and volunteers provided the perfect opportunity to help. Under their motto of love, 1DayLA chooses to make a difference: “We believe that love can change a city, inspire a nation, and shift the national conversation from what divides us, to what brings us all together.”
Emma Ser, a high school attendee from the Church of Southland, offers insight from her personal experience. She spoke about the highlight of her week, an encounter with a man at a park named Marco. Although the conversation simply consisted of exchanging stories and thoughts, at the end, Marco said, “Thank you, I don’t usually like talking to people.” He went on to explain how they usually shut him down, continually telling him that what he said was wrong. “Small actions like a 40 minute conversation means a lot to those around us… we just have to try,” Emma encourages.
Not only did Marco find a listening ear, but simultaneously, Emma’s life perspective shifted. “I’m usually a reserved person in certain circumstances, and [although] it was hard [in] the first couple days, I gained… a lot of confidence. I can be really absorbed into my own lifestyle and what’s around me. I wasn’t very aware about all these different things I saw and what people are doing to help [people] in LA,” she recalled. No matter one’s individual situation, everyone has the chance to gain fulfillment and happiness. Though easier said than done, from Emma’s experiences, we can learn that giving back is as good for you as it is for those you are helping.
Emma wants to encourage those around her to step out of their bubbles, mentally and physically. “Don’t feel confined because of your age or personality, I never would’ve expected how much [I was] able to go out and talk to others. You don’t know how much impact you have on someone’s life or even your own; and how blessed you can be,” she ends.
Spreading love can be as simple as participating in local events and volunteering for food pantries. It is up to every reader to make an impact, and it is a conscious choice to seek out their own Marco, who may be in desperate need of a friend.
Mary Kim, Grade 10
Troy High School