Fort Greene

Xiaoming Li 黎宵鸣

A young and small boy with big dreams and a kind and passionate heart tends to help bring his community together. He said “If we can do something to help another thing get better, then we should try our best to do it.” 11-year-old Xiaoming Li, with the help of his beloved teacher Denise Evans, was able to connect his neighborhood and community to Commodore Barry Park events. Through these events he showed kindness, bravery, and growth but more importantly he was able to find what he loved to do.

It all started when Xiaoming’s teacher, Ms. Evans contacted Xiaoming’s parents and encouraged him to start attending events in Commodore Barry Park. Xiaoming himself was a very lonely boy before his brother was born and therefore he wants to go out to be active and get something to do. The first event that Xiaoming contributed to was planting daffodil bulbs, which is now one of his best memories. As Ms. Evans and Xiaoming’s parents encouraged him to attend more of these events, Xiaoming began to love helping out at the Park: “Helping the community is like a hobby to me.”

Xiaoming also experienced hardships, such as being discriminated against because of his age. He had the courage to stand up and say “Your age has nothing to do with what you can accomplish. It’s what you dream of doing and accomplishing what you dreamed of.”  When he met a bully, he protected himself by staying away from him for a while. But through observations, Xiaoming realized that the bully needed some help. With his courage and kindness, he offered help to that boy and they were able to become friends.

“If you think you can help then you should try your best to help, but if you think it’s too hard for you, try to step back for a while and step up again when you feel more confident.” 


From Sheryl Kesha Morse, Member, Friends of Commodore Barry Park:

“Xiaoming is a young leader and we thank him for his commitment to our Park, Commodore Barry. Thank you for always showing up!”

Portrait by

Zahra Mirmalek

Zahra Mirmalek is an Iranian American artist and photographer based in Brooklyn.

Text by

Viola Zheng

“Commodore Barry Park has been the park of my childhood where there are many memories of me and my family in that park. I am very glad to be the youth writer for the community hero for this neighborhood.”

Meet more community heroes