Periodically, angels – human and otherwise – appear in the streets of the City of Angels. Several years ago, they were clay. Saturday, June 11, they were flesh and blood, children and adults, and they wore white tee shirts, and carried garden hoes and paint brushes.
The occasion was the 13th annual LA Works Day, and this year’s top priority was the launch of the long-awaited restoration of the historic Angels Flight Railway.
As in past years, thousands of people took part in the one-day service blitz of ‘extreme make-overs’ of schools, community centers, cultural and historic sites.
In addition to the start of the restoration of Angels Flight, one of Los Angeles’ most treasured landmarks, ‘extreme-makeovers’ were done at Hollenbeck Middle School in Boyle Heights and the Ann Street Elementary School in Lincoln Heights; the transformation of the LA Fire Department’s Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center that is housed in the 1934 Naval and Marine Recruiting Center and is also the site of Los Angeles’ 9/11 Memorial; and the completion of an extreme make over begun last year of Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center for the Arts and Education, the symbolic heart of Chicano culture in Los Angeles.
City leaders, including elected officials, and business and community leaders, applied a fresh coat of paint to the Angels Flight Railway Station House in a ceremony to mark the launch of the restoration of the 1901 funicular that rises from Hill Street up to California Plaza. It should be back in operation by the end of this year or early next year.
At the end of their work day, volunteers gathered in California Plaza for lunch and an outdoor concert by Quetzal, a leading Chicano rock band, at 12:30 p.m.
“As in previous years, our volunteers…make a lasting and valuable impact on communities throughout the city,” said LA Works Executive Director Ann Burroughs.LA Works is a private non-profit organization that promotes hands-on volunteerism throughout Los Angeles. Currently, it organizes 60 free community service projects per month. Since its inception in 1991, thousands of LA Works volunteers have contributed over one million hours of service to Los Angeles, spent over 80,000 hours reading books to children and at-risk youth, 65,000 hours tutoring and 50,000 hours providing activities for the elderly, served over 10,000 meals to the homeless, and painted hundred of murals at schools, community centers and cultural monuments. For more information, visit www.laworks.com.