Ribbon Cutting at Adams Park’s “Splash Island”


Welcome to “Splash Island!”

On Tuesday June 21, 2016, City of Atlanta, Carnival Cruise Lines, and Park Pride cut the ribbon on the brand new splash pad at Adams Park (Southwest Atlanta). “Splash Island” is situated conveniently next to the Adams Park pool, and includes water blasters, spray tunnels, and a bucket that periodically pours water over the area.

The children of Camp Best Friends filled the audience and were the first to play in the splash pad after the ribbon cutting.

Highlights of the ribbon cutting are quoted below.


“Atlanta is having a busy year with our parks. It seems like every other week we are cutting the ribbon on a new greenspace or a major enhancement like this new splash pad.”

“… we have an obligation to make sure that you all have what we had when we were growing up. And not only to make sure that you have what we had, but to make sure that what you all have is actually better than what we had. So today I am pleased to say that Adams Park right now is better than the Adams Park when I was growing up, and that’s what being Mayor of the City of Atlanta is all about. I love you guys, you all are 100% of the future. Everything we do in the City of Atlanta is really all about making sure that you have a fair shot and a fair shake in life.”

-Mayor Kasim Reed



“This park is so very near and dear to me. I learned to swim right here in Adams Park. My dad use to coach baseball here. Whenever I come into this park I think of my dad… I asked my mom to bring [my kids] here today because I want them to have the same memories that I have of Adams Park.”

“And so I am so please that we have partners like Park Pride, and Carnival, and people like Amy Phuong and her staff who really pour their all into making sure that every corner of this city is taken care of.”

“What we expect is that when you grow up, and you get a little older like me, that you’ll stand here and you’ll do this for someone else.”

-Council Member Keisha Lance Bottoms



“I can’t wait to see the enjoyment you all are going to get out of this [splash pad].

“We’re happy to be here to give fun back to the community.”

-Mike Pack, Carnival Cruise Director



“I wanted to just mention when I got here and had a moment to speak with Domonique, he was talking about his experiences with parks and recreation making him who he is today, and then we heard just a moment ago from Mayor Kasim Reed the role of parks in his upbringing and his early days. That’s what we at Park Pride call the ‘power of parks’… it’s because of places like this that all of you can be an NBA super star or the next Mayor of Atlanta.

The other reason that we’re here today is to celebrate the power of partnerships, and partnerships are what Park Pride is all about. We bring the community, the City, and funders together, and in doing so we maximize the potential of what’s possible for City of Atlanta parks. The Adams Park pool and splash pad are perfect examples of how this plays out… By leveraging the power of partnerships we took something that could have been good, and we made it great.

-Michael Halicki, Executive Director of Park Pride

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Park Pride’s 2016 Inspiration Awards

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Park Pride’s Inspiration Award Winners, honored at the Parks and Greenspace Conference on March 21, 2016

We know that great parks exist through the efforts of leaders who nurture and strengthen the bond between the parks and communities of which they are a part. Park Pride’s Annual Inspiration Awards honor these leaders:

Linda Bain

Bain 1Linda emerged as a champion of the Sandy Springs Conservancy in 2001 when she served as a founding board member and then later went on to serve as Executive Director until her retirement in 2015. Her collaborative attitude has forged a cadre of friends and volunteers for the Conservancy and has made Linda the go-to person for counsel on greenspace in Sandy Springs for the media, land and homeowners, elected officials, schools and civic groups, and more. She is a hands-on leader, a trustworthy partner and an influential park advocate.


Dave Butler

Dave portraitDave understands the benefits of natural greenspace and for years has been a tireless proponent of parks where nature is the playground. His ability to see beyond the conventional definition of “playing in a park” has enabled parks such as Constitution Lakes, Johns’ Homestead, and Clyde Shepard Nature Center to become integral parts of their communities. While Dave has retired from his position as DeKalb County’s Greenspace Environment Manager, he will continue to serve the environment and community with his enthusiastic participation in various park projects.


Pauline Drake

Pauline Drake.JPGJennie Drake Park is the jewel of Collier Heights thanks to the leadership of Pauline Drake. Pauline worked tirelessly for years to bring her mother’s dream for a park to fruition. Organizing brick sales and hosting workdays out of her childhood home, Pauline’s gumption transformed a collection of empty lots into a place where children now play in the creek and neighbors enjoy a quiet walk on a beautiful nature trail, creating a place where the community truly connects.


Cynthia Gentry

Me and sign in TurkishAtlanta’s local play expert is a defender of children’s right to play. After a terrible accident struck her neighborhood, Cynthia found her calling through her first project of raising funds for a memorial playground. Since then, she’s dedicated her life to researching play, encouraging play and playing with her grandkids. Cynthia is the Founding Director of Play Atlanta, a nonprofit that advocates for play, helps communities set a vision for a playful environment, advises developers on integrating play spaces throughout projects, educates about the importance of play, and much more.


Ronald Johnson

RonaldRonald is a proven master when it comes to positive park activation. From the park to schools, he brings play and good, clean family fun to a community that is often under served. He is an outspoken advocate for current and future parks in the Ellenwood Community. Creating a space where children can safely play and teens can engage in sports instead of getting into trouble motivated him to continue a family tradition of organizing the 19th Annual County Line / Ellenwood Roundup.



Karl Schultz

KarlAt Frazier-Rowe Park, Karl Schultz’s big idea is helping others achieve their big ideas. His magnetic, can-do attitude has made him an inspiration not just to his fellow Friends of the Park members, but to the community’s youth in particular. Karl has mentored four Eagle Scouts through the completion of projects in the park and motivated his daughter to build and install a “little free library” in the park as well. Karl is always the first to lend a hand during volunteer workdays, and in the case of the construction of the park’s new entrance arbor and playground, a strong arm too!


Esther Stokes

Stokes photo-1Esther is a firm believer that all Atlantans in all neighborhoods should have access to quality parks, and she has relentlessly pursued her mission to see this vision through to fruition. Her involvement in parks and greenspace spans 18 years, over which time she’s served on the board and as board chair of both Park Pride and the Piedmont Park Conservancy, as well as on the boards of the Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy, the Georgia Advisory Board of the Trust for Public Land and the Atlanta Audubon Society.


Congratulations award winners, and thank you for all you do for parks, greenspace, and our community!

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This year’s Inspiration Awards were specially hand crafted and donated by local artists A.B. Lovell and Mark A. Wentz from Americoglass. Thank you!

Community Garden Tour: Southeast Atlanta Edition

Date: Saturday, May 30th  |  Time: 1 – 5pm  |  Meeting / Ending Location: Love is Love Farm

Community Garden Tour

For three years, Park Pride’s Community Garden Tour (supported by Kaiser Permanente) has shown Atlanta the edible side of our intown communities. In 2015, we are excited to gather community and urban garden enthusiasts to explore the southeast Atlanta neighborhoods of East Lake, Edgewood and Kirkwood.


Join us via bus ($25/person) or bike ($10/person) on the following route:

Love is Love Farm at Gaia Gardens

The tour will kick-off from Love is Love Farm ( 900 Dancing Fox Rd, Decatur, GA 30032), promptly leaving at 1pm. Don’t worry – there will be time to explore Love is Love’s garden at the end of the tour!


East Lake Community Learning Garden

This beautiful community garden in East Lake has a unique structure, not only providing a place for community member’s to grow organic produce, but also a space for interactive workshops.

East lake community garden

Gilliam Park Community Garden

Tucked into the Kirkwood neighborhood, Gilliam Park Community Garden creates a sense of community while providing a sunny space for gardening. The communal strawberry patch or the perennial hedge of huge knock-out roses are not to be missed!


Edgewood Community Learning Garden | Wylde Center

The Wylde Center recently adopted and renovated this neighborhood asset in Edgewood. The garden boasts a striking gazebo, pollinator gardens and beehives.

BONUS: Chicken Photobooth – this stop has photogenic chickens that are excited to strike a pose with tour participants (as long as you promise to send photos to us and tag us (@parkpride) on social media!).

chicken photobooth

End At Love is Love Farm

Enjoy food, drinks and a piñata full of bike lights and garden seeds while exploring the farm’s five acres of growing space, forest fragments, hillsides and an acre spring fed pond.


This year’s Community Garden Tour is going to be a one-of-a-kind experience – we hope you’ll join us!


Questions? Reach out to Betty Hanacek at

Calling for Nominations for the 2015 Inspiration Awards!

Attention passionate park people: Park Pride is seeking nominations for the 2015 Inspiration Awards!

Nominate Now!

All nominations are due by 5pm, Friday, January 9, 2015.

Award Full

2014 Inspiration Award

Each year, Park Pride recognizes outstanding achievements in the parks and greenspace field through the Inspiration Awards. They honor leaders who, through their actions, inspire others to expand and improve public parks and greenspaces, and raise awareness about critical, relevant issues.

The 2015 Awards will reflect the theme of the Parks & Greenspace Conference: Parks & People: A Declaration of Interdependence. This theme will focus on the direct (though complex) relationship between parks and their surrounding communities. Leaders and champions who have strengthened the bond between a park and surrounding community, thereby benefiting both, are the individuals we seek to honor with this year’s Inspiration Awards.

Sound like someone you know? Nominate them!

The Inspiration Awards nominees will be assessed by the following criteria*:

  1. Leadership
  2. Long-term commitment
  3. Tangible results
  4. Innovation
  5. Alignment with conference theme (i.e., community champions that advance parks and greenspace in their communities)

* The award will focus on volunteers (people who are not paid for their work) from across Park Pride’s service area (City of Atlanta and DeKalb County), but nominees who have gone “over and above” their work duties to advance parks and greenspace will also be considered.

A total of SIX honorees will be selected to receive the Inspiration Award.

Visit the Inspiration Award page on the Park Pride website and submit a nomination before 5pm on Friday, January 9th!

Read more about past Inspiration Award Winners.

2014 Inspiration Award Winners

25 Reasons to Donate to Park Pride

It’s the season when you’re looking at who’s been naughty and nice, and figuring out what gifts you’ll be giving during the holidays this year. We’ve compiled 25 reasons why Park Pride should be on your “nice” list during our 25th Anniversary. We hope you’ll consider them and give a gift to our mission to improve parks and greenspace across Atlanta and DeKalb County!

PP25_F generalOnly you can help us continue do to the work we do to improve parks and strengthen communities. DONATE NOW. No gift is too small to make a difference in parks. Thank you!

25 reasons to donate to Park Pride

In no particular order and with varying degrees of legitimacy (!):

25. Because of the power of parks! It’s been proven that parks increase happiness and decrease stress in the individuals that have access to them. Parks are places where we can relax with family and friends, enjoy a walk, run or team activity, connect with nature, and the list goes on. The health of our city depends on the health of our parks, and all of Park Pride’s programs have the end goal of making each park a better place to be.

Parks are restorative!

Parks are restorative!

24. Park Pride believes in partnerships. No one is able to accomplish as much alone as we’re able to accomplish together, and Park Pride is proud to work along side like-minded organizations to bring about changes in Atlanta in DeKalb and make  needed improvements in our park systems!

23. Park Pride has helped to coordinate over 500,000 volunteer service hours in parks since 1989! That is a huge effort, and not a single one of those hours would have been possible without dedicated communities, community members, and corporate volunteers giving of their time and energy to help improve and maintain our park land. It also wouldn’t be possible without…

22. THIS GUY! John Ahern, Volunteer Manager, has been with Park Pride since June 2010! In his own words, John “… has probably the best job in the world! Working with large groups of volunteers out in our beautiful parks, to make them even more beautiful!” Hard work has never been so fun (clearly!). Donate to Park Pride in honor of John!

john and revonda

John Ahern, Volunteer Manager

21. Park Pride believes that knowledge is power, and that participating in the global conversations surrounding parks and greenspace is important and benefits all those who partake! Each year, we invite you to the Annual Parks and Greenspace Conference to bring your park stories and lessons learned to the table, as well as to engage with greenspace leaders from across the globe!


2013 Parks and Greenspace Conference

20. While many of the larger parks have their own dedicated conservancies, Park Pride is informally known as the park conservancy for the little guys!

19. Park Pride makes parks safer. Park sight lines are vastly improved following volunteer work days where invasive plant removal is a focus. More visibility and eyes on the park leads to fewer crimes committed in the park. Additionally, new amenities in parks funded by Park Pride grants (playgrounds, walking trails, exercise equipment, better lighting, etc.), increase positive activity in the parks, also resulting in a decrease in crime.

Volunteers from Bennett Thrasher remove invasive plants from Atlanta Memorial Park along Howell Mill Road, increasing visibility into the park.

Volunteers from Bennett Thrasher remove invasive plants from Atlanta Memorial Park along Howell Mill Road, increasing visibility into the park.

18. Our Executive Director, Michael Halicki, looks like Ed Helms. A legitimate reason to donate? Eh – questionable. But we won’t tell!  Donate to Michael’s fundraiser….


From Left: Ed Helms, Michael Halicki. Or is it the other way around…

17. We’re dedicated to parks. DEDICATED. Allison Barnett has been with Park Pride since the beginning: as an employee, as Executive Director, and now as Associate Director. Allison’s longevity at Park Pride illustrates that our people don’t just like parks. We love them. We’re committed. Donate to Park Pride in honor of Allison Barnett!


Allison Barnett, Associate Director of Park Pride, circa 1993!

16. Park Pride has help over 100 Friends of the Park groups organize since the program’s inception in 2007. Those groups took it upon themselves to make a difference in their parks and in their neighborhoods – and they have! From organizing community events in their parks, to community based plantings and volunteer days, the Friends of the Park groups have given their all to parks, and we are both grateful and proud to be their partner! Additionally, much of the success of the Friends of the Park Program can be attributed to

15. THIS LADY! Ayanna Williams has been with Park Pride since October 2007 as the Director of Community Building. Ayanna works with the Friends of the Parks groups in all capacities: from organizing groups, to coordinating workshops, to acting as a group’s liaison with the city or county, and heading the Community Garden Program, this woman does it all! Donate for Ayanna!

Ayanna Williams, Director of Community Building

Ayanna Williams, Director of Community Building

14. Donate to Park Pride because we loves dogs! The end of 2013 brought with it the ribbon cutting and official opening of the Renaissance Park Dog Park! Park Pride is proud to have been able to be a part of the larger team that made this doggie dreamland a reality, contributing a matching Community Building Grant for the park’s construction. A great amenity for Downtown!


Dog enjoying Renaissance Park Dog Park – we love dogs!

13. Over the years, we’ve supported over 250 parks in Atlanta and DeKalb: enough said. 🙂


12. November 13th, Georgia Gives Day, was also THE EXACT DATE of Park Pride’s 25th birthday! See? “Park Pride Atlanta, Inc.” was incorporated on November 13, 1989! Happy birthday to us!incorporated2

11. Park Pride takes a grassroots approach to park improvements, focusing on the communities wants and needs first and working up from there. We literally couldn’t do what we do without community support!

10. Park Pride helps communities define their park dreams! The Park Visioning process and resulting conceptual master plans not only energize the communities to improve their quality of life, but become powerful tools to solicit private funding and lobby for public funding for communities to help reach their goals.

Park Visioning Team

Park Pride’s Visioning team, Director of Visioning Walt Ray, and Visioning Coordinator, Becky Katz, look over a park master plan developed by the community.

9. Park Pride has worked with 30 communities to produce Park Visioning plans. The program’s success is driven by the Director of Park Visioning, Walt Ray, who spearheaded the program in 2005 and has worked with dozens of community groups to help them work together to identify needs and prioritize wants, resulting in park plans that excite and unite neighborhoods. Walt Ray and Visioning Coordinator, Becky Katz, are an amazing duo and we are so lucky to have them as part of the Park Pride family. Donate in honor of Walt and Becky!

8. Those 30 visioning plans have in turn resulted in $12 million invested in parks!

7. Y’all look good in green 🙂 Park Pride is helping park enthusiasts stay ahead of trending fashions with our “I ❤ Parks” t-shirts. You’re welcome! (If you’d like, you can purchase a shirt here.)

Models wearing "I <3 Parks" t-shirts

Everyone looks great in our green t-shirts!

6. Park Pride advocates for more park land; our goal is to make a park accessible to ALL Atlantans within a 10 minute walk from their homes. See? It says it here on the PARC (Parks Atlanta Rescue Coalition) Pledge!

Parc pledge complete_Page_15. Park Pride was successful in getting ALL members of Atlanta City Council to sign the four-point PARC Pledge! We were determined that parks and greenspace were considered in their agendas and knocked on doors until all had signed. Not only that, but Mayor Kasim Reed also issued a statement of support!

4. Park Pride strengthens communities through building community consensus. As Friends of the Park and community groups move through the Park Visioning program to re-imagine their park, they’re forced to take a good look at  all aspects of their needs and talk in-depth about their wants for their greenspace. The Park Vision, produced by Park Pride, is a final plan arrived at together with the community.


Community members of Collier Heights participate in Park Pride’s Visioning workshop.

 3. Park Pride helped to pass the legislation that made community gardens allowable in parks! There are now 20 community gardens in public parks across the city and county, enjoyed and loved by Friends of the Park groups!

Selena Butler Park community garden

Community garden installation at Selena Butler Park.

2. WE love parks. And,

1. YOU love parks. It’s a perfect match!

Friends of Lang-Carson Park

Friends of Lang-Carson Park loving their park and King of Pops popsicles!

We hope you’ll consider us for a donation! Gifts of any size can help make BIG differences! THANK YOU for believing in us and in our mission to create more and better parks!


The Picnic for Parks

4673 PP picnic for parks3The Picnic for Parks on September 18, 2014, was more than just another fundraising event. It was a one time, 25th Anniversary celebration of parks that united park advocates, supporters and friends. It was our opportunity to say “thank you” to those who’ve stood by us since our founding in 1989. It was a party to recognize corporate partners and volunteers who’ve helped us surpass 500,000 service hours improving parks. It was a chance to commemorate funders and community members that helped us achieve results that never could have been possible working alone.

But most importantly, it was a beautiful evening with Park Pride celebrating parks!


The Picnic for Park guests enjoying live music in Historic Fourth Ward Park’s amphitheater.

Pine Street Market provided excellent hors d'oeuvres.

Pine Street Market provided excellent hors d’oeuvres.

Chef Holly at the grill

Chef Holly prepared beef skewers on the Grill Domes (which were later auctioned!)

H4WP Amphitheater

A beautiful view amphitheater at Historic Fourth Ward Park before The Picnic began.

Park Pride and The Picnic leaders

From left: Dorothy Yates Kirkley (Park Pride Board President), Michael Halicki (Park Pride Executive Director), and Verna Jennings-Cleveland and Sarah Yates Sutherland (Picnic co-chairs)

Honorary Co-Chairs

Honorary Co-Chairs: Frank & Liz Blake and Michael & Lovette Russell

A delicious picnic supper

A delicious picnic supper created by Chef Linton Hopkins & Friends!

Mucis and Dancing!

Much music and dancing to celebrate the occasion!

Tree people

The tree people brought an element of magic to the evening!

King of Pops

Finish the night off with “poptails” from The King of Pops!

Thank you to everyone for sharing such a wonderful evening with us as we celebrated our 25th Anniversary. To see more photos from the evening, please head over to our Facebook album. Find, tag, and share the photos!

More Reasons to Enjoy Pints for Parks!

We’ve been working hard to make Pints for Parks at Orpheus Brewing on July 8th even more irresistible! 5494772813_0311574957_z


While at Pints, you’ll have the opportunity to Tweet, play games, and win the following door prizes:

fifth group


  • A pair of tickets to the Great Atlanta Beer Fest at Turner Field on September 6, courtesy of Atlanta Beer Festivals. Check them out! They host six beer festivals each year; different seasons, different themes… all 100% awesome.

  • $200 in Uber credits. Yes. $200. Uber is the mobile app that allows you to request a ride at the touch of a button and be driven around town like a rock-star. $200 can get you… well… far.
  • A $25 gift card from The Porter Beer Bar. In case you missed it, The Porter is where all the magic began for Orpheus … big shout out to them for blessing Atlanta with another glorious brewery! And if you’ve never been to The Porter in Little Five Points, make a point of it. Their beer menu is BEYOND impressive!
  • A PRIVATE TOUR of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area with Robby Astrove, aka Ranger Robby! By the time Pints has rolled around, Robby will have been honored with the Longleaf Award at Georgia Conservancy’s VERDE! A few years back, he also took home Park Pride’s Inspiration Award. Check out this interview he did with Georgia Organics. On your half day adventure, prepare to hike 3-4 miles and experience stunning views, rock outcrops, lakes and streams, and hike among the shaded forest trails.  You’ll explore, learn, and discover DeKalb County’s  best kept secret…’s Arabia!
06-12-12 Robby with apple tree
  • $30 in Zipcar credits – and a sweet schwag bag! Zipcar makes it awfully easy to not own a car by hooking you up with one only when you need it. Basically, it’s a smarter way to get around the city. Check out their How-To page to see how it all works!
  • Atlanta Bicycle Coalition … we all know ’em and love ’em, and now they’ve given us even MORE reason! Not only could you walk away with an ABC t-shirt, but also a pint glass, and finally … wait for it … a FULL YEAR ABC MEMBERSHIP! How awesome is that?!
  • Tickets to a Friday or Saturday night improv show at Village Theatre! Funny funny funny – if you like to laugh, this show is a GOOD TIME.
  • Who’s hungry for some Mellow Mushroom Pizza?! At Park Pride, we’re always ready for some Kosmic Karma 🙂 At Pints, you’ll have the chance to win a $50 gift card from Mellow … yum! What kind of pizza are YOU going to get?


Great companies and organizations are stepping up daily to offer awesome prizes for Pints. This event is not to be missed! Check back periodically to see what we’ve added, and REGISTER before it’s too late!

Taste Beer. Support Parks!


Date: Tuesday, July 8

Time: 6-9pm

Location: Orpheus Brewing


It’s been FOUR years since Park Pride has organized a Pints for Parks shindig … but drinking on behalf of greenspace is BACK and is going to be better than ever!

5495366024_0198a257a1_zYou’re skeptical?!

Don’t be! Below are 5 GREAT reasons why you need to attend Pints for Parks.

Reason #1 – The Brewery

Orpheus Brewing is hosting; they’re a new brewery just off of the newest section of Piedmont Park and (if you haven’t heard) are kinda a big deal in town. Check out what the AJC had to say about them and learn a bit about the founder and brewmaster, Jason Pellett. Best part is that the inspiration behind Atalanta (one of the brewery’s debut drafts) was from a King of Pops pop flavor! Popsicle inspired beer? Give me summa THAT!10258532_579361958830638_6793003480318325230_o

Reason #2 – The Location

Not only is the beer we’ll be tasting at Pints for Parks unique to Atlanta, and in fact to all of the southeast, but where better to raise a toast to parks than while gazing out over a beautiful greenspace? Orpheus has not one, but TWO patios overlooking the newly built section of Piedmont Park. It’s as if this brewery was made for Pints for Parks!

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The BeltLine is right there too!

Reason #3 – The Food

The venue is awesome, the beer is awesome, so it makes sense that the food is going to be awesome too …. brats to go with your beers, anyone? Streatery will have a few carts of goodness on-site to serve up hot dogs, veggie dogs, turkey dogs, you name it … all evening long.


Reason #4 – The Good Company

And good times! All with folks who love parks as much as you do 🙂

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Reason #5 – To Support Parks &

Park Pride Programming

We all want to throw-down and have a great time, but there is a deeper reason why you should attend Pints for Parks. You love your neighborhood park, you want to see Atlanta’s park system improve and thrive, and you’d like to help Park Pride continue to provide the leadership, funding and resources to help communities build more and better parks. We can’t continue to do what we do without your help and support.

We can’t wait to see you there, helping us make the 2014 Pints for Parks the best yet! Spread the word – bring your family, your friends, your coworkers! Anyone who likes parks, likes beer, and likes to have a good time is a friend of ours 🙂

CHEERS! (and register)

Pops in Parks

Those hot summer days are approaching, Atlanta. It’s time to prepare your offensive game to beat the heat, and Park Pride has a GREAT way to help you do it!


king of pops large


On weekends from June to August, Park Pride and the King of Pops will show up at 25 parks throughout the City of Atlanta to hand out free (yes, FREE) pops in appreciation of our dedicated Friends of the Park groups!

Once the parks have been selected, a complete list of dates, times and locations will be posted on Park Pride’s website!

Bring on the heat 🙂