The JC Parks Foundation builds our community — one green banana at a time.
Picture yourself wheeling a cart through the produce section at a grocery store. You roll up to the banana display, noticing the various shades of ripeness stacked upon each other. Some are bright yellow, while others are showing the faintest spots of brown.
Then there are the green bananas. Lots of them. Bundles of not-quite-ripe, waxy, bitter fruit. With that description, it’s surprising that many shoppers reach for the green bananas. But maybe it’s not that surprising. You may not need a banana today; rather, you look forward to having that perfectly ripe banana in a few days.
In other words, you hope. You have that anticipation of wanting something to change for the better. And just like there’s hope in that green banana’s ability to ripen, hope exists all around us in the people, places, and experiences of our daily lives.
When it comes to Jefferson City’s open spaces and recreation experiences, this hope exists through Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Foundation. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization strives to provide additional resources to enhance local parks and programs. These additional resources provide hope for many, including those needing financial assistance, those memorializing a loved one, and those with a desire to make our community a more desirable place to live, work, play, and visit.
Every child deserves access to parks and recreation programs, and the JC Parks Foundation makes this possible through its youth scholarship program. Eligible families receive a credit for each child to use on almost any youth recreation program. The program was recently extended to include children associated with the Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association as well as Capital City Court Appointed Special Advocates.
In 2019, the scholarship program made it possible for several kids from Boys & Girls Club of Jefferson City to play a team sport for the first time. With the help of some awesome volunteers, coaches, and support from theBoys & Girls Club staff and mentors, the Phillies Little League baseball team experienced hope each week on and off the field.
Supporting the hope of healing for those wanting to commemorate a loved one, JC Parks Foundation fosters a memorial tree and bench program. Each tree and bench is accompanied by a plaque to honor its namesake. Family and friends often choose a park or path that was special to their loved one, and many visit from time to time to celebrate the life of someone they lost.
Hope continues to grow beyond these individual programs. Through fundraising campaigns and other resources, the JC Parks Foundation has been a part of larger projects that can be enjoyed by the entire community now and for future generations. In June 2008, the Lewis and Clark Trailhead Plaza on West Capitol Avenue was unveiled. The monument commemorates the historical journey of the famous explorers. The life-sized bronze statues and waterfalls cascading over stones make this location a must-see for residents and visitors.
The foundation is also a part of one of the biggest projects Jefferson City has seen in a long time. Scheduled for completion in fall of 2021, the Bicentennial Bridge and adjacent park will finally provide Jefferson City with southern riverfront access.
And have you noticed the increase in public art around town? JC Parks Foundation recognizes the hope that accessible art provides and has played a role in public art installations throughout Jefferson City. The community is overflowing with history and culture, and those stories can be told through
sculptures and murals.
So the next time you find yourself in front of the grocery store pyramid of bananas, hopefully you will gaze upon the green bundles with thoughts of hope: hope for our community’s young and old, hope for those here with us now and for generations to come, and hope for those whose unique stories are woven into the diverse cloth that makes our collective cultural identity.
Visit jcparks.com/parks-foundation for more information on how you can be a green banana.