Paragon’s Erica Levin on serving your community: “Just get started”

We recently spoke with Erica Levin, a realtor with SVR sponsor Paragon Real Estate Group, about her work, her non-profit involvement, and Paragon’s commitment to community service.

SVR: Tell us about your job as a realtor.

Erica: My work allows me to be a therapist, financial adviser, designer, concierge, and overall life helper and confidant. I love that my clients really engage with me and that I am able to help them in so many ways—it is wonderfully rewarding work!

SVR: Besides your work at Paragon, you are very active in your community. Tell us more.

Erica: Yes! Sometimes I wish I could clone myself to get it all done! I sit on the board of directors of Mission Graduates. We work with kids in the public schools providing tutoring, after-school programs, pregnancy prevention counseling, and a vital program called College Connect that provides stewardship in getting kids to college. I also co-founded Inner Mission Community Association. IMCA is a group made up of residents and business owners in the inner Mission. We work on issues that are of concern to our members and coordinate to work with our supervisor, the mayor’s office, the police, and other agencies to address many issues in our neighborhood.

SVR: What inspired you become involved in these organizations?

Erica: I value engaging with the community where I live. I cannot see a problem or concern and not try to do something to address it. I believe that kids are the key to our future, and these days they need a lot of support. Knowing your neighbors makes communities safer, and having a sense of community provides people a sense of place. I feel grateful to be in a position to work with so many committed people and to learn so much and offer what I know as a resource.

SVR: What advice would you give to people who want to help?

Erica: Just get started! There are so many ways to engage, whether it is mentoring a young person, spending time at your kid’s school or volunteering at a food bank, or sweeping the street in front of your house. We each have a gift to give, and I have found that just doing something and applying the time and attention is a great way to begin.

SVR: Why do feel it’s important to keep music education in the schools?

Erica: I loved music class as a kid. I gravitated toward the creative arts and learned so much about discipline and follow-through from the creative process. Kids need the arts, and music is a great way to express oneself. It troubles me that in our time, music has to be fought for in the public schools.

SVR: Paragon Real Estate is also very involved in the local community. Can you tell me more about that?

Erica: Paragon places a great importance on community involvement. We have a community fund that each agent can elect to contribute to and Paragon will match the contribution 50/50. We participate yearly in Habitat for Humanity, and gave away $35,500 in 2007 and $25,100 so far in 2008.

A native of Chicago, Erica Levin went to the Claremont Colleges in Claremont, California and fell in love with the west coast. Erica has a B.A. in psychology and studio art and an M.A. in marriage family child counseling as well as art therapy. After nine successful years as a prop and wardrobe stylist on national ad campaigns, annual reports, and television commercials, she followed her personal passion into a full-time real estate career. Erica lives and works in San Francisco.