Ask Candace Woodward what motivated her to become such a community service dynamo in her Park Slope neighborhood, and she’ll answer in two words: A layoff.
“I had been laid off from my job at Chase and even though I was re-hired at another firm, I felt that I needed something additional to do,” Woodward says. For the past 15 years, that “something additional” has been “making a contribution to the neighborhood I love because it has so much to offer.”
The primary beneficiary of Woodward’s civic activism has been the Park Slope Civic Council, of which she has served as a past vice president and current recording secretary, and chairwoman of the sustainability committee. In that last capacity, she organizes the annual Prospect Park “mulchfest,” as well as “Civic Sweep,” the bi-annual neighborhood clean-up. The first sweep was held in 2001, after a forum on local garbage issues. Thanks to Woodward’s hard work, it has drawn a wide variety of participants, including individuals from the neighborhood and community groups.
But that’s not all. Woodward is also a member of the executive committee and the community committee of the Prospect Park Alliance, and up until a year ago participated in the Reach Out and Read program, reading to children confined to the pediatric clinic at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in Park Slope. It’s an activity she “hopes to resume this summer.”
“There’s a new book — ‘The New Brooklyn,’ — that says: ‘Today’s Park Slope citizens are oriented toward their backyards and cedar decks; they may not know the family next door at all,’” Woodward says. “The civic council and my House Tour and Civic Sweep events work to encourage community involvement and participation.”
In fact, her house tour, which showcases restored brownstones of the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries, receives about 600 attendees annually. It also serves as a fund-raiser for the Park Slope Civic Council, which provides money for community projects in the arts and education, as well as civic improvement.
Perhaps the highest praise for this Woman of Distinction comes from her friend and civic council colleague Judith Lief, who says: “Candace is a passionate, energetic, and dedicated community member. She is quite remarkable and has been making her mark on the Park Slope Community and the borough of Brooklyn for decades. She is an amazing community resource and advocate.”
Neighborhood: Park Slope
Occupation: Trustee and recording secretary.
Company: Park Slope Civic Council.
Claim to Fame: The little red “No Flyer, Ads, Menus” signs that are found on homes all over Park Slope that prevent people from delivering menus and those bags of coupons and menus, which can so easily become sidewalk litter.
Favorite Brooklyn Places: Brooklyn Bridge Park at night lit up by lights from the Brooklyn Bridge and from the Manhattan skyline. MCU Park in Coney Island in the summertime. Most significantly, the view of the Long Meadow from the bench I adopted in Prospect Park for my late husband.
Woman I admire: I admire a woman named Frances Kelsey, an employee of the Federal Drug Administration, who in 1960 or so was assigned to review thalidomide. Despite intense pressure to approve this drug for sale in this U.S. and the fact that it had been approved in Europe and Canada, she was skeptical and kept requesting additional information from the manufacturer, until finally the terrible news started coming in from Europe. For her diligent efforts, President Kennedy gave her the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service.
Motto: Savor the moment.
©2017 Community News Group
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