EmpowerLA Awardee Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) won for their outstanding community outreach and their “green” program, which has brought in many stakeholders from Mar Vista and beyond. MVCC educated and actively involved participants in taking personal responsibility for reducing their footprint and water usage and planting drought tolerant gardens and food producing gardens. Their annual “Green Garden Showcase” program excites the community and provides a great incentive to get more involved in the MVCC and community matters. It is a huge undertaking that provides for many volunteer opportunities from tour hosts to educational outreach and logistical volunteers.
The MVCC uses other programs to recruit volunteers and generate new interest and involvement in the Neighborhood Council. They maintain a volunteer program that is publicized on their website and at MVCC programs as well as at the MVCC booth at the weekly Mar Vista Farmers Market, which the Council supports and helped to launch. Their farmer’s market is now a gathering place for the community, and its presence has helped to launch a revitalization of the nearby Venice Blvd. business corridor. To obtain community input, the MVCC posts surveys for constituents so that the Board can be informed of public opinion and can take that information into account when formulating Council positions. Currently on the website are surveys on urban beekeeping and the Santa Monica Airport — both very timely neighborhood issues. By regularly taking the pulse of the community and making it easy for constituents to contact them (without necessarily attending meetings, which can be difficult for some), the MVCC has made government and their Council more responsive to local needs. The Council members can then make decisions based upon true community input–not personal preferences or political considerations.
MVCC also works regularly with its neighboring Councils and has truly built a wide network of involved participants in their community, developing programs and activities that can serve as models for others across the City.
Congratulations to the Mar Vista Community Council for increasing civic participation and making government more responsive to local needs!