by KAREN LAGRANGE COX
You may have seen the green circular signs on social media or the community for Parish Proud. And you may have wondered what is Parish Proud. Parish Proud is an organization that works to bring pride to parishes by transforming Acadiana’s public spaces through education, inspiration, participation, and community collaboration.
Parish Proud works with volunteers, builders, architects, local businesses, Lafayette Consolidated Government, Lafayette Parish School System, etc., for a people-powered movement to collaborate with community leaders, governments, business owners, and intentional city planning to improve urban vitality and revitalization.
An essential element in improving urban vitality and revitalization is the elimination of litter which is a large part of Parish Proud. Parish Proud has a 311 number expressly set up to report litter.
Trash pickup is vital for urban improvement. Parish Proud works with volunteers for trash pickup. In 2022, Parish Proud had four-hundred events with an engagement of three thousand five hundred individuals for trash pickup. In 2023, Parish Proud is hoping to double those numbers.
“Many people are passionate about clean up,” said Sarah Mary Toce, Development Director for Parish Proud. “Learning by Serving” allows volunteers to improve the beautification of communities through cleanup and to roll up their sleeves and get into the muck to see the consequences of littering.
Education is critical to help prevent littering.
Interested volunteers can view what times and places are available on Parish Proud’s website for trash pickup and schedule when they would like to serve. Toce advises it is essential for volunteers to know their limits when serving.
Toce gives an example of beautification and urban revitalization by saying Parc Sans Souci is an asset in itself, and areas around it can be beatified to make the areas aesthetically pleasing and functional.
Parish Proud Day is September 16, 2023, at Parc Sans Souci in Lafayette.
The Vermilion River could be an area attraction; however, dumping in the river has created problems with cleanliness and drainage issues. The river must be cleaned and kept clean. Boom netting has been placed on the Vermilion River to catch trash thrown in the river. Clean up of the river will take a long time, advises Toce.
“We impact where we can.”
Who is Behind Parish Proud?
Matt Stuller, owner of Stuller, Inc. in Lafayette, Louisiana, founded Parish Proud. Stuller started the Stuller Family Foundation, which makes grants and investments to support organizations and people who think greater and think differently about solutions to problems in the communities where they live, work, and play.
Working with Stuller on Parish Proud is Chuck LaGrange, the Strategic Director for Parish Proud and the Executive Director for Stuller Family Foundation, and Sarah Mary Toce, the Development Director of Parish Proud.
Parish Proud is a 501 C 3 organization funded by grants, sponsorships, and donations.
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