Headshot Photo of Shira Alcouloumre
2015 Award Recipient


Project Laguna Friends in Need

Location Laguna Beach, CA

Issue Area Poverty

When a young Shira complained about having to eat a peach for breakfast, her mother decided to give her some perspective: Shira and her siblings were taken to Santa Ana, where they used their own savings to buy and personally deliver groceries to the homeless. The experience inspired Shira and her brother to look for other meaningful ways to give back and, ultimately, to create Laguna Friends in Need. Through the project, Shira aims to improve the lives of migrant day laborers in Laguna Canyon by creating a safe environment in which they can wait for work, as well as providing meals, clothing, weekly English classes, medical care, and holiday presents for the workers and their families.

Over the past five years, Shira’s team has raised more than $20,000 in cash and in-kind donations to improve the site and services provided, including building a shade cover, installing a water fountain, and much more. The team has established a personal bond with the workers, collaborated with the City Council, cut through red tape, and helped break down local prejudices.

We have held on to our project for five years and aspire to continue it into the future because of the deep emotional connection we have with each and every worker and their families.

Shira Alcouloumre
“It is never too late, too early, or too often TO GIVE BACK AND MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE”
Helen Diller