Over 90,000 pounds of trash have been removed from the streets of Isla Vista by Adopt-A-Block volunteers in the past years.
The local Adopt-A-Block program was established by the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District and receives funding from UCSB, the Goleta West Sanitary District and the County of Santa Barbara. According to the IVRPD’s statistics, 1,157 volunteers have devoted a total of 1,844 hours to the program since January 2009.
Angela Kamm, the business manager of IVRPD, said the program is one of the most popular organized by the parks board.
“The Adopt-A-Block program has been extremely effective in achieving its goal of keeping Isla Vista clean, healthy and beautiful,” Kamm said.
Michael Takahara, an advisor of Students Teaching Alcohol and Drug Responsibility and Healthy Eating and Living, said that participating in Adopt-A-Block was a rewarding activity.
“With 40 people holding trash bags on their hands, we swept Del Playa,” Takahara said. “Passersby boosted us, and we had lots of fun with cleaning up our own community.”
Volunteers include individuals and groups such as the UCSB Environmental Affairs Board, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and a variety of other athletic teams and greek organizations. Elementary school children also participate, serving as mini Adopt-A-Blockers.
Anne Aziz, the recreation coordinator for IVRPD, said she has witnessed an increase in community accountability in these young volunteers.
“Children also see the impacts on their community when people don’t care and just litter everywhere,” Aziz said. “They are very impressionable and do remember what do they have to do when a snack pack is littered on the street. The program really does something to make the wheels in their head turn.”
Local businesses — including I.V. Drip, Woodstock’s Pizza, Chino’s Rock & Tacos and UCen Dining Services — frequently sponsor the program by providing deals for volunteers.
Upcoming clean-ups are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 20 and Saturday, March 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers will meet in front of IVRPD office at 961 Embarcadero del Mar.