FRiends of GR Parks is a proactive, inclusive, grassroots community organization that in its very short existence has raised hundreds of friends and volunteers to support, enhance and advocate for the parks in our community. The director is a spark plug for engaging representation from all neighborhoods and has inspired involvement of political officials, funders and corporations as well in these challenging times. A number of special events in the past year have raised widespread awareness of the need to become a "friend" in order to protect and sustain the park system as a critical part of the quality of life in our community. In a short time, we have come a long way in that regard.
I love Friends of Grand Rapids Parks. Seriously. The mission engages so many people-- and people are passionate about their parks. Last year at Parks Clean-Up Day, I met a man with his ten year old son raking, picking up trash and removing branches from our neighborhood park's open space. He told me he had just gotten off third shift (implying he hadn't slept yet) and this was a great thing to do with his son. He and his son stayed for hours cleaning up their park. Friends of Grand Rapids Parks helps engage families and their communities around their shared, open space.
I've worked with the Friends board, membership and executive director Steve Faber for a year. Together we continue to recruit a growing army of Friends, raise money, build partnerships and upset the status quo in City Hall - all in the service of better parks, a stronger economy, improved environmental stewardship and a healthier community. The organization is solutions-oriented, with the elbow grease and credibility in the community to get the job done.