On Saturdays, I ride my 40 miles across the city using bayou trails.

Before the pandemic, my bike didn’t really get that much use. I bought it years ago and rode quite a bit at first, then it sat in the garage for a long while. The pandemic has changed that. I’ve put more miles on my bike in the past six months than ever before. I am outside so much more right now and I’m really enjoying that. My family is, too—I take my wife, who is currently pregnant with our fourth child, and my three boys to explore new parks.

I work for City Council Member Robert Gallegos as the Director of Public Affairs, so it’s my job to know the ins and outs of the community. But it’s also my passion. I live here, too, and I want to see thriving, vibrant parks in my neighborhood. So do my neighbors. Because I’m part of this community, I get to hear all their ideas and help them get involved to make them a reality. Like the bridge at Mason Park.

I’ve been going to Mason Park since I was a kid and I love taking my kids there now. It has everything a park should have—trails, running paths, and a new pedestrian bridge that connects one side of the park to the other. Prior to this new addition, you had to walk along the narrow sidewalk of a busy road and it felt a bit dangerous. I’ve done it a few times while pushing a stroller and it was scary. Now, you can walk, run, or cycle across the bayou without missing a beat.

When I talk to my neighbors about getting involved to improve our local parks, I ask them, “What role can you play in making your community better?” There are so many ways to be part of a greener vision of Houston’s future. For me, that means talking to the people around me and advocating for positive change wherever there’s a need.