A MILLION DROPS
(UTW’s very own, Los Angeles based non-profit)
How A Million Drops Was Born
In 2013, shortly before our 1st Annual Unfuck The World Day, UTW founder Maike organized a series of events in Downtown L.A. benefitting the homeless population of Skid Row. This experience led to her bringing together a team of volunteers to provide regular support to at-risk youth and young adults experiencing homelessness in her own neighborhood of Hollywood.
She quickly realized that in order to do this officially, she needed to file for 501(c)3 status. Choosing the name for the non-profit was easy. Maike is often asked, “What can I do to unfuck the world? Everything is just a drop in a bucket.” She will always answer, “Every drop counts and will make a difference. And together, we will be a million drops.” In October 2013, A Million Drops was granted tax exempt status by the IRS.
A Million Drops’ Story
A Million Drops started with providing direct, uncomplicated support to individuals in need it, from helping with preparing for a job interview by taking them to the barber or clothes shopping, to making phone calls to find out how we can help someone replace a lost birth certificate.
A Million Drops offered monthly Free Laundry Nights at a local laundromat, giving at-risk youth and young adults experiencing homelessness the opportunity to wash their clothes, blankets and sleeping bags. A Million Drops provided coins, detergent and, if wanted, assistance with washing and folding.
A Million Drops also curated ‘Unsheltered’, a series of art shows featuring works by youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. These shows, that took place in a wide variety of locations, from actual art galleries to laundromats and hair salons, were much appreciated by guests and artists alike!
In 2017, the AMD team planned to buy a little, retired school bus and convert it into the A Million Drops Outreach Bus to more effectively provide services.
However, a few months later, the opportunity came up to rent a small space in the heart of Hollywood, and the vision of a little bus became the A Million Drops Learning Center.
The Learning Center opened its doors in June 2018. Mondays through Fridays, volunteers offered workshops, from Anger Management and Self-Improvement to Poetry, Edible Gardening, Podcasting and Improv & Acting. A free in-house library and laptops for research were available, and each student received a free meal – often prepared by one of the students – and toiletries, socks and underwear, if needed.
Instead of offering monthly free Laundry Nights, A Million Drops provided free laundry vouchers allowing the recipients to wash their clothes any day of the week. Through collaboration with the landlord, the students also had the opportunity to shower on Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The unique concept of the A Million Drops Learning Center received a lot of recognition, and more and more donations came in to help paying rent as well as small salaries to the managers, who were all people experiencing homelessness.
Nevertheless, in January 2020, after giving all her spare time and energy for almost two years, UTW and A Million Drops founder Maike had to step back and take a break from the immense, daily responsibilities that come with running a place like the Learning Center. The Center had to close its doors. The AMD team is continuing with offering the free laundry voucher program, and outreach on foot. They are also providing specifically tailored support to individuals experiencing homelessness who have been students and/or teachers at the Learning Center.
For more info or to make a donation, please visit A Million Drops website.