Passionate Neighbors, Powerful Parks: The Park Friends Network

Mobile Workshop

Philadelphia has a tradition of dedicated volunteers who support city agencies with their time, talent, and sweat equity. Public spaces are often supported by groups of passionate neighbors for fundraising, maintenance, and creative programming. This mobile workshop will highlight two of Philadelphia’s 131 neighborhood parks: Mifflin Square Park and Bardascino Park. You will have the opportunity to meet volunteers and community leaders who work together to change public spaces, carefully utilizing available resources to present free, transformative programming.

The neighborhood around Mifflin Square Park is one of the most diverse communities in Philadelphia. Since 2016, neighbors and organizations have been working collaboratively to improve the quality of life for people living in the neighborhood near the park and the South 7th Street Commercial Corridor through planning processes, and the creation of a Vendor Village. A key part of the planning effort was the creation of an updated design for Mifflin Square Park. This project aims to build community power and prosperity, improve Mifflin Square Park, strengthen businesses on South 7th Street, preserve and expand affordable housing, and advance accountable development.

The Friends of Bardascino Park leverage innovative programming and partnerships to create a vibrant, welcoming space for diverse communities and cultures in their park for people of all ages. We will discuss their approach and offer tangible examples of how a volunteer group can use small grant funds to generate a plethora of highly accessible, free community celebrations.


  • Recognize how to use the small grant format to leverage existing talent and creativity within a community
  • Gain insight on how to create free community-based programming that highlights the unique character and culture within a neighborhood
  • Learn how to plan and advocate for improvement and investment in public space that reflects the unique needs of the local community

Tour Leaders

Elisa Ruse-Esposito

Park Stewardship Administrator, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation