How can a Neighborhood Council mobilize almost 1,000 people to help its community?
The Sun Valley Area Neighborhood Council (SVANC) took on the “Clean Streets Challenge “to create not just clean streets, but to REACH OUT AND ENGAGE their COMMUNITY. 992 people participated in the Challenge.
SVANC Partnerships provided leadership that made everyone proud throughout Sun Valley and beyond. All the local major Waste and Recycling businesses, many pro-active small businesses, City agencies and services, the LAPD and Cadets, the Boy Scouts, local Churches and Schools all worked with the community and all donated generously.
The Council decided to accept the Clean Streets Challenge in August. Its first thought was how to engage the broadest community participant base. They decided to attack this problem on four fronts.
1) Block captains: Coordinated requests for trash cans and alerts in their areas for reporting via the My311 app. Petitions were prepared, circulated and submitted. The app is used to alert the City to problems and request city services. It uses GPS to pinpoint where help is needed.
2) Engage school children and their parents: Principals and teachers at Sun Valley elementary schools were asked to involve their students in a special coloring/drawing contest. Three schools responded; 363 entries were submitted. The First-Place drawing became the poster for the November 5 cleanup. All finalists received prizes and the teacher of the class that the winner came from received $100 to be used for her students.
3) Engage young people – teenagers and up – who are frequent users of Smart phones to use the MyLA 311 app. To this end, SVANC enlisted a group of students from John H. Francis Polytechnic High School (Poly) and Sun Valley Boy Scout Troop 79. A core group was trained and then they helped teach fellow students and friends how to use the app. Students were rewarded, for loading their app, with a treat from an ice-cream cart that the neighborhood council rented.
4) Before CLEAN THAT CORRIDOR DAY, the Council asked Sun Valley Waste companies to partner with the community. They got pledges for two skip loaders and a Bobcat loader. Another partner pledged to process the tons of waste through its recycling facility. Volunteer groups provided more than 140 people, and community benefactors came through with food for all those volunteers. No one went hungry, and all worked hard on the project.
Here are some treasured memories that will continue for years for so many in the community:
- 6-year-old Elijah, winner of the coloring contest, having his picture taken with 95-year-old Anthony Severa, who asked to have his picture taken with the “celebrity” Elijah.
- Boy Scouts unloading equipment for others.
- Church ladies constantly checking to make sure food was plentiful.
- A Waste Management manager pushing the wheelchair of a youth community volunteer