A swarm of yellow-clad volunteers from the global organization EY descended on LLA this fall to provide mentorship and hands-on service.
Half of the volunteers were paired one-on-one with LLA students to share their school-to-career path, guidance on networking for a job, and to help students improve their resumes. Jeremiah, a student at LLA, appreciated the experience and his EY partner’s approach. “I thought it was cool because we got to spend time focusing on my resume and things that benefit me working,” Jeremiah said. “It was just a warm, welcoming vibe.”
The other half of the EY Connect Day ensemble got their hands dirty and flexed their muscles in LLA’s organic garden. Volunteers worked side by side with students to build a foundation for the tool shed, clear an invasive plant that was crowding out space for produce and flowers, and moved large, heavy garden beds and apple trees.
“It was great to have them here to help,” said LLA’s Garden Director, Karuna Holm. “We moved one of the two beehives to their new location, which is a complicated and interesting process because they use the sun and triangulation to find their way home, so small changes in angles can mess up their navigation. Even though the hive only moves ten feet, the bees can’t find it if they aren’t there when you move it.” It was an exciting learning experience for LLA students that they could not have accomplished without the EY volunteers.
* * *
Working together, the volunteers and students created a grand entrance to the new garden space. The garden is in the process of being relocated to make way for LLABUILD, a dormitory building that will provide a home for up to 20 unstably housed LLA students. LLA is in the midst of a capital campaign to fund the dormitory and will break ground on the new structure in January 2018.
According to Kathryn Morrissey, LLA’s Development Director, “Before we can lay the dorm’s foundation, we have to create space for it. That’s a big reason EY was here today, and we are incredibly grateful.”
* * *
LLA and the LLABUILD dormitory project has benefitted from the generosity of several partners. Private foundations like the Boris and Vera Bogart Foundation, who supports the LLABUILD landscaping project, and the Dean Witter Foundation, who supports our garden and ecology program, enabled this service day. Volunteerism from corporate partners like EY infuse the organization with renewed energy and remind LLA of the value of having such tremendous partners across the Bay Area.
“I thought the EY professionals did a marvelous job connecting with our students,” said LLA’s Workforce Development Director, Aubria Lamendola. “I was impressed by their level of engagement.”