Leticia Espino - Quiet Leader
Leticia Espino has worked for PRNS for many years, but the COVID Crisis saw her shift into an entirely new job. Trained as a Recreation Specialist, she was brought in to lead the Volunteer Management Unit in 2020 to fill the vacancy left when Mollie Tobias retired.
Recruiting, organizing, training and managing volunteers is a hefty workload in the best of times, but having to do so during COVID has been even more difficult, since all volunteers had to be masked and social distance themselves while doing physical labor.
Many employee groups are unavailable, as Silicon Valley corporations have closed offices and employees are working from home and don't engage in group activities. So, recruiting has become more challenging. This means recruiting from schools, churches, neighborhoods and clubs – and often depending on younger volunteers.
Despite the difficulties, Leticia has risen to the challenge, bringing hundreds of volunteers into dozens of parks to do the work that otherwise would not get done. As City budget cuts have impacted personnel, Volunteers have become an essential part of the City's workforce. Clean parks are safe parks. Maintenance impacts long-term health of plants and trees – an essential element to the goal of sustainability.