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Taking the Next Step: Stephanie Ogrodnik


Learning Center volunteer Stephanie Ogrodnik (right) with DWC participant Dana W.

A year ago, Stephanie Ogrodnik had just moved to Los Angeles from Philadelphia.

She was living in the middle of bustling Hollywood and was immediately struck by how great the needs of her homeless neighbors were. She began researching local homeless organizations to get involved with, and was drawn to the Downtown Women’s Center.

For Stephanie, “DWC stood out because it provides a lot of basic needs services, but also helps women get to the next step in their lives.” She felt inspired by the safe space DWC provides, noting, “It’s a great, healthy place.”

She began volunteering in the Learning Center as a Learning Center Assistant, providing support and guidance to women as they work on their personal learning goals.


A Note about DWC’s Learning Center: DWC's Learning Center classes include a wide range of options for women of all skill levels: everything from Open Lab - where women can access the computers for personal use, to Literacy and Math tutoring, to Resume Building workshops.

Stephanie kept coming back week after week to support women as they pursued positive transitions in their lives and gained self-confidence.

“In the time that I’ve been here, I’ve met women who had just started working with computers who are now in leadership positions and getting jobs.”

She loves seeing how cooperative and supportive the women are of each other, noting, “Everyone is working together.”

When asked what she would tell people who are interested in volunteering at DWC, Stephanie said: “Definitely volunteer! It’s a great place to learn and work with the community.”

She loves the program's emphasis on self-empowerment and self-confidence, and how DWC programs encourage and support women as they try new things.

“[DWC] is a place for women to come and have some peace of mind, but…it’s not just that. It’s a place where they can create things – a place they can call their own.”

Volunteers like Stephanie help our community thrive. She brings compassion, care, and creativity to her role as a Learning Center volunteer, and thanks to her dedication, along with the rest of our amazing volunteers, we are able to support women as they pursue their personal learning and job goals.

Thank you, Stephanie!

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Learning Center volunteer, and for more info on our other exciting volunteer opportunities, please contact our volunteer team here.

Stephanie Harris
Volunteer Engagement Coordinator

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