“Oh My God We’ll be Clean!” – A Vision for Trash-Free Streets that Might Actually Work

Neighborhood cleanup organization, Volunteers Cleaning Communities, is looking for leaders to help keep Studio City and Sherman Oaks streets clean. 

volunteers cleaning communities
Stock Photo by Suzy Hazelwood at Pexels

More than 200 people volunteered to help clean up 17 miles of Ventura Boulevard this past Earth Day weekend thanks to an event spearheaded by Volunteers Cleaning Communities (VCC). Now it’s time for neighborhood leaders to keep up the good work, according to organizers. 

VCC is a San Fernando Valley based organization dedicated to picking trash up across the Valley, one neighborhood at a time. The organization’s model is unique–it aims to sponsor regular weekly cleanups in every Valley neighborhood by enlisting Team Leaders from each community to coordinate ongoing garbage pick-ups. 

Similar to franchise retail operations, VCC will help set up each neighborhood leadership group with the necessary tools, teach them best practices for successful cleanups and help them promote the neighborhood events. 

“If we have all of these communities doing at least once-a-week cleanups in every community, oh my god, we’ll be clean!” said Jill Mather of Chatsworth, who founded VCC. “It makes people feel good, it’s good exercise, it gets you out.” 

VCC does five to six cleanups a week all over the Valley and is looking to grow. VCC is looking for leaders in Sherman Oaks and Studio City to lead the charge doing at least one cleanup a week in our local neighborhoods, as well as other Valley neighborhoods. 

“My goal is to get a VCC leader in every community in the San Fernando Valley,” said Mather. “I supply them with the grabbers, bags, vests, everything that they need to create a group of their own.” 

“They’re part of us and we’ll support them,” she added. 

Mather started the organization in 2020 after retiring from a career in Training and Development in the restaurant and entertainment industries. It officially became VCC in 2021 when the organization was granted 501c3 status. Mather has led numerous large-scale cleanups over the years. VCC has worked to pick up trash on major streets, train tracks, abandoned homeless encampments, the LA River and even three miles of the 118 Freeway. 

The recent Ventura Boulevard cleanup was the largest ever organized on the famous boulevard stretching from Valley Circle to Universal Studios. 

“It was a challenge to coordinate five Neighborhood Councils and four Chambers of Commerce, as well as government officials on this project,” said Mather. “But as soon as they learned what we were doing they worked together to help VCC accomplish the event” 

“I have some amazing volunteers that go to every cleanup five to six days a week,” she said. “And we bring new people in all the time, they maybe can’t come as often, but they certainly join any time they can.” 

VCC was recently informed it was named Nonprofit of the Year by California Senator Henry Stern and will be awarded the title in Sacramento at the Capitol June 9th.

For info on how to donate and/or get involved, visit the VCC website:


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