Crissy Field Center Celebrates 2009 Community Heroes

For Immediate Release
April 30, 2009

HONORING OUR COMMUNITY HEROES: Crissy Field Center Marks Its Ninth Year of Celebrating Local Environmental Heroes

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Crissy Field Center will honor four Bay Area individuals and collaborative groups with its annual Community Heroes Award on Saturday, May 2 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Since its inception in 2001, this awards program has honored 36 recipients (including our 2009 winners) in the Bay Area.

The award celebrates the accomplishments, challenges, and successes of community members who work tirelessly to preserve, protect, and raise awareness about the urban environment of the San Francisco Bay Area. The heroes are from all walks of life, diverse backgrounds, and age groups—connected with the common desire to serve their communities. "From revitalizing a park to making the streets a safer place to play, the Community Heroes Award is the Crissy Field Center's opportunity to recognize people who create a healthier and more beautiful environment," explains Michele Gee, Deputy Director of the Center.

The May 2nd ceremony will unveil an interactive multi-media exhibit—with life-size photographic portraits and engaging digital stories of the heroes—illustrating how everyday people can inspire change. More than 100,000 people, including political luminaries, environmental leaders, and local celebrities visit Crissy Field Center annually, and they will be greeted by the Community Heroes exhibit on display yearlong at the Center lobby.

One of this year's recipients, Sister Stephanie Hughes, embodies the spirit of the award. Not only is she the director and founder of Lazarus House Healing in Bayview-Hunter's Point's Alice Griffith Housing Development, she is also a resident. A mother of five children, Sister Stephanie is a recovered drug addict who has dedicated her life to service and touched the lives of youth and helped them see the world in a new, more positive way.

Together with a small group of dedicated volunteers, she provides hope and second chances to the residents of this neglected neighborhood, known as "Double Rock." From a Youth Outreach Ministry that serves close to 6,000 homeless families per year to the weekly neighborhood cleanups, she instills a sense of pride helping people see that "home" extends beyond their apartment walls.

Additional honorees include:
  • Alemany Farms Staff and Volunteers who have revitalized Alemany Farm, —a forgotten 4.5 acre of land situated near a 165-unit public housing development beset by high unemployment and violence—into an oasis of opportunity. Managed by the nonprofit Alemany Resident Management Corporation, this unique multi-generational endeavor brings people from different ethnic and economic backgrounds together in growing healthy, organic food. The food is then sold to raise money to pay the local teens who work in the garden as they gain green job skills.
  • Friends of Boeddeker Park and the Presentation Senior Community who have joined San Francisco's Recreation and Park Department to make Boeddeker Park a garden refuge in the heart of the Tenderloin District. For the past two years, these volunteers—mostly Chinese speaking senior citizens—have rejuvenated the space. Rosemary and sage replace the needles and syringes that once littered the garden beds. Low-maintenance, drought-tolerant California native plants that are bird and butterfly friendly, attract flocks of children and families who now frequent this beautiful spot.
  • Cycles of Change has been changing the lives of East Oakland youth for more than a decade. Using a hands-on approach, they engage hundreds of kids in programs that integrate physical education, nutrition, and mechanical curricula, while making significant positive contributions to the local environment. Through their Earn-A-Bike program, youth gain an understanding of the principles of re-use by learning how to repair bicycles that would have otherwise ended up in landfill. Cycles of Change has influenced a wide network of local residents and policy-makers by raising awareness and encouraging the use of bicycles—in conjunction with public transportation—as an every-day mode of travel. Their efforts helped pass Measure DD, a bond for $193 million that improved access and bicycle safety around Lake Merritt.

Join in the unveiling of this inspirational exhibit and see how a few dedicated individuals and grassroots organizations can bring about lasting change in the community.

What: 9th Annual Community Heroes Award Ceremony

When: Saturday, May 2, 2009; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Crissy Field Center; 603 Mason at Halleck in the Presidio of San Francisco

More info: Call (415) 561-7752 or visit http://www.crissyfield.org/

Crissy Field Center is a partnership of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service. Crissy Field Center programs encourage new generations to become bold leaders for thriving parks, healthier communities and a more environmentally just society.

Media Contacts

Sue King, (415) 596-1596; suemking@sbcglobal.net

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About the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
The Parks Conservancy is the nonprofit membership organization created to preserve the Golden Gate National Parks, enhance the experiences of park visitors, and build a community dedicated to conserving the parks for the future. The Conservancy is an authorized “cooperating association” of the National Park Service, and is one of more than 70 such nonprofit organizations working with national parks around the country. To learn more, please visit www.parksconservancy.org or call (415) 561-3000.

About the National Park Service
The National Park Service (NPS) is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior charged with managing the preservation and public use of America’s most significant natural, scenic, historic, and cultural treasures. The NPS manages the Golden Gate National Parks, as well as 394 other park sites across the U.S. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/goga or call (415) 561-4700.