In February 2013, a community activist (Benny Cartwright) called Cheli on her phone and said “I know that you have a lot of volunteers that follow you and I need your help tonight”. He was coordinating a Candlelight Vigil and needed volunteers for his event. Cheli put the word out on her social media network and told interested volunteers to reach out directly to him. The next day he called to thank Cheli, a dozen people had shown up –simply because Cheli asked if they could help. Cheli was overwhelmed and touched by the outpour of support.
Soon, other community groups and organizations reached out asking for volunteer help. Cheli kept putting the word out, volunteers kept showing up. One day when she was working on a specific project for back then Assemblymember Toni Akins, Cheli made a personal request for help. The response from the volunteer “Will I get to Volunteer with Cheli if I show up” and hence how Volunteer with Cheli was born! We launched our Facebook Group in January 2014 and quickly gain momentum in the community working on beach cleanups, helping organizations working directly with the homeless, youth, and the sober community.
We officially incorporated in 2017 as a non-profit organization and continue to grow with more than 300 registered volunteers and partnering with more than 35 community organizations.