Ciera Payton at Casa Esperanza
This is my second year volunteering with Casa Esperanza. And I have loved every minute of it! I’m originally from New Orleans Louisiana. As an actress living in Los Angeles, I would use my down time to go back home to New Orleans to teach at risk youth, theater and acting skills. The distance started to weigh on me but so did the importance of helping and mentoring our youth. I decided to move my work and keep it predominately in Los Angeles. But where was I going to start? Back home I had so many connections and relationships with local nonprofits and schools. How was I going to approach the Los Angeles based ones, whom for sure have their share of acting and performing arts programs? I put some feelers out to everyone, contacting churches, city officials, schools, etc. It wasn’t until I heard back from the office of Nury Martinez in City Council District 6. They told me, “Go to Casa Esperanza!” They detailed all the wonderful and amazing things Casa Esperanza has done for the Blythe Street Community.
When I walked into corridor of Casa, the feeling of belonging swept over me. I felt and knew this was my home for my Michael’s Daughter Project. After meeting with Maritza Artan and the amazing staff, my feelings were confirmed! They allowed me to take their teenagers on a journey of creating an original stage production filled with personal narratives based on their lives. I saw these students grow into confident radiant beings within 6 weeks. The magic was incredible that I knew I had to make this an ongoing effort.
This past summer, I presented the Michael’s Daughter Project again! Working with some returning and new students, we put together an original piece titled Stand By Me. This piece was about highlighting community service and what we can all do to help uplift our community.
I absolutely love my time at Casa Esperanza and am constantly thinking of was to bring in more programming that can cater to the creative youth. Arts education is extremely important to our human development and I’m pleased that Casa Esperanza has allowed me to explore and create productions with and for their community!
For more information on The Michael’s Daughter Project visit www.michaelsdaughter.org
Casa Esperanza Volunteer Opportunities
|PROGRAM||DAYS AND TIMES||DESCRIPTION|
|Homework Help/Tutoring||M-Th 3:30pm-5:30pm||Assist youth ages 6+ with homework assignments, and reading and math skills|
|Arts and Crafts||Tues. 2:30pm-3:30pm||Serve as the instructor’s assistant and help youth get crafty upcycling old or used items|
|Girl Scouts||M & W 4:30pm-5:45pm||Assist the Den leader with lessons and project to help the troop earn their badg|
|Ballet Folklorico||T, Th 4:30pm-5:30pm||Act as an assistant to the dance instructor as youth learn a cultural folklore dances from Mexico|
|Leadership||Tues. 5:00pm- 6:30pm||Help execute lesson plans, serve as a chaperone on field trips, and be a mentor for our teenage youth|
|Little Mountain Climbers (LMC)||Friday 3:15pm-4:15pm||Assist the instructor with games and physical activities in this fun and unique youth exercise program|
|Sewing||T, W, Th 10am-2pm||Serve as an assistant to the instructor in this adult program, participants learn about different textiles, practice pattern making, as they develop sewing skills|
|Women’s Wellness Day||Bi-Monthly Fridays 11am-1:30pm||Help staff as they create an afternoon of self-care in this all women program. Participants enjoy light refreshments, and get facial treatments, hair cuts, nails, make-up, and take a dance and/or self-defense class|
|Summer Day Camp||June – August 10am-3pm||Assist instructors in a variety of classes from gardening and science, to math and art|