Blog: Volunteering with Onward Los Angeles

On July 4, 20 college students from the Los Angeles area stepped off the bus at the community garden next to the Louis Weisman Early Education Center in Jaffa.

The garden was started 9 years ago by a teacher at the school, which services both Arab and Jewish children in the area.

The maintenance of the garden is entirely volunteer-based, Danielle Refesh, OneDay’s social-business development manager, said.

“Whenever they get volunteers to do the hard work of the weeding and the cutting of trees…they are [very grateful],” she said.

The participants, who are taking part in the Onward Israel internship program, quickly set to work weeding and cleaning the garden. Drake’s “Nice For What” blared from a portable speaker as the volunteers talked, danced, raked and weeded together.

Nick Cedera, a sophomore at the University of Southern California, said he could tell he was making an impact on the local community when he was volunteering.

“We’re taking plants out of the ground to help other plants grow, which is so cool,” he said. “And it’s more in a community center, which is so nice, because you can tell it’s in a more lived-in area, so it feels good.”

The goals of OneDay resonated with Cedera, he said.

“I think it’s a really awesome mission that they have these opportunities for people to volunteer just at night or on the weekends,” Cedera said. “I know that’s something I’ve struggled with before, trying to find something that works with my schedule, because I really like giving back to the community.”


–Lilli Sher, OneDay intern