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PhiLAnthropist Interview: Zach and Justin of LA's 'Karma Project'

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Karma Project's Zach Istrin at Shane's Inspiration. Photo courtesy of Zach Istrin.

While many not-for-profits are struggling when it comes to funding and donations, one more positive fallout of this little recession is an increase in volunteer hours. LA's Zach Istrin and Justin Bird are perfect examples of this wave of volunteerism. With more time on their hands, they decided to start volunteering, a lot. With hopes of raising awareness and motivating other young people, they began writing about all their experiences on their blog, the LA Karma Project. So for anyone who has been thinking about donating some of their time, the LA Karma Project is a great starting point for reading about some first-hand experiences with different LA organizations, such as Project Angel Food and Shane's Inspiration. Zach and Justin were kind enough to answer some of our questions and offer up some good advice...you can even join them on one of their volunteer adventures.

Where do each of you live in LA? How old are you guys? Are you LA natives?

Zach: Both of us live in Sherman Oaks. I am 26, Justin is 24; both of us are natives. 


What inspired the Karma Project? Where did the idea come from?

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Z: Work was quiet at the time, and we were sitting at the Coach and Horse on Sunset drinking $3 PBR tall boys. We felt that we could be doing great things, but didn’t know what. After a little brainstorming it popped into our heads. Hey, why don’t we go out and volunteer, blog about it, and try to raise awareness? We figured in today’s economy there are a lot of people around our age working part time or not working at all, but want to be doing something. Maybe if they actually hear about some experiences, and see some pictures they won’t think it is too bad, and realize you can actually have a really good time. Worst case scenario, no one reads the blog, but we still did a bunch of volunteering, and had some great experiences.