Thanks to Volunteers, Seeing Los Angeles Through New Eyes

Guest post by Jessica Vaysman, Total Family Support Clinic

Raymond, a dedicated volunteer at Total Family Support Clinic.

Raymond, a dedicated volunteer at Total Family Support Clinic.

I am proud to say that today, I work for a nonprofit organization called the Total Family Support Clinic in Downtown Los Angeles.

Since moving to Los Angeles 5 years ago from Brooklyn NY, I have spent the majority of that time working in the glitzy entertainment industry that many often associate with this city. Like many who are thrust into this world, I eventually became disillusioned with the lack of meaning my entertainment positions provided.

After much debate, I decided to make a change and leave the lavish entertainment world in search of something more, something that was more beneficial to humanity, and ultimately something that would allow me to be more fulfilled.

I am proud to say that today I have found that something. Since I started at the Total Family Support Clinic, I have opened myself up to so many new and wonderful opportunities.

The first being the opportunity to witness a completely new side of the city I live in. Beyond the celebrities and below the manicured lawns that lie to the north is a completely different Los Angeles. Even though this side of Los Angeles is one filled more with despair than achievement, I have found that it radiates with a current of hope. I have seen this hope in both the talented counselors I work with and the population our clinic serves.

This past week, I was fortunate enough to participate in our free weekly food distribution. This is a far cry from the weekly PR updates I used to distribute, but so much more rewarding.

The Total Family Support Clinic provides everything from produce to canned goods to fresh meat to the hundreds of families that depend on us. Watching hungry children leave the clinic with a smile would have been enough to brighten my day, but I think witnessing families offer to volunteer with TFSC because they felt indebted to us, was even more touching. It really showed just how meaningful a helping hand can be and how the spirit of giving back is so contagious.

One of the hats I wear at TFSC is volunteer coordinator – people from all walks of life are coming in: lawyers, teachers, people in recovery, to give their time and efforts. Though they all may be from different backgrounds, everyone has the purpose of giving back. The amazing juxtaposition of a business professional giving out free food to a man that doesn’t even own shoes is incredible. It makes me feel invigorated and motivated to do more.

I asked one of our volunteers, Raymond, why he comes every single week, and he simply said because he hopes someone would help him out if he needed it . Seeing that beautiful glimpse of humanity working together is enough to make everyone work harder.

Days like this solidify the hard decision I made months ago. I have truly found that “something” I was looking for and I know as long as I work for an organization so dedicated to serving their population, that “something” will come often. I am so blessed in my new life here and I hope you join me on this journey as I continue to explore and participate in this new world.

Please know, the free food distribution is just one of the many amazing services the Total Family Support Clinic provides. If you want to learn more please visit our website at www.totalfamilysupport.org.

Jessica Vaysman is a 27-year-old New York transplant documenting her journey into the world of nonprofits.

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