By Viviana Franco – Daily Breeze
When I was growing up in Hawthorne, there was a spot along the 105 Freeway we called “the dirt field.” The freeway cut off access to the few parks we had in our neighborhood, so my friends and I just hung out in the dirt field — nothing more than a tiny dirt vacant lot. It was our ballfield, our playground and our place to just be kids. I cherish the memories of this “pretend park.”
In the years since, I have formed a non-profit, From Lot to Spot, to help create access for the thousands of residents cut off from green, leafy parks, community gardens, bike paths and all types of greenspaces.
Yosemite and Kings Canyon are beautiful national landmarks, and I recognize their grandeur. However, our best parks, the ones we remember when we get older, are the ones we frequented next to our homes, in our neighborhoods — the ones that were part of our daily lives.
If you’re lucky enough to live near one, you understand how important parks become to our collective well-being. Neighborhood parks have been known to improve psychological as well as physical health. They empower our communities, help alleviate climate change impacts and make our neighborhoods more attractive.
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