According to Friends Of Katy Trail Board Of Directors President Charlie Shufeldt,
Thank you for the opportunity to tell you why we believe our Katy Trail capital campaign is essential to the well-being of Dallas, now and in the future.
For over 20y years, since the time the discarded Katy railroad line became a linear park, the Katy Trail has been an essential green space and recreation resource in Dallas. The Trail spurred incredibly dynamic business growth and fostered an essential sense of community by connecting people and vibrant neighborhoods and parks.
Several years ago, Friends of the Katy Trail determined that we had to make safety enhancements and other improvements to match growing demand on the Trail. These projects include completing the original vision of two fully separate paths for pedestrians and cyclists running the entire length of the Trail, as well as new entry points, widened bridges, and further landscaping. However, we never could have seen that these improvements would become even more critical in the coronavirus era.
Usage this year is up 20% along the Trail. Since March, Dallasites have flooded the Trail, seeking connection to others and mental and physical respite. The campaign projects address the needs of the pandemic, because they will provide more access, capacity, and space, including more room for social distancing.
You may have seen that the first campaign construction projects have already started on the Trail. The existing soft-surface path is being resurfaced, and the new stretch of soft-surface is under construction.
We now have less than $1 million to raise of an $8 million campaign cost so we are well on our way. However, we cannot greenlight all the essential campaign projects unless we reach our campaign goal.
This investment in the Katy Trail is an investment in the future of Dallas. It will keep one of our community’s most cherished assets safe, accessible, and enjoyable for many years to come.
Gifts of any size are appreciated—we have received gifts from $100 to $2,500,000–and naming opportunities are available. All donors will be recognized online and in print, and all who contribute $10,000 or more will be permanently recognized on the Trail.
These are challenging times for all of us, so we are truly grateful for your consideration and support. You may give online at katytraildallas.org/completethetrail or feel free to contact me at [email protected] or Ann Whitley Wood, Major Gifts Director, at [email protected].
* Graphic and photo provided by Friends Of Katy Trail
It’s barely the middle of August and kids are heading back to school… sorta. Some will be doing it online and others in person. Unlike years past when the big deal was hitting Office Depot for school supplies, this year’s big deal is the risk of sending a youngster out the door to school.
Luckily, the folks at Children’s Health have provided “Back-To-School Guidance” suggestions. They’ve broken down various health conditions (diabetes and endocrinology, heart/cardiology, oncology, etc.) and their risk factors for children.
The content also extends to the health issues of other members of the family and how they should be taken in consideration about the child’s participation in the school year.
According to Children’s, “A household’s risk is defined by the person in the household with the highest risk. If there are four people in a house and one has moderate to high risk of complications from COVID-19, then all household members should follow the same precautions.
“While we do not yet fully understand the risk of transmissibility from children to adults, any high-risk medical condition or immune-compromising medication should be considered in the risk assessment. These guidelines can be used a resource for having conversations with the medical team caring for adults with increased risk who are household members with children that may be returning to school.”
*Photo courtesy of Children's Medical Center Foundation
According to Communities In Schools Dallas Region Interim President/CEO Adam Powell,
When the school year came to a bizarre close in March, my nine-year-old son asked why he didn’t get to see his friends anymore. As I struggled to find an age-appropriate way to explain what was going on, I realized that kids, unfortunately, will bear the brunt of the economic, social, and psychological costs of this global pandemic — not to mention the potential academic losses — if we as a society continue to ignore their essential needs.
And so I am proud to be part of an organization that was specifically created to meet the needs of Dallas-area students, which have only increased in the wake of the pandemic. Since its inception, Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region (CISDR) has partnered with school districts to address the scarcity of essential resources, focusing on the social, psychological, and behavioral issues that hinder educational achievement, and providing mentoring, counseling, and guidance designed to scaffold students’ success. As society struggles to adapt to the ever-changing COVID-19 reality, CISDR will continue to work steadfastly and relentlessly to provide essential services to students and families, while simultaneously supporting the schools in our community and the teachers on the front lines, during what can only be described as unprecedented times.
Now more than ever, our kids need Communities In Schools. Low-income students are falling behind due to the Digital Divide, and children with underlying mental health issues are disproportionately facing anxiety. We have worked tirelessly over the summer to ensure we are there to support our students this coming school year, but we can’t do it alone. We need volunteers to be caring adults in these children’s lives, even if their presence is virtual for the moment. We need continued financial support to withstand an uncertain economy. Please visit our website at cisdallas.org to donate or volunteer today. Together we can make sure that our schools — whether physical, remote, or somewhere in between — will continue to be the “safe place” our students need and deserve.
* Graphic and photo provided by Communities In Schools Dallas Region
According to Klyde Warren Park President Kit Sawers,
Now, more than ever, parks are being used by their communities. Not only has research consistently promoted the mental health benefits of outdoor spaces, it now also concludes that, during this global pandemic, outdoor activities are actually much safer than indoor ones.
Though Klyde Warren Park was unable to play an immediate role in the City of Dallas’ emergency response to COVID-19 (providing food, funding or medicine), we are certainly playing a role in its recovery. Demand for the space has been enormous, due to lack of activity in the community, the desire of families to be outside and an earned trust in our commitment to putting safety first. With the City of Dallas forced to cut $25 million from its own budget—and park and rec operations drastically reduced—Klyde Warren Park has been a refuge for those who no longer have access to free summer programming, want to cool off in clean water or just run barefoot on a mosquito-free mowed lawn.
Despite most of the Park’s programming being cancelled due to COVID-19, we have been offering several socially-distanced opportunities for the public, such as free fitness classes, movies, and, most recently, a Fireworks Salute to Healthcare Heroes, broadcast by CBS 11 to the wider community on July 4. The Park has also been a venue for dozens of peaceful demonstrations since late May, and our staff is actively participating in the city’s post-pandemic reopening strategy, working with other major venues and medical professionals to set policy throughout the region.
Klyde Warren Park is not funded by City of Dallas tax dollars. Money is raised each year by staff and board members to pay for security, cleaning, repairs and programming, saving the City money and simultaneously creating a huge economic boost for our region. Other revenue traditionally comes from events, sponsorships, third-party rentals and earned revenue, most of which have evaporated this year.
With the Park’s 2020 operating budget already cut by 30% and $100,000 of additional cleaning required to accommodate CDC guidelines, we are reaching out to those who love the Park to help us do what the community needs us to do right now. A donation of any size would help ensure the Park remains an outdoor haven where children and families – regardless of age, ethnicity or income level – can feel safe coming together during these difficult times.
* Graphic and photo provided by Klyde Warren Park
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