By Dena Walker
The Greenleaf Gardens Resident Council is excited to kick off its 2019 Greenleaf Summer Academic Enrichment Program with freshly painted activity and program spaces. Thanks to the support of the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA) and Deloitte, LLP, over 75 volunteers provided the manpower to paint and landscape the resident council community center area. The resident council was a recipient of Deloitte’s Impact Day in which volunteers from the international professional services firm spend a day providing a service that positively impacts a local community.
Ally Moir of Deloitte was instrumental in ensuring that the resident council leadership was a part of the planning process from start to finish. On Impact Day, Ms. Moir led two groups of volunteers in painting the inside of the building where the Academic Enrichment Program will be held and another building to be used as a space for the adults in the community to meet.
Lisa Taylor of Deloitte, and a member of SWNA’s board, led several groups of volunteers in landscaping and planting around the site. The landscaping and painting efforts resulted in spaces that are warm and welcoming to all who visit the center.
One of the highlights of the painting project was the installation of a mural on the first level of the resident council activity center. The talented muralist, Carly Wooten, designed and sketched a mural that expresses the meaning of the Greenleaf community through the flowers represented in the wall art. The floral arrangements in the mural include the American Beauty rose, which happens to be the official flower of the District of Columbia, and daisies, that represent new beginnings.
Another highlight of Impact Day was a surprise visit from Deloitte’s Chief Executive Officer of US Operations, Joseph B. Ucuzoglu. Mr. Ucuzoglu’s appearance surprised everyone during the volunteers’ lunch break in Landsburgh Park, as he took time out from his busy schedule to share encouraging words about the importance of giving back to the community, and thanked them for their service. As the shock of seeing him in person wore off, Mr. Ucuzoglu lightened the atmosphere by offering to answer any questions the volunteers had, and one of the funniest moments was when a volunteer asked how he pronounced his surname. Mr. Ucuzoglu pronounced his surname, and then offered to everyone that they can address him as Joe U. This was a special moment for all in attendance, because of all the Impact Day events that were occurring around the country, the Southwest DC Impact Day was not only the largest site within DC but one of three that Mr. Ucuzoglu attended. After lunch, the volunteers went back to the resident council community center to show him what they had been working on. The Greenleaf Gardens Resident Council presented him with a framed letter of thanks and wished him well on his new position as CEO.
This demonstration of sincere community service would not have seen the light of day if not for longtime Southwest resident Josh Hedrington. His suggestion to do something encouraging for a community in Southwest that lacked the resources to beautify its environment was supported by other likeminded residents. One of those likeminded residents is Ms. Taylor, who decided it was a suggestion worth bringing to fruition. In the truest sense of community service, collaboration was formed among residents who might not have worked together outside of our respective neighborhoods.
Southwest is unique—a city within a city. It is amazing to witness how the idea of one person can lead to the constructive interactions of many. Many thanks to SWNA for its support on this community project, which exemplifies the reason for which SWNA was formed over 50 years ago. SWNA continues to be the community service conduit for outreach in Southwest by way of its various task forces. The Greenleaf Gardens Resident Council thanks all who assisted in this project and wishes everyone a safe and fun summer. The resident council welcomes the community to come by during summer hours of 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday to view the mural inside, and anytime to take a look at the beautiful flowers!