California State University, Long Beach
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Professor, Students Raise $52,000 For Los Angeles Mission

Published: December 15, 2010

The Los Angeles Mission, a nonprofit organization located on Fifth Street in downtown Los Angeles, benefited from the volunteer efforts of students in the Communicative Disorders Department at CSULB, just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

On Nov. 17, a dozen student volunteers worked a radiothon fundraiser coordinated and partnered by campus-based station KKJZ and Go Country 105, a country station in Los Angeles, to raise money for the Los Angeles Mission. While Go Country promoted the event through its daily broadcasts leading up to and on the day of the radiothon, students staffed the phones at the KKJZ studio, taking calls from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The event raised $52,000, surpassing the initial goal by $2,000.

“This was the best we have done ever,” said Betty McMicken, an assistant professor who serves as the department’s volunteer liaison to the L.A. Mission. “On the shift I worked, people were calling with donations of $2.03 (the amount to sponsor one meal) and putting it on their credit card and then people would call in with donations of $1,000. We had a tremendous response this year, perhaps due to people better understanding what is like to be in need, the recession has spawned more awareness.”

This was the fourth time the radiothon, which normally takes place in November and June, has been held to benefit the L.A. Mission, and also the fourth time McMicken and her CSULB students have been involved.

The money raised on Nov. 17 went to the L.A. Mission, specifically for the Thanksgiving meals which were served Nov. 24. The mission, which serves 1,800 meals on a normal day, fed some 3,500 individuals that afternoon.

On the day of the event, 14 CSULB Communicative Disorders students volunteered their time serving meals and making balloons characters for more than 600 children in attendance.

“Our goal the day of the Thanksgiving dinner was to make one balloon character for every child there,” said McMicken, noting she and her students were at the mission from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. “Jesse Coyle, one of our students and ‘The Balloon Guy’, has held workshops and we taught a number of students how to make balloon characters. We have students who are blowing up the balloons, we have students that are making the forms and then other students handing them out.

Volunteer Time For Los Angeles Mission
Communicative Disorders’ Jessie Coyle (l) and other CSULB students handed out balloons to children at the L.A. Mission’s Thanksgiving day dinner.

“The L.A. Mission has always had volunteers for this event, of course, but we were the first to come up with balloons for every child,” she continued. “It is a great touch and made it more of a festive atmosphere.”

The money raised through the June radiothon is for general services at the mission, which includes meals, resident programs and other day services.

“The money raised in the summer is used for the regular on-going services such as daily meals, housing people overnight, and housing people in their rehabilitation programs at both the Los Angeles Mission and Anne Douglas Center,” said McMicken. “My students have often asked what keeps me volunteering my services and I must admit it is the deep and abiding acts of gratitude which I am so blessed to receive from individuals we are able to help.”

The Los Angeles Mission exists to provide help, hope, and opportunity to men, women and children in need. It is a nonprofit organization serving the homeless living on the streets of downtown’s Skid Row. Faithfully, for more than 70 years, the mission has saved many lives and had a profound impact on thousands of others by providing compassionate, humanitarian services to those in desperate need.

–Shayne Schroeder