Community Impact Heroes
These people are taking extraordinary action to make their communities healthier, safer, and more livable.
Heroism starts at home, and we all have the power to create change where we live.
Through deep local engagement and action, these heroes are bringing the joys and benefits of the outdoors to more people in their communities.
From helping revitalize alleyways in Los Angeles to using parks to increase civic engagement, from encouraging residents to raise their voices and create change to listening to neighbors’ needs and wants, the efforts of our community impact heroes take many forms.
These are their stories.
Partner Organization: Parque Padrinos
Community: Wenatchee, Washington
Local Park: Kiwanis Methow Park
Superpower: Helping her neighbors realize the power of their voices to make meaningful and representative change in their community.
In Her Words: “I remember myself in community meetings as a child. It makes a difference to be involved as a young person. Kids need to see and experience the fruits of their labor and organizing. Now that I see the Parque Padrinos leading on our own, I’m confident we have begun a movement that will impact lives wherever our people take this experience. I’ve learned that you don’t have a movement unless it can move without you.”
Partner Organization: Mantua Civic Association
Community: Mantua, West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Local Project: 37th and Mt. Vernon Playground
Superpowers: Empathy, hope, and charm. De’Wayne has an acute sense of what his community members are going through, what their needs are, what their dreams are.
In His Words: “One day—I was probably in fourth or fifth grade—the teacher went to the chalkboard and she wrote ‘impossible.’ And she was like, ‘What do you see?’ Everybody said, ‘impossible.’ And she said, ‘I see I’m possible.’ She put the apostrophe between the i and the m and it did say, ‘I’m possible.’ So when you think that everything is impossible, look at that word impossible and put the apostrophe in it.”
Partner Organization: Equipo Verde
Community: South Los Angeles, California
Local Project: Los Angeles Green Alleys
Superpower: Spreading hope through action and growing pride among her neighbors.
In Her Words: “A hero is person that you value, who is there with you for good times or bad times. I tell people all the time that I hope they understand that you play a very important part in someone else’s life. How you treat someone determines how that person sees themselves. You have the power to make someone shine or make someone feel lost.”
Partner Organization: Park Listeners
Community: Chattanoooga, Tennessee
Local Park: East Lake Park
Superpower: Empowering neighbors to express what they want to see in local green spaces—in their own languages, be that English, Spanish, or the sisters’ Indigenous Guatemalan dialect, Q’anjob’al.
In Their Words: “[Residents] want to see parks that are closer to their communities, closer to their homes,” says Claribel. Faviana adds, “A lot of residents said they would like parks to look more like those in their home countries. When they say ‘parks,’ it’s not what we picture here. They are used to gathering in public squares and plazas with fountains and flowers. People also wish there was more lighting since many get off work at seven or eight o’clock. The only time they have to enjoy a park is at night.”
We all have the power to make our communities better.