The National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) “Parks Build Community” initiative identifies parks in underserved communities across the U.S. and works with partner organizations and city governments to rejuvenate these green spaces – promoting nature, physical health and social unity. In 2011, NRPA chose historic Selena S. Butler Park for a $1.6 million-revitalization under this initiative. A 3.5-acre gem in Atlanta’s Historic Civil Rights District – adjacent to the site of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s elementary school and named for a key figure in the struggle for racial equality in education and cofounder of the National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) – Butler Park had fallen into disrepair after years of neglect and a 2008 tornado that pummeled the property.

After a six month publicity and community relations campaign to provide a springboard for Parks Build’s mission locally and nationally, Duffey had increased social media posts and views by 526% to 742,296; facilitated community involvement with an installation of mosaic tiles showcasing the artwork of 40 students from nearby schools; and achieved more than 26.8 million impressions, including stories by USA Today, Playground Magazine, Outdoor USA Magazine, The Park & Trades, American City & County, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB-ABC-TV in Atlanta, and Atlanta InTown, among others.

A fitting tribute to Selena S. Butler and her contributions to education and civil rights, Duffey secured the National PTA President, Georgia Congressman and Civil Rights hero John Lewis, former NBA superstar Dikembe Mutombo and Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall for the Park’s rededication ceremony – attended by more than 300 community leaders, residents, school children and businesses.

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