Employee Spotlight: Julie Leaf brings HOPE to LA Kids
World Peace, One Child at a Time.
That’s the motto of Operation Project HOPE, a non-profit organization here in Los Angeles who Julie Leaf, a sales representative here at Galaxy Draperies, is involved with in her spare time. “HOPE” in the organization’s name is an acronym for “Helping Other People Everyday”. They fulfill that mission by doing beautification projects at elementary schools. They fill the schools with murals and positive affirmations. Their goal is to create loving and positive environments for the children.
The schools Operation Project HOPE transforms are often those of low-income neighborhoods, where homeless families can send their children, and often all of the children in attendance receive free breakfasts and lunch through their schools.
HOPE means Helping Other People Everyday
When they paint a school, every single person who helps is a volunteer and all funding comes from donations.
Julie got involved with OPH when a principal called and asked if they could come make her “smurf blue” school pretty. OPH worked on Hooper Avenue Elementary in 2010 and they have done at least one school every year since then. They coordinate projects for approximately 6 months and then all the magic happens in 8 hours on one Saturday, with an average now of 500-700 volunteers. No volunteer is too young or too old, there’s no level of artistic skill needed (though very skilled artists including a muralist from Brazil have joined the team).
Along with work for the children, Operation Project HOPE (OPH) does minor construction and make-overs on the teachers’ lounge and health offices. They know teachers need to feel loved as well in order to bring that warmth and positivity to their classrooms and kids.
Love is the Answer
While much of the art varies from school to school, Julie says a few pieces are a staple of every project. The rainbow of handprints with “World Peace One Child at a Time” (featured at the top of this blog), the ALOHA mural (below), and “I am” statements including “I am, You Are, We Are Love” are consistent designs.
Otherwise, the designs are as unique as the people, from an amazing Sharpie-based wall of “I AM” statements, to painted exterior staircases, each project is a labor of love and the results, while completely unique, are always centered on positive self-affirmations, inclusivity, and of course, LOVE.
Click on any image to enlarge.
The Robles Family Humanitarian Award goes to… Julie Leaf
The Robles family is well-known here in LA as the place by the tracks where you knew you could always knock on their door and receive a warm meal and a helping hand. Ed Robles is the Founder and CEO of Operation Project HOPE, and Julie Leaf was awarded the Robles Family Humanitarian Award on March 24th, 2019.
Julie’s passion, overall, is helping people. As a part of our Galaxy Draperies family, she fulfills that passion by helping people make their homes more beautiful, something she’s been doing in our industry for over 20 years.
Help Hope Grow
We are so proud of Julie and everything she does for our LA-area children with Operation Project HOPE. We hope you check out their website or social pages. In addition to painting and inspirational murals, they also help with college awareness, community building, food and clothing drives and more.