Parks – and the outdoor, socially distanced opportunities for recreation that they offer – have seemingly never been more important than they are now, as we navigate life amidst COVID-19.
It hasn’t taken a pandemic, however, for Marguerite Dube and her fellow volunteers at West Whiteland Township’s Friends of the Parks to understand how parks can enhance a population’s quality of life.
Friends of the Parks, which dates back to 1992 when it began producing a well-received summer concert series for the enjoyment of area residents, is an unpaid group of volunteers who provide hundreds of hours of service to the community each year.
Dube, the Director of the Chester County Library whose background is in accounting, got involved with the organization approximately eight years ago, when it was working toward attaining 501(c)3 status and looking for a treasurer.
“I’ve always had an interest in parks and walking trails,” said Dube, who will retire from her position at the library, where she has worked for the last 20 years, at month’s end. “I joined Friends of the Parks years ago – the township was having a volunteer fair and because I worked at the library, I wanted to get more involved with the township. Friends of the Parks was there promoting itself, and I was intrigued. I went to a couple of meetings and really liked what the organization was all about.”
Not surprisingly, FOTP’s focus is on partnering with the township on beautifying the parks. However, thanks to the support of residents, the township’s Board of Supervisors, and financial sponsors, it has been able to further entrench itself in the community by:
- continuing the tradition of providing high-quality summer concerts
- supporting worthwhile activities and projects in the parks
- promoting the township’s parks and its activities to the community
- participating in planning for future programs, facilities, and improvements
- providing volunteer staff for special events
- raising funds for specific park projects
“I’m very proud of Friends of the Parks,” said Dube. “We do a lot to try to serve the community.”
Theresa Santalucia, Vice-Chair of West Whiteland Township’s Board of Supervisors, agreed.
“The Friends of the Parks Board has been a true asset and has partnered with the township for almost three decades, bringing free community events to the area and its residents, especially during the pandemic,” she said. “They improvised by tweaking the Egg Hunt this year and adding the Holiday Lights contest in 2020 while maintaining the social-distancing guidelines.”
Friends of the Parks relies on financial support from area businesses, individuals, and grants.
Contributions made to FOTP are tax deductible in accordance with IRS regulations. Learn more.