Six San Bernardino pioneers watch over the shoulders of children continuing their life’s work.
A vibrant mural at Akoma Unity Center headquarters honoring westside luminaries Bobby Vega, Valerie Pope-Ludlam, Dr. Anne Shirrells, Frances Grice, Vivian Nash Dukes and John Griffin was unveiled Saturday, Feb. 26, with family members of those etched in history present.
Designed by local artist Ana Gonzales and brought to life by Akoma scholars, the colorful mural is one of three new additions to Anne Shirrells Park made possible by $135,000 in grant funding from the More Attractive Community Foundation and $83,000 in matching funds from city coffers.
Akoma Unity Center, a local nonprofit providing children free after-school recreation at the park and community center in the city’s Sixth Ward, now has a community garden, a tranquility garden and volleyball court. The park is at 1367 N. California St.
With more curb appeal and stellar outdoor amenities to match the work being done with area youth, Akoma can begin attracting those previously unaware of the services provided on a daily basis, Kimberly Calvin, executive director and a City Council member, said Friday, Feb. 25.
“This is true community work,” she added. “Even though COVID did put a hold on things, the beauty and lesson we’ve all learned of perseverance and resilience, that’s something else.”
Akoma scholars have been involved in the beautification projects since the jump, Calvin said, providing valuable input on design and investing sweat equity in each new addition.
The community garden is sure to teach children the importance of sustainability, Calvin said.
And, plans to incorporate composting into such lessons promise to provide a new perspective on food waste.
“This is the best science class,” Calvin added, “the best environment class, it’s math, it’s everything all wrapped into one.”
For more information about Akoma Unity Center, visit akomaunitycenter.org.