Volunteering can be life changing, just ask Charlie

| March 28, 2013 | 0 Comments

SIGN UPS START APRIL 3. Last year, Tobie Hess and Zoe Wasserman prep exterior walls at the LAUSD Leadership Academy for student murals. Photos by Pamela Springsteen

When then five-year-old Eloise Hess walked into a nursing home in West Adams many years ago, her family’s lives changed forever.

They had signed up for the volunteer effort at the last minute. The place was dark and, well, creepy, Charlie Hess, Brookside, recalled.
Then they entered a patient’s room, and “my very shy daughter came alive, and so did the man in the room.

“It was such an extraordinary, moving experience… she brought so much joy to these elderly people’s lives.

“To see this awakening in our daughter I was so moved, I  offered to help David with Big Sunday.”
David Levinson, of Hancock Park, is founder of the massive, statewide volunteer effort, Big Sunday, which is celebrating its 15th year.
Sign ups start this month
Now known as Big Sunday Weekend, it takes place Fri., May 3 through Sun., May 5.

Sign ups for volunteer activities start Wed., April 3 at bigsunday.org.

About 500 projects from San Diego to San Francisco will be offered, such as cleaning up parks, cooking for the homeless and helping out at animal shelters. And, visiting the elderly.
Eloise’s handprint, with a heart in its center, became the organization’s logo. It’s on T-shirts, posters and the website, says her dad Charlie, a magazine designer who was art director for many years for the group.

These days he continues in another volunteer post at Big Sunday. As photo editor he sifts through thousands of images each year taken by a pool of photographers.

LEADERSHIP ACADEMY CEO Roger Lowenstein with Charlie Hess at event last year.

LEADERSHIP ACADEMY CEO Roger Lowenstein with Charlie Hess at school’s organic garden project, part of Big Sunday last year.

He also heads a project on Big Sunday with up to 400 volunteers, including wife Heidi Levitt and son Tobie, 12.    Last year they helped plant an organic garden at the Leadership Academy, a K-12 school founded by neighbor Roger Lowenstein.

“The reason I do it is so my kids, who live this nice, comfortable life in Brookside, experience what the rest of the city is like.

“I think it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done for our children,” said Hess.

Tags: ,

Category: Community

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *