of Reed Hutchinson '71,
UCLA Photographic Services
clean (from left):
Douglas Doerr, Gina Williams and Ivan Estrada
"There's another one!" Gina Williams
hustles toward a cigarette butt on the ground behind the medical
center. With steely determination, she grabs the stubbed-out end
with the pincers of a metallic litter stick and holds it up briefly
for inspection before dropping it in a plastic trash bag that she
grasps in her left hand. A smile spreads over her face.
"I like to make this place so nice, so neat and soooooo pretty,"
says Williams, 42.
Williams is among the nearly three-dozen developmentally disabled
people who pick up litter on campus each day. Wearing bright blue
T-shirts with "UCLA Facilities Management" on the back,
these workers fan out each morning across the campus's 419 acres,
scooping up gum wrappers, soda cups and scraps of paper carelessly
tossed on the ground.
"I think they're great. They're here every day, and they always
have a smile on their faces," says Alesia Wilson, a surgery
Members of the litter squad come to UCLA through contracts with
two private agencies — Social Vocational Services in Torrance
and Milestones Behavioral Treatment Program in Los Angeles —
and earn up to $6.75 an hour. Ivan Estrada, 31, is saving up for
a trip to El Salvador, where he was born. He also likes to buy CDs
— he's a huge fan of Ozzy Osbourne. "I'm actually wearing
an Ozzy Osbourne T-shirt under this," he confides, tugging
at his blue UCLA shirt.
Like any workplace, there are rules, like having to keep the chatter
down. But that's OK with Ronnie Thomas, 31. "I'm here to work.
I'm not here to socialize," he says, aiming his litter stick
at a candy wrapper.