Olvera Street Volunteer

Map: olvera-street.com

Map: olvera-street.com

I’ve only recently discovered historic Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, with its swirling music, carts and shops filled with dia de los muertos objects available year round, candies, Lucha Libre masks, flags, ponchos, huaraches, kids running around delighted by colors and food, candles, religious iconography, and historic spots dating to the early days of the city, and Los Angeles before California was brought into the union. Some of the oldest spots of worship to be found in Southern California are here, including the oldest home in the state.

El Pueblo de Los Angeles is the historic site where 44 diverse early settlers set up a farming community in 1781. “El Pueblo” is now a living museumm reflecting heritage of Native American, African American, Spanish, Anglo, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, and French cultures. There are 27 historic buildings here, 11 of them open to the public, and the organization responsible for the site depends on volunteers year round. You can sign up to work in art galleries, in the neighborhood docent program, doing art and education workshops, administrative support, library and special collections work, special events and exhibitions, marketing, and speaking engagements. At the very least, if you are a local or visiting, get downtown and explore. This city is so much more than Hollywood and the beach–as I’m learning more and more every day. Participating in the community can transform your relationship to any place you call home.

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