Proactive in city's care

Keeping the city clean is a good investment, at least that’s how Joyce Ayvazi sees it.

The longtime community volunteer is chairwoman of the Committee for a Clean and Beautiful Glendale, which falls under the city of Glendale’s Neighborhood Services. It works along with Glendale Clean and Beautiful Inc., which raises funds for projects.

The committee is made up of volunteers — some still working, others retired — and they provide input for keeping the city clean, she said.

“We try to get a cross section of people on the committee,” she said. “We have Realtors, people from the Glendale Historical Society and Glendale Beautiful. They give us input.”

They report graffiti, or, one of the biggest problems facing south Glendale, she said, bulky items left on the street that people haven’t called the city to pick up.

If there’s a problem in Glendale, Ayvazi will solve it, said Julie Shermer, Glendale Clean and Beautiful fund development coordinator.

“She is a proactive person,” Shermer said. “If she sees something that needs doing, she’ll either take care of it herself or get someone else to fix it. I enjoy her very much and she is a great leader of our group.”

In May, the committee organizes the Great Graffiti Paint-Out that draws between 300 and 500 people, Ayvazi said.

The committee was also instrumental for the campaign to stop grocery store carts from getting removed from the markets, she said.

They also host a poster contest for children to remind adults to keep the city clean.

“Children love to correct their parents telling them ‘don’t smoke’ or ‘don’t eat this,’” she said. “The theme this year was ‘Keep Glendale Clean and Green,’ and children helped their parents learn how to recycle.”

Keeping Glendale clean is important for many reasons, Ayvazi said.

“We’re a city that sits up against the mountains and it’s beautiful,” she said. “I get upset when I see trash. It makes a bad impression on visitors.”

She and her husband, Joe, just returned from Panama and she was amazed at how clean and free of graffiti the city was, she said.

“As a visitor, this is how I see other countries,” she said. “When people get off the freeway, I want people to think we are proud of our city. If people feel safe, they will come and spend their money.”

Joyce and Joe Ayvazi have lived in Glendale since 1964 and just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Joe Ayvazi is the co-owner of Damon’s Steak House.

When the couple were planning to get married, Joe Ayvazi told her he wanted her to stay home and raise their children, she said.

Joyce Ayvazi began volunteering when her son started school at Holy Redeemer.

“I volunteered to work the lunch periods at times and I enjoyed working in the library,” she said. “I would give one day or two days a week.”

When Joe Ayvazi became involved with Boy Scouts, Joyce was asked to lead a Webelos group.

“The mothers all worked, and they asked me to take the 10 or 12 boys,” she said. “As a leader, when I needed cookies for an event, I asked the mothers to supply them. I knew their time was limited.”

Later the Ayvazis joined the March of Dimes and were chairmen of the annual fundraiser for four years, she said. That led to her joining the Women’s Committee of the Glendale Symphony Orchestra Assn., in the mid-1980s and serving as president in 1989.

She also served on the YWCA board for six years, but had to give up volunteer work when she was diagnosed with cancer in the early 1990s, she said.

Outside of the city, Joyce Ayvazi volunteers with the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs.

One of issues that has recently come to light is the property tax reduction scam where a business will offer help to reduce one’s property tax for a fee.

“But you can do this yourself,” she said. “You have a piece of property and the value has dropped, you can go to the county for free and file a petition to lower the tax on it.”

Many of the people new to the city don’t know this fact and pay to have the service, she said, and the business makes the paperwork look like it came from the county, which is illegal, she said.

“The reason I enjoy the group is I find out information that I pass on to others,” she said.

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