Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer of the Month: April 2010

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Friends of West Sunset Playground, Winter 2009 This month NPC honors the Friends of West Sunset Playground by naming them our volunteers of the month!

Below, core member Harmmonie Wexler gives her perspective on her time volunteering with FOWSP and accepts the award in honor of the entire FOWSP team who is busy planning their annual fundraiser event Tastes of the Sunset to be held on May 15, 2010.

Harmmonie Wexler and daughter EllieWhat inspired you to join FOWSP?

I heard that money from a bond passed by voters would be spent on a neighboring playground instead of ours.  That wasn’t good enough for me.

We deserve to have a clean and safe playground close to our home for our children and community.  At the same time, I met FOWSP’s founding member Art Tom through the Outer Sunset Families group.  He was looking for other families who felt the same about the West Sunset Playground.

The group formed and I haven’t missed a meeting yet!

What has been the best part of planning the Tastes of the Sunset event?

The Sunset community has been so supportive.  Almost every business we solicited is participating in one form or another.  Many business owners grew up here and remember playing at the West Sunset Playground.  They were happy to help out.  It feels like “the village” is taking care of what the City could not.

What are your hopes for the event?
That some millionaire from the Sunset donates all the money we need to build our playground! Seriously though, I hope that the community comes out to have a great time and celebrate how far our group has come.  Now that we are in the final design phase it really feels like all our hard work just might pay off.

Friends of West Sunset Playground are fiscally sponored by the Neighborhood Parks Council.

Want to donate to Friends of West Sunset Playground? Click here to donate online

Volunteers of the Month: Dolores Park Works

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Dolores Park Works

Dolores Park Works is a nonprofit volunteer organization that celebrates Dolores park by improving and preserving the natural beauty, culture, and infrastructure, and instilling pride and responsibility in her diverse patrons.

This month, NPC is honoring Dolores Park Works as Volunteers of the Month in recognition of the immense impact this new park group has already had.

1. What inspired you to volunteer at Dolores Park?

Rob Lord: Dolores Park is a rare and ameliorative amalgam of urban and natural experiences. I wanted to pitch in to preserve and improve its existence.

Crystal Vann Wallstrom: I was at Dolores Park on inauguration day and my friends and I were talking about Dolores Park and the need for better and more bathrooms. We all agreed we would give money to an organization that made that happen. Fast-forward eight months. I didn’t actually do anything about it until this summer when the articles started coming out that told of increased attention in the park by police regarding noise violations, the enforcement of no alcohol, and the reduction in the number of events in Dolores Park.

Fearing the worst and hoping for the best, I immediately got involved and started attending community meetings where I learned that some of the issues could be resolved with a little community team work, instilling a sense of individual pride in and responsibility for Dolores Park by park patrons, and encouraging respect for differing points of view. I quickly found myself a founding member of and chair the steering committee for Dolores Park Works.

Robert Brust: When we moved back into the Mission Dolores it had changed so much. Dolores Park was this vital community hub for the whole neighborhood and the city, and yet the park itself was so tattered and beat up. The lawns, the paths, the flowerbeds, and the poor little restroom were in obvious decline.

2. What do you enjoy most about volunteering at the park?

Rob Lord: The hands-on clean-up events with my daughter on my back and my dog on his leash taking direct action to remove litter, restoring the park to its peak state.

Crystal: I enjoy meeting all the people and working together to celebrate, improve and preserve this great space. To me, Dolores Park is more than a park; it’s San Francisco’s town square. I always feel a great sense of community when I’m doing anything in the park.
Robert Brust: The connections I get to make with people. It is so easy to have nothing but the most superficial relationship with people you see everyday. While working with my neighbors to improve this big part of our lives, I have meet and gotten to know so many of them.

3. What is your vision for Dolores Park?

Rob Lord: To ensure that that all Dolores Park revelers, visitors and patrons have an optimal park experience today and tomorrow.

Crystal: My vision for Dolores Park is that it continues to be host countless only-in-San Francisco moments; that its beauty and functionality continues to improve; and that park patrons enjoy their visit and when it’s time to leave, that they “leave no trace.”
Robert Brust: I see Dolores continuing in the duel roles of civic hub and neighborhood park. Our job as citizen advocates is to help the Park Department, city government and park patrons bring this about. I see a park as well maintained as those on Nob Hill and Pacific Heights. More flowerbeds, well-maintained and lit walkways and more park benches, all would be a welcome addition to Dolores’ sweeping lawns.

I see more programs and facilities that invite our neighbors to come out to the park. We now have several small fitness groups, a tai chi class and the dog walkers that have meet in the park for years.

I see Dolores Park and the neighborhood continuing to embrace our role as host to citywide civic events. This is our biggest challenge—accommodating several thousand visitors on a given weekend, while maintaining the park, our neighborhood and our good spirits.

To donate to Dolores Park Works, please click here . You can visit their website at http://www.doloresparkworks.org/

Volunteer of the Month: Joyce Pedersen

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Joyce Pedersen

Joyce Pedersen has been working with NPC over the last several years contributing to the “I Love My Park” section of the monthly newsletter. Joyce’s work has always been compelling and engaging, and this month we are recognizing her efforts.

1. What do you love about volunteering with NPC?

I love exploring a different park each month.  Volunteering with SFNPC to cover the “I Love My Park” feature has introduced me to less publicized parks throughout the city.  Each month I meet great San Franciscans who love the parks and city.

2. What was one of your favorite or most memorable submissions?

The park interview in Buena Vista Park featuring two friends hula hooping.  They were cute and  loved hooping while enjoying the views of the city.

3. How do you choose the people you highlight in ILMP?

I look for people doing something  that I’ve not captured before in an interview.  Over the years that has involved;  Frisbee, soccer, tennis, hula hooping, reading, picnicking, walking a dog.

Volunteer of the Month: February 2010

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Salesforce LogoThis month we feature Donna Nielsen as our Volunteer of the Month. Donna has supported NPC staff since August of 2009 in our efforts to improve our Salesforce database. Having up-to-date information facilitiates NPC’s advocacy and community building work. We thank Donna for her detailed-oriented dedication to our organization.

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What inspired you to viagra generique volunteer with NPC?

When searching for a volunteer opportunity, I was impressed by how far-reaching the benefits of NPC’s activities are to each community member. By ensuring continued access to beautiful, clean, and safe parks, children can plan in the healthy outdoors, neighbors meet and form friendships and community bonds, and cialis online older residents enjoy a place to sit in the sun and associate with others. I was also impressed by the willingness of the community members themselves to assume responsibility to support NPC’s goals.

What was your favorite part cialis price of your volunteer experience?


This opportunity to work with viagra female pills the NPC staff behind the scenes provided a way for me to help them leverage the front-line work they were doing. It proved the point that if there is a wcw viagra on a pole match cause you want to support, you can usually find a way.

Photography and spending time with my dog are favorite pasttimes and give me the incentive to get to visit more of the parks. Thank you, NPC!

Volunteer of the Month: January 2010

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

 This month we feature Richard Sloan as our Volunteer of the Month. Wearing two hats as a Sports Basement employee and NPC volunteer, Richard recently organized a Soccer Skills Clinic for neighborhood kids at

Franklin Square.

What are your favorite aspects of volunteering to improve Franklin Square?

Some of my favorite aspects of volunteering at Franklin Square are working with youth from the neighborhood. Since I use the field for my own soccer practices, I want to inspire the local kids to take pride in the park and use the field it to its full potential.

What inspired you to volunteer?

I love the game of soccer and I rarely see the neighborhood kids on the pitch. It’s a great asset to the area and I want to get the kids excited about playing. The more they can get excited about soccer—off the couch and out of the house, the better the community will be. I love seeing the potential of these young kids and want to make a difference in their lives.

What is your vision for Franklin Square?

With more volunteers and more community support and pride, Franklin Square could be an even better resource for the neighborhood. I truly believe in the domino effect—the more the local residents care for and clean the park, the more they will use and enjoy it. It’s a great place and I am proud to be a part of it.

Rich is looking forward to organizing more clinics and pick-up games in the future, and would especially like to incorporate a clean-up activity to instill a sense of stewardship and responsibility in the kids who use the Franklin Square field. If you’re interested in working with Rich to bring these types of activities to Franklin Square, please contact him at sloangroup@gmail.com.

Volunteer of the Month: December 2009

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

This December we feature Eddie Williams, a father of a youth soccer player, as our Volunteer of the Month. buy viagra in india cash on delivery Here is a note from Eddie describing what draws him to volunteering at Garfield Park:

“My reason for volunteering is mainly due to my son playing

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soccer for  Chivas USA best price cialis 10mg , one of the many Mission Youth Soccer teams that practices at Garfield Park. Playing soccer with my son along with going to Garfield Park on a regular basis has made me want to spread the word about one of the jewels in the Mission neighborhood.

I will continue volunteering at Garfield Park, giving back to a park that is so far giving me some wonderful times with my son.”

Click here to read about a recent event at Garfield that Eddie worked at, and viagra online canadian pharmacy see how you can cialis cancun get involved as well!

Volunteers of the Month: November 2009

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

NPC fall interns, Megan Anderson, Andrea Buglione and Steven Bowles have dedicated their time and talents to supporting NPC’s work and improving parks in San Francisco. The NPC staff would like to thank these three for their excellent work!

Megan Anderson Andrea Buglione Steven Bowles

What are your favorite aspects of interning at NPC?
The opportunity to become familiar with all aspects of a non-profit — researching park and open space issues, helping with program development (I think all 5 of our core programs are fascinating), putting my graphic design skills to work on various assignments, and tabling at park events.  Also, eating lunch outside in Patricia’s Green in Hayes Valley next to our office– this experience always reaffirms my love for parks. Most importantly, I truly enjoy the people who work at NPC; their passion for parks is incredibly inspiring.

What inspired you to become an NPC intern?
The need for more open space and parks in cities inspired me to become a NPC intern. I just graduated from college where I studied Government and Environmental Science & Policy and began to understand the need for an interdisciplinary approach to urban issues. Economic development, ecological conservation, social interaction, community building, recreation, relaxation and stress reduction: all of these assets are directly related to the number and quality of parks in a city.

How do you plan to use this experience in the future?
I hope to become a city planner with a focus on sustainable land use– next year I’m going to graduate school to pursue a degree in Urban & Regional Planning.  This internship has truly given me a great foundation for land-use planning issues, particularly the multitude of stakeholders that are involved in the planning and advocacy process.  Parks are awesome! Thank you!

What are your favorite aspects of interning at NPC?
Being able to meet and talk to people in the community.

What inspired you to become an NPC intern?
My initial interest in NPC came about after reading an article on ParkScan.org. I thought the work NPC was doing in improving parks and open space was really important, and when I found out NPC was looking for interns, I jumped on the opportunity.

How do you plan to use this experience in the future?
NPC has exposed me to a lot of great people, and I’m so thankful for the experience.  I have many interests I want to explore, but in the future I hope to continue working with organizations that seek to improve open space.

What are your favorite aspects of interning at NPC?
I love that I am able to work on a variety of tasks, instead of just doing the same one or two things every day. I enjoy being able to put in some office time working on skills that will serve in good stead later on down the road, while also getting outside and visiting different parks in parts of the city that I’ve never ventured into, putting my photography skills to work while sharpening my data-collecting acumen.

What inspired you to become an NPC intern?
Becoming an NPC intern sounded like an excellent opportunity to gain some experience with GIS, while also playing a part in the evolution of a program (ParkScan) that will greatly aid in the general upkeep of San Francisco’s many parks and open spaces.

How do you plan to use this experience in the future?
I’ve had the chance to learn and build upon skills that will represent me well on my resume, such as GIS mapping, SalesForce database maintenance, outreach, data collection and data analysis/reporting.

Volunteer of the Month: October 2009

Monday, September 28th, 2009

 This month we honor Sarah Davis and Kim Drutz of Mission Bay Famlies as our Volunteers of the Month.

Sarah Davis (left) grew up in what is now Mission Bay, on a floating home.  She is the mother of a 4-year-old daughter, and is an event and party planner.  Kim Drutz (right), the mother of a two year old, teaches 7th grade at Burlingame Intermediate School, and has lived in Mission Bay since 2004.

Sarah and Kim have been working with parents and other neighbors in and around Mission Bay to advocate for families in San Francisco’s newest neighborhood.  Their current project is building a children’s garden and playground in Mission Bay.  They encourage all families in the area to join them.  Check out their project at: http://www.missionbayfamilies.org.

What are your favorite aspects of volunteering to improve Mission Bay?
Getting to know all the new families in the area.

What inspired you to volunteer?
When Mission Bay is complete there will be 4,300 market rate and 1,700 affordable apartments and condominiums. Only about one-fourth of the housing is built, and we already have over 300 children living here! More and more families are deciding to settle and raise their children here. We need to be ready with playgrounds, childcare, and schools!

What is your vision for your project and the future of the neighborhood?
We are planning for the playground to open in the summer of 2010!   Next steps: Get more child care in the area, and work on getting a new SFUSD public school in Mission Bay!

Volunteer of the Month: September 2009

Friday, August 28th, 2009

 Jessica Fields is our Volunteer of the Month for September.  Jessica joined NPC as a volunteer for the JCC Maccabi Youth Games DOCAS project (Day of Caring and Sharing) earlier this summer, and quickly expanded her role from there.

Immediately, Jessica’s enthusiasm and talent were evident. Whether designing a new survey for playground assessment, coordinating the volunteer efforts of hundreds of Maccabi games participants, or using her creativity to create collages depicting the DOCAS event, Jessica continually excelled at her assignments.

She is currently back at school at Marin Academy, and will graduate this year. Congratulations, Jessica–you will be greatly missed! Click here to watch a video about the DOCAS project that Jessica helped put together.

What were your favorite aspects of volunteering during the DOCAS project?

My favorite aspects of volunteering during the DOCAS project were getting to interact with the JCC Maccabi athletes and coaches as well as the SF Rec and Park staff through the interviews I conducted.

It felt great to be documenting a day devoted to such a positive activity that made such an impact on San Francisco’s parks. I loved getting to see the teens working together with the Rec and Park staff to accomplish their projects and to hear directly from them what they were enjoying most about the day.

What inspired you to do this work?

I was inspired to work with the SFNPC because I love spending time outside in nature, and I wholeheartedly support NPC’s mission to preserve and protect San Francisco’s parks.  I’ve realized that the confluence of nature and city life in San Francisco has had an immense impact on who I am as a person, and I love helping to ensure that others get to enjoy this rare balance as much as I do.

What are your hopes for San Francisco’s parks?

I hope that San Francisco’s parks stay well maintained, because healthy parks will draw people outside.  If people are inspired to go out and visit their local park and enjoy the time they spend there, then they will likely develop an appreciation for the natural spaces we have in San Francisco. By maintaining San Francisco’s parks, we can help to foster this sentiment in people throughout the city. In this way, we can also move beyond San Francisco, for the only way we can take action to protect our environment globally is if people genuinely care about and recognize its importance.

Volunteer of the Month: August 2009

Friday, July 31st, 2009


Becky Perrine, Crocker Amazon Park Advisory Committee

What are your favorite aspects of volunteering at Crocker Amazon?

I have several favorite things about volunteering in the park.  I love meeting and working with neighbors and park users.  Having a neighborhood park that accommodates so many different activities at the same time but is also the gateway to vast amounts of open space is really special.  The park attracts a diverse crowd, which is one of the things I love about living in the Excelsior.  My gardening skills are pretty basic so I’ve really enjoyed learning from Park staff and gardeners, although there aren’t nearly enough of them. (My least favorite thing is mulching, but I have found it is a great group activity.)

What inspired you to do this work?

I live right next to the park, walk my dog in the off-leash park everyday and play soccer at the awesome new turf fields. However, I was really inspired to get involved after seeing my neighbor, Matt, tackle an area that was being chronically used a dumping site. I had filed a few complaints about various things in the park in the past, but wanted to do more than just complain (not to say that 311 and parkscan.org aren’t great resources) and it was my luck that others had laid the groundwork for regular workdays.

What are your hopes for Crocker Amazon?

For a long time, and much longer than my time in the neighborhood, Crocker Amazon has had a bad reputation.  I get reminded of this every time I call for a cab to SFO. The new turf soccer fields are a tremendous asset to the park, the neighborhood, and the City and have impressed even some of the local skeptics.  Having said that, Crocker Amazon is much bigger than the soccer complex and desperately needs modernization to its infrastructure.  Most of the fencing in the park is reminiscent of a prison yard, which really hurts its aesthetic appeal.  I’d like to see recycling bins make an appearance some day.  Given the age of a lot of the park’s infrastructure, I think that there is tremendous opportunity to implement green solutions for drainage and irrigation, water permeable walking paths, and lighting.

I’d also like resources and attention paid to this park’s tree situation. We lose trees every year and have many old and sick trees in disrepair. We need a plan to reforest this area.  Finally, I’d like to see users of the soccer fields take better care of them or lose the privilege of playing on them.  We need our park staff for other things than picking up garbage and sunflower seeds!