Maxwell Park News

by Pat Patterson

Siatu Otuafi, Kerah Abram and Juanye Glen of Maxwell Park International Academy enjoy fresh air and lessons on planting at the park. Photo by Nancy Karigaca

Click to enlarge.

Great News on Maxwell Park Renovation Project

The Friends of Maxwell Park group was awarded a $30,000 Community Development Block Grant from District Four. Of that sum, $5,000 will be awarded this year for the park's mosaic project, and $25,000 will be for larger park developments in the coming year. Congratulations to the team that worked on the grant!

To participate in the general park renovation, contact Nancy Karigaca at nkarigaca\ Mosaic Project team, contact Bonnie Henriquez at brhenriquez\'

Worms and Planting and Hailstorms—Oh My!

The following item was reported by Nancy Karigaca

In February, 18 students from Mr. Hamilton's third-grade class at Maxwell Park International Academy took a field trip with Shefali Shah from the hands-on educational organization, Kids for the Bay. The students' first stop was their neighborhood park, Maxwell Park, where Steve Weitz from Friends of Maxwell Park showed them various native plants and how to plant them.'

The children enjoyed the lesson and broke into small groups to plant under the oaks. Some found worms and took them to the adult leaders, who suggested they place them near the new plants. After planting and marking the location of the new plants with sticks, the children had refreshments, and boarded a bus to do more planting at Sausal Creek, where they were thrilled to experience a short hailstorm.'

The Late-Night Knock at the Door…Good Ending!

In times when it's easy to point out the potential negative in a situation, one neighbor and Maxwell Park Neighborhood Council Chair, Krista Gulbransen, relays a wonderful story:

"On Wednesday night my doorbell rang at midnight, waking me out of a dead sleep. I was too scared to look and see who it was. Was it someone scoping it out to break in? Someone in trouble that I wouldn't be able to help? I was shaking and called a friend to stay on the line while I looked out front. I saw nobody, called nearby neighbors that I know well, to confirm they weren't in need. I had a hard time sleeping that night, nightmares of people breaking in and harming me.

Next morning I woke up and opened my front door. My wallet was on the welcome mat. I didn't even realize I had lost it. It had everything in it including $50 in cash. It was a bit more worn, as it had been in the rain, but it was whole. I wondered for two days who found it and where. Friday night, I found a note tucked in my gate from a neighbor I didn't even know just a few doors down. He had found it on the street and apologized for ringing the doorbell so late AND for opening my wallet to identify me! Needless to say, I was on his doorstep immediately with a whole lot of gratitude and a lot of lessons learned.

'So just when I get frustrated and I tell another "Only in Oakland Story" which usually has some not-so-great story line, here is one I can add to the mix that makes me realize why I chose to live here in the first place. And not only that, I got to meet and know another neighbor, someone who's been on this block for over 25 years."

I hope others will share similar stories. Despite these rough times, when practically all of us could use $50 cash, there are people who teach you there are other potential outcomes.