Sarah Johnston is one of the founding board members of the Young Friends of Forest Park Forever. As her board term is ending this year, we asked her to reflect on her time serving the Park:
What made you decide to get involved with Forest Park Forever and the Young Friends?
I relocated to St. Louis (from the great state of Georgia) with my husband Pace. Pace is a resident at St. Louis Children's Hospital. When we were looking at residency programs for his training, I was fortunate to be able to travel to every interview with him. While he was touring hospitals, meeting physicians and measuring the quality of the hospital training program, I was in my rental car looking at houses, imagining myself shopping at the local grocery store and considering our quality of life in the various cities. When it was time for us to rank, St. Louis really stood out to us. My husband was pleased with the world-class facilities and learning opportunities at Washington University, and I thought that we would thrive having so many amazing cultural opportunities at our fingertips — especially Forest Park.
We are fortunate that our city is committed to preserving this valuable real estate/land mass in the heart of the city. To me, Forest Park represents more than just fitness and recreation. Our park represents a place of community unity. All people — all races, cultural groups and socio-economic backgrounds — enjoy the well maintained grassy areas, picnic tables and walking trails. Our park, Forest Park, exposes the mass public to free educational and cultural opportunities that many individuals could not afford on their own.
Would you recommend Board membership to someone looking to get more involved?
Absolutely! Being on the YF Board has truly been one of my favorite volunteer experiences. The other board members are bright, hard-working and creative professionals who are equally passionate about our park and city.
Why should someone consider joining the Young Friends at the membership level of $100?
We are the future of the park. As older generations pass the torch on to us, we truly have a responsibility to maintain the green spaces and play areas. My daughter, Elizabeth, loves the swings by the Welcome Center and the turtle mound for play time. Pace can’t wait to take her to Jefferson Lake in a few years for her first fishing lesson. We realize that we are fortunate to be able to take advantage of this park TODAY. By getting involved with Forest Park Forever, we hope that generations to come will be able to enjoy what I consider the heart of our city.