Leaning forward and lacing her shoes, Sylvia Russell feels the calm breeze of fall hit her face.
Looking around, she sees a child gazing at her father with arms wide open. A biker leaves a swell of wind when she dashes past on a winding path.
Tap. Tap. Tap. At the Active Oval, Sylvia’s shoes hit the gravel as she begins her run.
Ever since she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Sylvia has been faced with a choice: take medications or do high intensity workouts to tackle the increased chance of osteoporosis.
“It makes a difference that I have Piedmont Park,” Russell says as she explains her choice of working out. “I don’t even feel like I am exercising.”
Her heartbeat increasing, Sylvia’s busy mind begins to slow down and find focus.
“Whatever problem I am facing or stress I’m feeling when I enter the park, by the time I leave, the load seems lighter,” says Russell, “that’s why I call Piedmont Park my happy place.”
As Sylvia finishes her final lap around the Active Oval, she looks around at all the people in the Park. “As I frequent this park, I see all walks of life come through here,” she says, “and it makes me feel good; it’s how I want the world to be.”
Like thousands of other Atlantans, Sylvia has found a place in beautiful Piedmont Park that makes health and exercise an enjoyable experience.
It’s because of the work of the Piedmont Park Conservancy that Sylvia and others have access to a 208 acre park that is beautiful, clean, safe and active. The Piedmont Park Conservancy, a nonprofit organization, raises and invests $3 million annually to enhance and program this historic green space. Many do not realize that the Conservancy relies heavily on philanthropic donations as it does not receive direct funding from events or festivals.
Though, “to remain beautiful, the park needs help,” Russell says. “It depends on the contributions of the community. It feels free because you don’t have to pay to get in here, but it’s costly to run a park. And it’s worth it. It’s an investment for Midtown and Atlanta.”
This #GivingTuesday, take pride and give promise to Piedmont Park by making a donation to the Piedmont Park Conservancy.