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A Discussion with Dieter Dammeier About Charity work & Involvement as a Volunteer

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Dieter Dammeier is a practicing attorney with nearly 25 years of experience at every administrative and judicial level, including appearing before the United States and California Supreme Court. He graduated from Western State University, College of Law in 1996, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Juris Doctor degree in Law. He is the author of a published article in the Harvard Law & Policy Review (Fading Rights of Public Employees) and co-author of the Pocket Guide to the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act. He has also published numerous articles in statewide and national labor periodicals. He has presided over 300 cases as a judge pro tem in the Los Angeles Superior Courts and as a “fee dispute” arbitrator for the California State Bar.

Dieter has been fortunate enough over his career to be successful in business and with his law practice and he hopes to spread some of this success to others who may be struggling in different ways.  Before becoming an attorney, he was also a police officer and reserve deputy sheriff which allowed him to see the good and the bad of what society has to offer. He hopes that by promoting the importance of charity involvement and volunteering that others will get involved too.

Can you give us some insight into the volunteer/charity work you have been or are currently involved with?

All of my adult life, I have volunteered in many various capacities.  Even in my teens, I helped as a soccer coach for youth sports.  As I matured and increased my capabilities, I later volunteered as a reserve deputy sheriff.  After becoming an attorney, I was asked to be a board member for the Inland Chapter of the American Cancer Society.  I have also volunteered and handled hundreds of cases as a Volunteer Temporary Judge (Judge Pro Tem) in Los Angeles Superior Court.  As an attorney, I have also volunteered at free legal aid clinics and currently volunteer as an Arbitrator of attorney fee disputes for the State Bar of California.

Why is charitable involvement so important to you?

I think we all contribute to society, good or bad.  If more people positively pitch in, we all do better.  I grew up with a single mom who struggled financially.  If I can help a hard-working but struggling family to realize their dreams, they will do the same and so on.  I bring this same attitude to everything I do. I understand the struggles that groups or individuals go through so I hope to provide some relief and hope to those who are struggling.

Besides monetary donations, what are some other ways that people can get involved with their local charities?

Most charities do not need just money but need peoples’ time.  Use whatever expertise you have, find a cause you support that could use that expertise. In most cases, your time is more valuable to these organizations than your money. From my experience, volunteering my time and expertise has been much more rewarding than just sending money as you are directly able to see the positive impact that you are having on your local community. With that being said, it always comes down to what you can or are comfortable with giving back.

What has been the most satisfying moment in your volunteer/charity work thus far?

This is tough.  As an attorney and former police officer, I like it when justice is served so my volunteer work as a Temporary Judge, making rulings that gave justice to people or as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff, arresting people that were causing people to suffer, was very satisfying.  But when I have helped a kid play on a team or attend a function otherwise financially out of reach, there is also great satisfaction.

What advice can you share with others when donating / volunteering?

Whatever you can provide, whether it be monetary or volunteering time, everything makes a difference no matter how big or small. I have never regretted volunteering my time to something that I support or believe in. Seeing firsthand the difference it makes is infectious and always motivates me to do more. I believe that this is something that more people should get involved in because of the positivity and benefits that it generates not only for those in need but for the volunteers as well.

Do some research in your area, find local associations or groups that need any sort of help. With things being the way they are currently with the pandemic, there is an increased need to help, although donating time may be difficult in some cases due to lockdowns in certain areas and social distancing. The biggest takeaway here is don’t stay on the sidelines.  Life is short do what you can to make a difference.

CEO of Penske Media Group. Experienced Content Editor with a demonstrated history of working in the newspaper industry. Spoken on stages around the globe - NYU, US Embassy, P&G Toronto, and much more.

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