On March 12th, 2022, KYCC Prevention Education held the Run for Love 5K event to celebrate the re-opening of MacArthur Park Lake Side with Westlake community members. This run was hosted to promote community pride, the importance of physical and mental wellness, and to encourage a smoke and substance-free MacArthur Park. Over 250 residents of the Westlake community and surrounding neighborhoods took part in this event.
The planning for Run for Love 5K began in December 2021 alongside MPCI’s (MacArthur Park Community Initiative) Community Advisory Board. The community initiative aims to reduce tobacco and marijuana use, as well as secondhand smoke exposure among youth ages 12 to 26 at MacArthur Park.
The success of this event was a joint effort of the entire community, thanks to partners including the Department of Recreation and Park: MacArthur Park Community Center, LA Commons, Levitt Pavilion, PIH Health, Mujeres de la Tierra, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles Volunteers of America (Gang Reduction and Youth Development), Los Angeles Police Department Rampart 2 Division, Elevate Youth California.
“The collaboration between all the involved organizations brought so much positivity, smiles, community involvement, inclusiveness, and engagement,” said Carlos Diaz, LAPD Rampart Division Senior Lead Officer. “The collaboration made today’s event really wonderful and only inspires more positivity and other events to come.”
Aside from organizations, community volunteers played a crucial role in this event as well. Eleven youth residents volunteered to help with MPCI policy efforts by collecting petition signatures and advocating for increased “No Smoking” signage at MacArthur Park. It showed the effort Westlake members put into in hope of creating a better community for everyone to reside in. Food, refreshments, and live entertainment were also provided during the event for Westlake community members.