People for Parks 5th annual awards ceremony, held at the Grace Simmons Lodge in Echo Park. For nearly two decades, People for Parks has worked with communities, public agencies, and the private sector to expand the public park system in Los Angeles, to create more open space in our urban environment and to ensure that children throughout the city have easy and regular access to safe parks. The awards ceremony gives parks advocates throughout the city an opportunity to gather and celebrate the progress on open space issues that has been a key element of Los Angeles' revitalization.
Being emcee was quite an honor. I had the privilege of introducing some of the most noted parks advocates in the city, including Councilmembers Tom LaBonge and Wendy Greuel, and Department of Recreation and Parks General Manager Jon Mukri. However, the night belonged to the awardees. We honored everyone from Carissa Perez, who helped create Cheerleading, Aerobics, and Ballet Folklorico classes, to Hazel Young, who championed Echo Park's Lotus Festival more than 30 years ago. A special award was also given to Brentwood Green, community organization of the year, for their work in creating green space at Brentwood Science Magnet. Finally, it was my honor to introduce my former colleague, Cindy Miscikowski, who was this year's recipient of the People for Parks Woman the Year award.