Iquitos, Peru - Park Transformation
It was a late afternoon as we pulled up to what seemed to be a park of sorts. There was people gathered, some talked while others listened. The grass was uncut, trash everywhere, and in the middle was a sand area where the local guys would gather to play soccer.
Jose Luis Torres Contreras, a close friend of mine that showed me the streets of Iquitos back in 2017 introduced me to the group as "CleanPlanet". Didn't take long before we started talking about what could be possible for the park if it was taken care of by the community and the impact it would have on them if they were part of that. In January 2019, that evening a seed was planted and it was up to them to keep it alive.
CleanPlanet is a global non-profit organization committed to global awareness on the importance of uniting for a clean planet by empowering social leaders. Our organization was founded in Colombia in August 2018, and since then we have expanded with leaders in several countries including the United
States, Colombia, Mexico, Haiti and Peru.
The Community Leader Jose Luis Contreras is a citizen of Iquitos, Peru. With great honor he has united a solid support system of volunteers who support the cause of creating a loving community and a safe place where they can meet to train, exercise and create quality time.
Before this initiative started (or as mentioned "planted the seed") in January 2019; the area was full of garbage, it was not maintained and, essentially, it was not a very safe place for children to go.
Since then, the community leader, José Luis Torres Contreras, has inspired the community to join and help build a better collaborative community. Jose and the volunteers have given away their time and resources to clean the park and use their creativity to add sports equipment.
This has attracted the attention of younger people who come from local communities to train and practice boxing, increase their resistance and raise the camaraderie within the community. This has become a resource for the rehabilitation of those who wish to stop using drugs and focus that energy towards improving their health.
As you can imagine, there is a great commitment to this project since it represents more than just an exercise park. This represents the hope of empowering young athletes to stay out of trouble and focus on their well-being.
Although great improvements have been made in the park, which include gym equipment, a cleaner area, cleaning of the drainage so that it does not flood, taking care of the plants, planting fruit trees and maintaining the football field; This is just the beginning.
The team has a great vision to continue expanding the park by adding a volleyball field for women to come to play, a section for younge