I love visiting local parks year round to spend time with my family, relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. Parks hold a special place in many of our hearts, and I am especially excited this month to invite you to help us celebrate and support some of your favorite parks!

For the third year, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is collaborating with Disney Citizenship, Disney|ABC Television Group and ESPN to provide 16 communities with grants of $20,000 to improve local parks through its national Meet Me at the Park initiative. Meet Me at the Park projects will connect kids to nature, inspire kids and families to live healthier lifestyles and increase kids’ access to sports through activities like planting community gardens, improving trails and refurbishing playgrounds or soccer fields.

How can you get involved? Each day this month, vote via text or visit NRPA.org/BeInspired to participate in two ways:

  • First, nominate a city anywhere across the United States to be entered for a chance to win a $20,000 grant to support a park in need within that community.
  • Second, vote on one of three park-improvement projects in 15 designated cities to help determine which project will receive a $20,000 grant.

At the end of the month, the project with the most votes in each of the designated cities and one write-in city with the most nominations will receive grant funding. Winning parks will implement their park improvement projects this summer. Last year, popular votes helped 16 parks make improvements or expand programs, including Riverwalk Nature Center in Brevard County, Florida, which was able to extend its interactive offerings through a new classroom that included water, climbing and gardening areas, natural play elements and music.

After you vote, I hope you have a chance to spend some time in your favorite park! While you are there, you can encourage your friends to vote, too, by taking a selfie in the park and using the hashtags #MeetMeAtThePark, #Parkies and #BeInspired.

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