On April 22, a group of 50 enthusiastic Southwest Employees gathered side-by-side with our families in Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza to bring life to this concrete place with new plants, clean-up, and many more beautifying tasks. What we did not know at the time was the transformative effect our efforts and Southwest’s support would have on the plaza. Not too long after the event, I went to observe how the Plaza was being enjoyed, and I was proud to see families having lunch, business professionals meeting, and visitors of all kinds together in one space. Civic Plaza looked fresh, alive, and inviting! It brought me great joy to witness it being utilized by so many people. Through Southwest’s Placemaking initiative, Heart of the Community, places like Civic Plaza shine, bringing community together to enjoy their city like never before. This effort makes me proud of my city of Albuquerque, a little oasis with a lot to offer. By creating beautiful places that people can enjoy and that attract visitors, we boost the city economy and improve the quality of life for everyone. What an amazing thing to be a part of! It has been incredibly satisfying to not only make a hands-on contribution to the revitalization of the Plaza, but to now be able to sit back and enjoy it. Next Friday, Southwest will celebrate the launch of Civic Plaza in partnership with DowntownABQ Main Street and Project for Public Spaces. I am looking forward to attending and enjoying all the activities the Plaza has to offer. I can’t wait to see how my efforts and those of my Cohearts and Company have paid off. Southwest Airlines connects People to the places that mean the most to them. Through Heart of the Community, we’re extending that purpose by encouraging more connections on the ground and helping local residents, like myself, feel a sense of ownership in the places they share. We strive to make residents proud to call their city home. Civic Plaza is the heart of my community! Southwest Airlines is currently accepting applications for the 2016 Heart of the Community grant program with partner, Project for Public Spaces. To date, the program has served 12 innovative and transformative projects. To read more, visit pps.org/Heart-of-the-Community.