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Community Outreach through the Development of Arts

CODA is a student-run, philanthropic organization dedicated to the promotion and distribution of the arts in and around the neighborhoods of downtown Los Angeles. As a public service organization, CODA seeks to bring the arts to those members of the community who might not have the means or the leisure to otherwise afford the luxury.

Volunteer Expectations

Along with any required documentation or training for a given site, volunteers are asked to fulfill a time commitment of at a minimum of 2 hours per week for eight weeks during the semester. Volunteers will write reflection journals about their initial experience at the site as well as participate in a total of two online group discussions through blackboard over the course of the eight weeks. At the end of the program volunteers are asked to develop a project relating to their experience as a volunteer. The project can be interpreted in any way without limitation. Performances, drawings, slide shows, paintings, songs, photographs and instrumental performances will be showcased at the end-of-semester event.

Sign Ups with the Joint Educational Project

CODA is affiliated with USC’s Joint Educational Project. All volunteers must fill out an application at the JEP house (located across at the corner of 34th and Trousdale) during the first two weeks of the semester. Volunteers must attend a one hour long training where they will learn more about the program and have a chance to change any preferences for sites and hours. Volunteers sign up for training at the time the application is turned in.

Currently Available Sites

Sites and placements are will be given based on volunteer’s availabiliy and preference. Most of our volunteer sites involve working with kids, but at a few sites musicians perform for of all ages. CODA has a total of six different sites for volunteers and is always looking to add more.

Here is a list of our current sites:

  • USC University Hospital

    Allows volunteers to serve as musical therapy providers to the hospital’s first floor lobby or on patient care floors. Located at USC’s Health Sciences Campus, the USCUH is accessible on weekdays, 7 am to 7 pm. Volunteers can drive or use the inter-campus tram to get to site. CODA opportunities: Musical therapy/performance

  • A Community Place (ACP)

    Serves the homeless and working poor of the neighborhood surrounding the USC campus. Located on Vermont Avenue (across from USC gate 6), the ACP site offers CODA volunteers musical performances in the courtyard on Mondays and Wednesdays between the hours of 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. CODA opportunities: Musical performance

  • A Place Called Home (APCH)

    Is a drop-in center with the mission to provide at-risk youth with a secure, positive family environment where they can gain self-respect and learn skills to lead to a productive lifestyle free of the gangs, drugs and poverty that surround them. APCH has many opportunities for CODA volunteers from music lessons to help in the art department. All art and music classes are from 4:30 until 6:30 Monday through Friday. APCH is in the University Park Campus area located at 2830 South Central Ave. Volunteers can carpool or take the bus to the site. CODA opportunities: Art teacher assistant (classes include: sewing, drawing, comic book workshop, painting and graphics), dance lessons and music lessons (including musical recording).

  • Good Shepherd Shelter

    Is a shelter caring for women and children in abusive and inhumane situations. The shelter provides an on-site accredited school and on-site therapy for battered women and their children as well as on site apartment homes for those in need. They offer CODA volunteers the exceptional opportunity to help with art therapy sessions. The art therapy sessions are held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 1-3:30 pm. They also have a studio where volunteers can work with kids on art projects. CODA opportunities: Art therapy

  • All People’s Christian Center

    All Peoples Christian Center is a private nonprofit, non-sectarian, multi-cultural, multi-service agency with a mission to provide a broad spectrum of social services to all. The strive to empower the by promoting equality, unity, respect and self-determination. All Peoples Christian Center has become a comprehensive community center, delivering a myriad of social and educational services and activities. CODA opportunities: Dance lessons

  • Trojan Health Volunteers – CODA (THV-CODA)

    Students volunteering at USC University Hospital (USCUH), through the Trojan Health Volunteers program (THV), have the opportunity of practicing musical therapy firsthand. Under the terms of this collaborative partnership, one of the four weekly THV volunteer hours at USCUH is substituted for an hour of musical therapy as a CODA volunteer. These CODA hours are fulfilled by artistic performances on either the patient care floors or the ground floor lobby.

  • CODA Leadership: Elena Russel (

    Founded in 2007 by Kedar Naik and Andrew Pouw