The scorching heat doesn’t stop Isabel Andino from lugging around big black trash bags and filling them with litter at Marna O’Brien Park in Wildomar.
The determined single mother of five is on a mission to keep the endangered park clean and functioning so that her boys and other kids can continue to have clean place to play.
“My boys keep me going. They inspire me to make this park a clean space for not only them, but for other children,” Andino said.
The other two parks in Wildomar have fallen victim to lack of funding to pay for upkeep and security, prompting Andino to keep the last neighborhood park humming along.
Voters will get a chance to vote on a proposed Wildomar parks tax on the Nov. 6 ballot which would provide funds needed to keep the park open, watered and maintained.
“Isabel is a true inspiration,” Little League board member Tim Underdown said. “She does so much for the park and the community.”
Underwood explained that Andino makes sure the bathrooms are stocked and that the snack bar is manned during little league games.
“What she is doing for the park and city of Wildomar is amazing,” he added.
Other Wildomar residents have joined suit after seeing Andino’s hard work and dedication.
“People see me removing graffiti, start to ask questions and pitch in,” Andino explained. “My goal is to continue to get more community involvement and to lead by example.”
Andino carves out time to volunteer at the park outside of her job as a cross country coach at Lake Elsinore High School.
“I just keep going back to the fact that my kids are the driving force to keep me going.”
Stephanie D. Schulte is a writer/photographer with SWRNN. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.