Name: Puki Freeberg
Day job: Program director for the David Lynch Foundation
Organization of choice: Children of the Night, a privately funded non-profit dedicated to rescuing American children from prostitution based in Van Nuys.
I found out about Children of the Night through the David Lynch Foundation. David’s wife was a volunteer there and she and David asked if there was a way for the foundation to get involved. In March 2010, they asked me to move to Los Angeles to run David Lynch Foundation programming at Children of the Night. Since then I’ve fallen in love with the organization.
I volunteer because I just see the girls as my little sisters. They are such amazing, bright, beautiful kids that have fallen into unfortunate circumstances and to do whatever I can to help give them new positive fun experiences and the experiences of being kids that they’ve never had is so fulfilling for me.
I spend my volunteer time teaching the kids transcendental meditation and then meditating with them during their quiet time at the Children of the Night school, but I’ve also done lots of different things, from taking the girls jogging or hiking to bringing in some friends to make gingerbread houses with them around the holidays.
To volunteer, I give up a few hours of sleep in the morning or an evening, and the occasional money on materials for activities—nothing significant.
In return, I’ve gained so much. Helping people makes me happy. Seeing the girls engaged in a positive, creative, healthy activity and really enjoying that makes me happy.
From one volunteer to another, I’d say leave behind any preconceived notions of who these kids are. Just be open to sharing and having a powerfully transforming experience. They’re just amazing, regular teenagers.
Los Angeles magazine’s “Public Service Announcement” series features a local volunteer every other week at CityThink