One of the most exciting and gratifying aspects of our annual Creek to Bay Cleanup is seeing people take the initiative to clean up the environment around where they live and then to see their neighbors come together to help. Javier Hernandez is an amazing example of that. He has been working for many years to help clean up his neighborhood of Logan Heights and to show his children and neighbors that they can make a positive difference right in their own community.
Javier is the volunteer Site Captain at the Chollas Creek site near the intersection of 33rd and National Avenue. Upon first glance, it may just look like an empty dirt lot, but if you walk to the edge of the lot, you will see the trickling waters of Chollas Creek. The surrounding community has dealt with its share of challenges, from prostitution and homeless encampments that made it nearly impossible to even have a cleanup until just a few years ago. Knowing that there was a great need in the area, when one of his former co-workers (and past Creek to Bay volunteer) suggested Javier host a cleanup site, he knew it was the perfect opportunity to dive right in. After the first time, he kept coming back because he says he finds the experience so rewarding and loves to get friends and their kids involved in cleaning up their community.
Javier has worked hard to get both the City Council and Caltrans involved in creating momentum to clean up this area in his neighborhood. He felt that organizing a cleanup like Creek to Bay was “something I needed to do just because I live in the neighborhood and I don’t want my kids to see that…I want to show them something positive, show them that they can make a difference too.” This year he also has the full support from City Council District 8 who will be providing dumpsters for a community drop off event in addition to the ones provided by ILACSD so that members of the community can bring their old, discarded items for disposal at no cost, preventing illegal dumping.
Since Javier started his Creek to Bay site, the neighborhood has really taken initiative to help out and they’ve even started to expand to other sites in the area that are in need. Javier says, “It means the world to me to do this. If what I’m doing makes a difference to others that’s the most important thing.”
Join Javier at his cleanup site for this year’s Creek to Bay Cleanup! Register online today at www.CreektoBay.org.