Editor’s note: With the opening of the Expo Line’s extension to Santa Monica, locals have a new way to explore neighboring areas. The Daily Press will publish a weekly travelogue about what to eat, see and do near each of the stations along the Expo Line, continuing this week at the Expo/La Brea stop.
For some, the Expo Line is a car-free way to get to work. For others, the recently extended light-rail service is a gateway to food, arts, entertainment and more. The train means many things to many different residents, and that’s how it should be. It’s a reminder that people across the region are more connected than they might realize as they go about their busy lives.
It’s fitting, then, that the Expo Line can also act as a conduit for people who want to bolster their sense of connectivity through community service.
Take, for example, the volunteer opportunities available within walking distance of the Expo/La Brea station, which is roughly halfway between the Westside and Downtown Los Angeles. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, the Minority AIDS Project and the Training and Research Foundation all have offices near the transit stop, a nexus of nonprofit organizations striving to make positive impacts in their distinct spheres.
An independent animal welfare group that has served the region since 1877, spcaLA aims to stop cruelty to animals through education, law enforcement, intervention and advocacy. It has three pet adoptions centers (in Hawthorne, Long Beach and Pico Rivera) and four animal training facilities, including one at its headquarters at 5026 W. Jefferson Blvd., in Los Angeles.
Note that the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority doesn’t allow non-service animals on the Expo Line, so pet owners shouldn’t take the train with their furry friends to the variety of dog training classes offered at spcaLA.
But that fact doesn’t have to get in the way of animal lovers who want to help. Volunteers can assist the nonprofit on numerous administrative tasks at the Jefferson Boulevard site, represent spcaLA at events, contribute to fundraising efforts and work with animals at other locations.
Most volunteers are asked to make a one-year commitment of at least two hours per week. Orientations and training are provided.
The Minority AIDS Project was established in 1985 to help minority patients and educate people of color about the sexually transmitted syndrome. Three decades later, the group’s work continues.
Volunteers champion the nonprofit’s mission of providing health care resources, outreach and support to hundreds of patients and thousands of people who want to learn more about HIV and AIDS, particularly in the African-American and Latino communities of South Central Los Angeles.
After a one-day orientation about the agency’s programs, volunteers at Minority AIDS Project meet with a coordinator to figure out how they can help the organization and its clients. They are invited to regular trainings and workshops to stay updated on treatments and trends in the county, according to the group’s website.
Volunteers must have valid California identification and tuberculosis clearance.
Just northwest of the Expo/La Brea station is one of the sites of the Training and Research Foundation, a nonprofit Head Start organization that serves low-income preschool children and their families. The agency, which has existed for more than 50 years, offers a variety of services, including education, health, nutrition and parent engagement.
And the foundation is constantly looking for volunteers, according to its website.
“Volunteers are instrumental in helping us accomplish our mission,” the site reads.
Orientations and training sessions are held for volunteers, who receive support and encouragement from staff members throughout their stints of service.
The Expo Line now has 19 stations covering 15.2 miles between Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica. A regular one-way fare is $1.75 and includes two hours of free transfers for riders using a TAP card. A daily pass good for unlimited rides on Metro is $7 and monthly passes are $100. Visit taptogo.net for more information.