“Parks are worth the investment because children and families are worth the investment” – Antonio, Fresno Boys and Men of Color Youth Leader
Congratulations organizers in south Fresno! This spring we are working towards the groundbreaking of a new skate park in south Fresno—where there exists a great need for more recreational space and where there is much fewer park space than in north Fresno.
Sher Moua, Program Manager of Fresno’s Boys and Men of Color (BMOC), opened the Skate Park Groundbreaking ceremony by voicing the coalition and community’s commitment, “to creating One Healthy Fresno with more and better parks for all.” The process for green and open space began last year when over 250 youth were convened to provide input on park development. In the park design process, youth and adult allies worked together to envision the needs for a park in their community and develop a design.
BMOC Youth Leader Antonio Jauregui, who played an important role in this process, shared that many youth and Fresno residents do not have access to clean, safe parks. For Antonio, the closest, cleanest, and safest park is miles away from his home. Antonio emphasized the correlation between access to parks and health when, “Living near a park gives families more opportunities to be physically active and bond, creating healthy and active lifestyles.”
“Parks promote community engagement and civic pride, creating stronger, more healthy, and safer neighborhoods,” Antonio said.
The struggle to bring park space was not without its challenges, as Sandra Celedon-Castro, Hub Manger of Fresno Building Healthy Communities, pointed out. One of the biggest challenges was securing all the necessary permits to finally break ground that day.
“It isn’t political. It’s public health, it’s economic development, and it’s in the best interest of the City of Fresno,” said Venise Curry. Adult ally Doctor Venise Curry is Regional Director of Communities for a New California Education Fund, and she commended youth’s efforts in bringing open and green space to their community.
Additional speakers and adult allies included Fresno Parks Director Manuel Mollinedo and the Street League Skateboarding Foundation. Sher Moua closed the event by congratulating youth for their hard work: “This work is a reflection of the youth’s achievement. This is for them. They were proactive in this process. Their voices were heard throughout this process, so I really want to honor them.”
Youth leaders from Fresno’s Boys and Men of Color (BMOC) are working with Fresno Building Healthy Communities to make their community a safe and healthy place for youth to grow up. BMOC is a statewide movement where a brotherhood of young men, boys, and adult allies are working to change systems and policies to improve the health outcomes of all young people. In Fresno, the work is supported by The California Endowment.
The new skate park is scheduled to open in Spring 2016.
“Healthy parks mean healthy residents, which result in a healthy community, and one healthy Fresno” – Antonio, Fresno Boys and Men of Color Youth Leader