I am a Changemaker. Although labels are not my favorite, this one I accept readily.
Last July, a beautiful human I knew passed away. His name was Paul Herzog. I took my grief for my beautiful friend & channeled it to what he would love most…an Ocean Friendly Garden. Words do not do justice to show what good he did, but suffice it to say, he was a true asset to Ventura and this Earth and he is missed by so very many people.
My friends have been inspiring me greatly over the past couple of years…working on community projects, cleaning the City and surrounding areas up, getting actively involved in civic issues. So I thought to myself, “self, why are you not doing these things when you can?” So, I took my grief for my beautiful friend and channeled it to what he would love most…an Ocean Friendly Garden. With the help of the Westside Community Development Corporation, I put my energy into the place I love the most: the AVENUE! And a new project began August 2017.
The Ventura Avenue Center was chosen for the project site. The WDCD worked directly with the property owner to ensure the he was completely receptive to improving that portion of his property, and throughout the project the WCDC was the point of contact between myself, my team of volunteers, and the property owner.
I pulled together my Westside friends and a few others, namely the WCDC and Surfrider Foundation people. Pooling our resources, we came up with garden plans, hardscape materials, planting materials, and labor. The community also donated monetary resources, so the effort was completely fueled by a community effort. This was the key component to the project, as it was bigger than I could have ever imagined! The community stood behind me, worked alongside of me, and offered up all of their resources as well, including valuable community contacts.
Saying the garden is beautiful just does not do it justice. It is a labor of love, time, and I have found, diplomacy. It is still growing and will need to establish, but the hardscape looks great. And the mural by Lisa Kelley is the most wonderful frame any garden could have. I am proud of the project, proud of my fellow community members who stepped up with their time and effort. I find myself heartened by the support and humbled as well.