All my life I grew up in the small town of Bradford, PA until I moved away at the age of 21. I have been living in Greenville, SC for ten years now because I wanted something more for my children.
At the age of 13 my mother passed away with cancer and after being shifted around awhile I ended up living across from “Jack Burns Memorial Park” (North Kendall Park) in Bradford, PA. This park is where I grieved over my mother, found my love of basketball and made lifelong friends that are still here for me today. This park was not just my sanctuary; I have heard an overabundance of stories of others’ lives that have been touched with memoirs of this park when they had nowhere else to go.
On May 27, 2010 my cousin (Rick Irwin) whom I lived with on North Kendall passed away unexpectedly in a car accident. I made the trip up and the morning of his funeral I took a jog down to the park to say my goodbyes and rummage through all the old memories I had with him at this park. Unfortunately, I was heartbroken to see the disrepair that the park was in and promised him that I would do something about it.
Bradford is a small town with very few places for children to play and I feel that if the community pulls together we can renovate this park for the next generation and possibly spin motivation to better other areas of this community. I called the City and was ecstatic to find out that a local church had just started cleanup efforts at that exact park. The church has intentions on cleaning up the park and making small repairs for now and our intentions are to completely renovate the park for a cleaner safer place for the next generation to play. Luckily, we were able to partner with the church for the purpose of collecting funds for our project. Rick Irwin Project (RIP) is determined to renovate this park; the city has been more than helpful in supplying the site plans and meeting with us to pick colors for the equipment, even working on finding us possible donations.
Believe me, I am not oblivious to the poverty level in this community but I have enough faith to believe that if we all pull together and want something bad enough, it can happen.
We started a Facebook page (North Kendall Park) to gain support in the community and created a website (Northkendallpark.org) to obtain donations. We had our first Benefit Dinner (August 7, 2011) at The Eagles Club on East Main Street. Despite our marketing efforts, wonderful support from the local newspapers, great conversations with several downtown business owners and reaching out to the Chamber, we still fell short of our goals. With a touch of defeat in our hearts, we know that we have to move on to the next benefit, we cannot give up on this project.
Our next benefit is at Rock N’ Rick’s in Limestone NY on New Year’s Eve and I am looking for help to promote this project that would benefit so many children in the city of Bradford. It is a long shot asking a news station for help but it’s definitely worth a shot.
Thanks in Advance for you time,
Heather Listar 864-704-2080