On October 22, 2016 in recognition of national Anti-Bullying month, FRIENDS OF OAKHURST PARK sponsored the "FOOP SAYS 'NO' TO BULLYING - BUDDY BENCH PROJECT".
Because bullying is rampant among children, teens, adults, and organizations, FOOP's intention was to bring awareness to the issue and say “Not in My Neighborhood”.
FOOP designated a bench in Oakhurst Park as the “FOOP Buddy Bench”. On October 22, 2016, neighborhood children, teenagers, and adults met in Oakhurst Park and together painted their handprints on the bench. Each person took an anti-bullying pledge to help make Oakhurst Park, our neighborhood, our community, and our City a kinder place to live and play.
Special recognition for this project goes to Sonia Diaz, eleven year old daughter of FOOP Board member Elida Flores and granddaughter of Rose Flores and the late Frank Flores. Sonia created the project's signage and distributed anti-bullying pledge cards.
A month later on, "Junior FOOP Friends" met again in Oakhurst Park to paint the final handprints on the “FOOP Buddy Bench”.
Tony, Gio, Jackie, Sonia, Nick, Alex, & Alexis are not only HUGE advocates of Oakhurst Park, these incredibly civic minded young people are the future leaders of our community. In speaking with them, one learns immediately they not only understand the concept of community service, but they employ it eagerly and without hesitation. They are outstanding! Their stewardship on behalf of Oakhurst Park and their public stand against Bullying is a remarkable commentary on their character.
*FOOP Board member Sandra Whittenberg served as FOOP liaison to ONA.