Lauren Swerdloff, Columbia University

Lauren River Swerdloff is the author of Uplifting Lives, the true story of the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic's remarkable 48-year legacy. She is a member of the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic’s Board of Directors and has volunteered at the clinic for more than seven years.

Her volunteer work has been recognized by a Volunteer Service Award from

President Barack Obama and a Community Service Award from California Assemblyman Mike Gatto.

Lauren's dedication to community service began when she was fourteen years old, as she baked cookies with her mother and sold them on a weekly basis to raise money for the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic. 

Within her first year of volunteering, Lauren met Eddie, a little boy who was struggling to read in the clinic’s waiting room. He confided to her that his family only spoke Spanish at home, and that the kids at school bullied him for the way he read. 

Lauren River Swerdloff

Lauren, too, was a native Spanish speaker. Her parents taught her to appreciate her multicultural family at a young age. Lauren's conversation with Eddie and his love for her stories about her dog Sprinkles, who Eddie renamed "Señor Sprinkles," inspired her to write, illustrate, and publish a bilingual children’s book in Spanish and English for Eddie and children in similar situations. 

The proceeds from the sales of her first book, Señor Sprinkles, helped Lauren raise more funds for the clinic and call attention to the need for multicultural children’s books in local bookstores. 

Lauren's love for writing has persisted over the years and is reflected in her most recent work of non-fiction, Uplifting Lives, ​which explores how the volunteers of the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic have addressed pressing social realities in Los Angeles. In 2016, she wrote, directed and produced the short documentary film Suazo: The True Story of a Los Angeles Hero, based on one chapter from Uplifting Lives

Lauren will graduate from Columbia University, with a degree in Human Rights and Political Science, in 2017. 

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