Volunteers Toby Smith and Zuleima Jimenez proudly hold their new sign that will be displayed on their block.
Groups of volunteers from local schools, churches, organizations and businesses in downtown Ventura’s westside district are rolling up their sleeves to help transform local streets into thriving and welcoming environments—through a new program launched by the Westside Community Development Corporation (WCDC) with the help of Aera Energy.
The development corporation was able to utilize a $10,000 donation from Aera Energy to purchase start-up kits for the launch of its new Adopt-A-Block Program, designed to engage local businesses, churches, schools and other organizations by adopting one of more than 20 blocks in the Ventura Avenue Corridor that are in need of care and attention.
“We knew we wanted to get this program off the ground but couldn’t have done this without the help of Aera Energy,” said Jackie Micaela Pearce, executive director of the Westside Community Development Corporation (WCDC). “We did not have the funding to purchase the starter kits to get the program going, and Aera was willing to step in and help where we needed it the most. This shows Aera’s commitment as a valued community partner and their dedication to helping make our community an even better place to work and live.”
By adopting a street, each group is pledging to maintain the street by hosting regular clean-up and maintenance events. In turn, groups are given a kit stocked with applicable supplies such as brooms, dust pans, buckets, gloves, trash bags, community information boards, and graffiti wipes. If they find a need for additional supplies on their streets such as cigarette-butt dispensers or anti-graffiti paint, those can be requested as well.
“We strongly support partnerships and collaborations within our communities and when we heard about WCDC’s Adopt-A-Block program – it was something we knew we had to get behind,” said Michele Newell, Aera Energy public affairs coordinator for Ventura County. “The Westside is our neighborhood and our goal is to make this a great place to live and work for everyone. We believe that if we come together as part of a collective effort to keep our streets clean, beautiful and free from weeds, graffiti and litter, it will make our community better for all.”
So far, more than a dozen local businesses, schools and churches have stepped up to adopt streets along the corridor. Each block will have a personalized sign with the name of the group that adopted it — a display of how a community can pitch in to make a profound impact.
“It’s truly a group effort. We are excited to get our local businesses and organizations involved in helping to transform our community into a walkable, friendly and welcoming environment. We as a community live, reside, worship and do business on the westside — and we need to take pride in our neighborhood streets and take a proactive approach to taking care of our streets,” Pearce said.