Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Many Small Influences Create Change

My name is Omar Passons, I am the volunteer President of the Board of Directors for the North Park Community Association (NPCA). The NPCA’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for all who live, work, and visit North Park through a combination of social and service actions. We seek to promote improvements in our community by encouraging as many people as possible to give whatever time they can because we understand that 100 people giving even a couple hours of their time can be a tremendous benefit for our community.

In the past twelve months, we have worked with neighbors, local government leaders, and businesses to achieve some important milestones for North Park. We helped remove over $20,000 worth of graffiti vandalism from our homes and public streets. Together, we removed several tons of waste from our streets and alleys with community clean-up efforts. And we came together as a community to raise the money for free summer concerts at Bird Park so that even in challenging economic times our neighbors were able to enjoy our open space and the friendly atmosphere that is typical of our neighborhoods.

In 2009, the NPCA began a long-term effort to help make physical and other improvements to our community’s largest public park, and after more than six months we worked with the School District and the City of San Diego to allocate more than $600,000 in resources that will help transform a large portion of this great community park. Through our Key Neighbor program and new collaborations, we’ve started working with dedicated volunteers from Pt. Loma, Ocean Beach, Normal Heights, Otay Mesa/Nestor and Pacific Beach to elevate our grassroots community improvement goals.

The thing about North Park specifically and volunteering in general is that it is not just about these distinct, measurable achievements. Our community cares about making improvements from within and about living in a place where you know your neighbors, can walk to great shops and restaurants, and where the spirit of giving in service to our neighborhoods really matters. It is that spirit that encouraged two of our neighbors to almost single-handedly repair a run-down street corner. That spirit also convinced one of our neighbors to run an anti-vandalism campaign that protects our businesses and residents with over 20 Key Neighbors. And that same spirit has fostered years of commitment from dozens of locals to improve access for our disabled neighbors, increase walkability, and the highlight the historical character of our neighborhoods. The NPCA is one volunteer organization, but in North Park great volunteer work is also done by the North Park Historical Society, the North Park Planning Committee, the University Heights Community Association, the Altadena Neighborhood Association, the Redwood Neighborhood Watch Group, the Burlingame HOA, the North Park Action Team, and dozens of individuals that I see out on walks picking up trash, passing out flyers, staffing booths, and helping our young people.

Many people don’t know that North Park actually stretches from down around Switzer Canyon all the way to north of Adams and from the 805 to Park. This is the area that the City uses to plan and the area that the NPCA focuses its volunteer efforts on. We have many small neighborhoods with their own individual character across North Park, and together we are working to create and maintain the type of community that is welcoming to all and a great place to live.

No comments: