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Iranian Jewish Life in Los Angeles: Past and Present

Saba Soomekh, Author

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Jasmine Shamolian: Serving Underprivileged Communities

After she graduated from UCLA in 2011, Jasmine pursued a Master’s degree in Social Welfare from UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. She wanted to pursue a degree in Social Welfare because she wanted to work with the most vulnerable populations. She felt grateful to have been brought up in the Persian community where everyone is interconnected and supportive of each other, but she thought it was important for her to go outside of her own community and serve vulnerable populations.
While a majority of students in the Social Welfare program usually go into the therapy field where they work at a micro level, she took a different route by choosing the macro-level path which is geared towards public policy and non-profit management. Before obtaining her current position at Council Member Paul Koretz’s office, Jasmine spent a tremendous amount of time volunteering and serving underprivileged individuals in order to make the community a better place for everyone. She has worked mostly with non-Persian communities and has experience serving a diverse population throughout Los Angeles.

One of the experiences she gained during her graduate education was an internship at the L.A. Center of Alcohol and Drug Abuse (L.A.CADA). L.A.CADA is “a licensed and certified substance use and behavioral treatment provider by the State of California Department of Health Care Services and the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health – Substance Abuse Prevention and Control.” They strive to help individuals with addiction and behavioral problems by providing client-centered, trauma-informed, recovery-oriented treatment and services. While interning at this organization, she worked with at-risk youth on Skid Row. She is grateful for this experience because she gained exposure to a new, unfamiliar environment. She mentioned in the interview that it was important for her to see this different side of the city because although Skid Row is in very close proximity to most of the L.A. population, many avoid that area because of what goes on there.
Jasmine also spent a year working as a macro intern at a nonprofit organization called Saving Innocence, a non-profit organization that provides services to sex-trafficked youth in Los Angeles and help at-risk minors from underprivileged communities. The organization’s purpose is to provide both prevention and crisis recovery for victims of sex-trafficking. In partnership with local law enforcement agencies, school districts, and a network of social workers, the organization is able to target certain communities in the hopes of preventing commercial child sex exploitation while increasing neighborhood safety. Jasmine helped to raise awareness for this organization and for commercially sexually exploited children by assisting in the overall operation of fundraising through special events, marketing and communications. 

During our interview with Jasmine, she informed us that, “the experiences of these children gave me a background to understand what the most vulnerable populations in the city are dealing with, and what their issues are.” Her meaningful work with Saving Innocence has deepened her belief that every population deserves to be treated with respect, while striving to create a safer community.
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