The holidays are always a special time at the Downtown Women’s Center. Our community comes together to celebrate participants, volunteers, and supporters, and share gratitude for the challenges our women have overcome and the many successes they have achieved.
This year was no different, with nearly 200 women joining together in our warm and welcoming Day Center for a Thanksgiving celebration.
The day kicked off with a delicious breakfast of pancakes, granola, yogurt, and fruit - a welcome treat on a chilly morning - prepared by our friends at Cooking Lab.
As volunteers arrived from Chase Bank, Disney, and Sitrick & Co.'s Holly Baird to get the Thanksgiving meal ready, we were treated to a surprise visit by LA Mayor Garcetti and First Lady Amy Wakeland. The bustling room quieted as the Mayor and First Lady shared their personal experiences of the holidays, and expressed how touched they are by the women’s resilience and hope.
“Your courage is my reason to be thankful this year,” shares the Mayor.
The Mayor and First Lady then made their way upstairs to visit with DWC resident and Peer Leader Teressa, who was busy cooking a holiday feast for residents on her floor.
Above right: Mayor Garcetti takes a selfie with DWC residents Teressa and Monica.
Down the hall, they gathered in one of our Community Rooms to meet with DWC Peer Leaders and a participant from our Veterans Program. As the women shared their gratitude this holiday season – for family, for a home, for each other – the Mayor expressed his commitment to ending homelessness, and asked the women their thoughts on challenges they and other women have faced.
Above: DWC participants (L-R) Francine, Pam, Yvonne, and Teressa with the Mayor and First Lady
Mayor Garcetti: “The best feast in LA!”
Back downstairs in the Day Center, lunch was served and another very special guest, state Senator Carol Liu, helped with the table service and chatted with the women.
No celebration at DWC is complete without karaoke, and as the meal wound down staff and participants alike took to the stage to end the celebration on a very festive note!
Above: Chief Program Officer Amy Turk and Senior Resident Manager Angie Wade