• Center For Neighborhoods

Neighbor of the Month: Using Nature to Connect and Uplift Others

One Louisville resident uses what he loves to sparks joy in others...Meet JoCari with Jefferson Memorial Forest and ECHO!

JoCari in his element! (Photo Credit: Bud Dorsey)

One key part of Asset Based Community Development is discovering the gifts of our neighbors. When we focus on our passion, interests, and talents, true positive change is possible! And in trying times - like our current situation amidst COVID-19 uncertainty - it is even more critical to build up from the abilities and gifts we already have to share, from what already works well. For our March Neighbor of the Month, we are highlighting the beautiful work of a young Louisville resident, bringing his love and knowledge of nature to others. What an inspiration!

Tell us about yourself:

Hello my name is JoCari Beattie. I am the community outreach specialist at Jefferson Memorial Forest. I was born in Lexington, but primarily raised in Louisville Kentucky. I am and have always been an extremely active person. I went to college on a track scholarship to Florida A&M University where I graduated with a degree in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in quantitative analysis and social science with a minor in psychology. I love being outdoors and experiencing new things.

What you love about your neighborhood?

I love resiliency and resourcefulness.

Photo Credit: Walter Munday

What have you been working on in your neighborhood?

I have been working on getting people of all ages more opportunities to engage with nature. Through these new opportunities I hope for others to develop their own relationship with nature. That relationship can be through meditation, recreation, stewardship, or anything else. You never know what you do and do not like until you try it.

What are your hopes for your neighborhood in the future?

My hope is for all to gain a symbiotic relationship with nature. Using nature for your own reasons but making sure our nature is being taken care of for all to enjoy.

How did you get involved in this work?

I have always been a nature lover. Growing up in urban communities across Louisville, a total of 23 homes before college, I did not always have the access to experience all I wanted when it came to nature. In high school I was able to earn a track scholarship to Florida A&M University. Once in college I started volunteering with community centers nearby. Most of my volunteering focused around helping children with homework and participating in different sports with them. Once I graduated and moved back to Louisville, I heard about the ECHO program and the position they had available. I had to apply. It was the perfect mixture of everything I loved. I started as a seasonal employee and within a couple months I was hired on full-time as Community Outreach Specialist. I love what I do. I give families opportunities to experience new outdoor activities and/or enhance the ones they already love to do.

Stay connected, keep up the good work, find your positive place! #GoBeNeighbors!

Know a great candidate for our Neighbor of the Month series? Email ryanep@centerforneighborhoods.org your suggestion!