Letter from Connor Barwin

When I was a kid my dad would go on jogs in the evening after he got home from work. One evening while playing outside in the front yard I saw him running toward the house with his hands full of trash. I asked him why he had all that trash, and noticeably discouraged, he said something so matter of fact that I have never forgot it. “I don’t understand why anyone would litter where they live.”

“Where they live” got my attention. I could tell that was where his frustration came from. It was simple. It didn’t make any sense to him why someone would litter in their own neighborhood.

This moment stuck with me. It gave me an early insight into the importance of taking ownership of your community and treating it well. As I’ve gotten older, I’m convinced the reality is that it’s up to us to keep our yards, our streets, and our playgrounds clean. It is up to us to make these private spaces and shared public spaces special.

When I started MTWB five years ago ‘taking care of our neighborhoods’ was a core value and a mindset I wanted to advance. I wanted to work with communities to reimagine what their public spaces could be. Today MTWB helps bring neighbors, new and old, together to inspire stewardship through public space revitalization projects.

So far, it has been an incredible journey, with many lessons learned. We are very proud to have worked with three remarkable neighborhoods on three amazing park projects. We continue to learn and are inspired every day by the people we work along side of. The most important thing we have learned is that high-quality play equipment and safe pubic spaces for kids are crucial to their healthy development, and the well being of their neighborhood. Equally important are the people. The connections and relationships that are built throughout the process are where the magic happens. The playground is what you see but the process is what makes a place special.

I am proud of our team at MTWB. We thank everyone we have met along the way. You challenge us and make us better everyday.

As many of you know during the last five years we have worked closely with the nonprofit Urban Roots, started by Jeffrey Tubbs. I am very excited to announce that the two nonprofits have merged under the name Make The World Better Foundation. Together we hope to expand our impact.

Thank you for visiting our new website. When you can, please take a few minutes to look around and see what we have been up to the last few years. Currently, MTWB is fully engaged at Waterloo Playground with Phase 1 of construction underway. We would love to connect with all of you and work together to make the world a little better one park, one neighborhood at a time. Your feedback and ideas are always welcomed (theteam@mtwb.org).

As I’ve learned from playing in the NFL the last ten years, it takes a team to do anything great. Nothing is more important than safe and healthy environments for our children. I look forward to teaming up with you to make your neighborhood a better place.

Thank you for your interest, MTWB appreciates your support,
Connor Barwin
Founder and Board President, MTWB
Outside Linebacker, NY Giants