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May 20th at 4:30pm

Lava Mae: Going Global

Lava Mae was lucky to be selected by HandsOn Bay Area, which partnered with Google Local Reach to place skilled volunteers in nonprofits for a week-long pro bono project.  Thanks to three amazing Googlers, we now have an A-Z work book for starting, building, and sustaining a service like Lava Mae - the first step in taking Lava Mae Global!  This guest blog post was written by our Google team:

While volunteering at Lava Mae, our team worked on many strategic initiatives that included building a blueprint that can be used by other interested parties to replicate Lava Mae’s model. We learned about all aspects of Lava Mae’s work, ranging from building partnerships with local service partners and fundraising to the nitty-gritty operations of the shower bus, and brainstormed ways to take the Lava Mae idea beyond the city of San Francisco.

Our experience with Lava Mae was incredibly meaningful. Our week of service exposed us to the problems and the faces of homelessness in a new light. We loved seeing the bus operations in person, meeting the volunteers and the regular clients who rely on Lava Mae for their weekly showers, and seeing the connections that the Lava Mae staff has with the community. Amidst the comings and goings, the hellos and see-you-laters, the animated conversations and gestures and smiles, the Lava Mae bus truly felt like a community–a touch of humanity and hope in the otherwise hard life on the street.

Why’d you choose to work with Lava Mae?

Nathalie first learned about Lava Mae after reading a news article that highlighted the struggles that homeless women face. The article spoke about how Lava Mae was delivering desperately needed services to the community’s most vulnerable community. When she saw that Lava Mae was participating in Google Reach, she knew that she wanted to help them in their mission.

Khanh learned about Lava Mae through Google Reach Local: she was really impressed by their beautiful branding, their focus on dignity and humanity, and their innovative approach to helping the homeless. She could envision a Lava Mae in her own Upper Haight neighborhood, in the low-income East San Jose community she grew up in, and even in her home country of Vietnam. She wanted to help Lava Mae help more people in more parts of the world.

Pritika also learned about Lava Mae through Google Reach: she was really humbled by their mission and vision as an organization. While it is a San Francisco-based initiative at the moment, its mission to improve access to basic hygiene provides real, immediate help for a need that transcends language, culture, and geographies. She was inspired by the difference the organization was already making in the local community and thrilled at the opportunity to help expand the service to other communities.

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