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May 03, 2012

Big Sunday Clean Up in South L.A. Brings Together African American, Latino and Jewish Community

The Leo Baeck Temple and Community Coalition are coming together to work on some of the issues facing Los Angeles by bringing together different groups and building bridges across culture and race.

WHAT: Over 100 volunteers from Leo Baeck Temple, LA’s Promise, South Central LAMP (Los Angeles Ministry Project), and Community Coalition will gather on Big Sunday at Manual Arts High School, an LA's Promise school, to help beautify the campus as well as a build a stronger sense of community in Los Angeles. Volunteers will paint, plant bushes and flowers, and clean classrooms.

WHEN: Big Sunday, May 6, 2012 from 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

WHERE: Manual Arts High School [4131 S Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90037].

WHY: The Leo Baeck Temple and Community Coalition are coming together to work on some of the issues facing Los Angeles by bringing together different groups and building bridges across culture and race. This is the first community service project together.

The effort is taking place on one of the biggest service days of the year for the City of Los Angeles, Big Sunday.  Before the clean–up effort members of Leo Baeck will participate in a tour of South Los Angeles to learn about the social and economic conditions.

“Big Sunday enables our congregation to live out our tradition’s highest values.  We relish the opportunity to renew our partnership with LAMP and to join with Community Coalition in building the Los Angeles that ought to be,” said Rabbi Ken Chasen of Leo Baeck Temple.

Marqueece Harris–Dawson, President and CEO of Community Coalition echoes Rabbi Chasen’s sentiment, “Community Coalition is always looking to build progressive partnerships and coalitions with various groups across our diverse city. Big Sunday represents the coming together of great groups like the Leo Baeck Temple, South Central LAMP and LA’s Promise who share the same mission to build a safer, more beautiful, healthier L.A. for all. We are pleased that the site of our efforts is Manual Arts High School, one of L.A.’s successful turnaround schools here in South L.A.”

Manual Arts High School is a traditional LAUSD public school that serves 3,023 9th through 12th grade students. Eighty–three percent of the student population is Latino and 17% are African American.  

"LA's Promise is grateful to be a part of Big Sunday 2012.  This opportunity allows LA's Promise to continue its efforts in creating a positive learning environment for Manual Arts students, " said Veronica Melvin, President and CEO of LA's Promise.  "We are thrilled to be doing our work along side dedicated community partners who come together to provide a brighter outlook for students in South Los Angeles."

Since Manual Arts joined LA’s Promise in 2009 the school has experienced a 20% jump in number of students with proficient attendance and suspensions have been cut by more than half. In one year, the California High School Exit Exam proficiency rates grew by 12% at Manual Arts.  This growth is more than double that of neighboring comprehensive high schools. Manual Arts nearly doubled (18%–32%) 4–year college attendance rate over one year.

“South Central LAMP encourages personal responsibility in enhancing our community. Big Sunday allows our families and staff to be part of an event that promotes community involvement and a sense of pride in our neighborhoods,” said Diana Pinto, South Central LAMP Program Director.

Last year on Big Sunday Weekend, 50,000 volunteers turned out—some as individuals, others with their families, still others as part of a class, church, synagogue, mosque, business or club—to lend a hand at more than 500 different projects from San Diego to San Francisco, making Big Sunday Weekend one of the largest regional community service events in America. 

About the organizations:

Big Sunday’s mission is to build community through community service.  Big Sunday believes that everyone has some way that they can help somebody else. Visit for more information.

Leo Baeck Temple is a welcoming and inclusive Reform Jewish community committed to sharing moral, spiritual, and intellectual nourishment with each other and the world. For more information, please visit:

LA's Promise is a nonprofit organization working to radically improve the education, health and social outcomes for thousands of youth in one South Los Angeles community. LA's Promise transforms chronically failing public schools, opens new schools and remakes schools into community hubs that offer comprehensive support services for students and families. LA's Promise will prepare every child in LA's Promise Neighborhood to be college–ready, healthy and successful in life. For more information on LA's Promise, please go to

South Central LAMP provides a supportive, nurturing environment for economically challenged women and their families by offering free educational programs and services in South Los Angeles.Visit for more information.

Community Coalition is a social justice non–profit organization based in South L.A. that works with African American and Latino residents to build a safer and healthier South L.A. through community engagement, public policy and leadership development. For more information about CoCo, please visit: