KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Inside an office space located in the West Bottoms, some of Kansas City’s biggest environmental ideas are launched. According to Kristin Riott, executive director of Bridging the Gap, chances are you benefit from some of the cutting edge programs.
“You might not know that I planted the tree that is on the street, outside your home but it effects your life on a daily bases,” Riott said.
The not-for-profit organization is Kansas City’s largest green-focused organization.
“This is a wonderful place for me to really tie everything together, all of the skills that I learned working for a big corporation,” Riott said.
She was a business executive with Hallmark for 20 years, but it wasn’t until the company transferred her to Hong Kong that she realized her true passion was helping the environment.
“When you are living in a really densely populated Asian city, you see what is happening to the natural world," she said. "The trees had all been cut down, the pollution was so bad that my kids couldn't play in the ocean. That was really my awakening to what is happening environmentally.”
Riott said after her stint overseas, she felt awakened to a new purpose.
“In 2007 I trained with former Vice President Al Gore to become a spokesperson for climate change,” she said.
It was during that experience Riott learned about Bridging the Gap in Kansas City and was hired as its director.
“Bridging the Gap was built and founded on the premise that we are all in this together, and we all need to help each other," Riott said. "We have somewhere between 2,000 to 2,700 volunteers.”
Under Riott’s leadership, volunteers have planted more than 7,000 trees around Kansas City. She also created an educational program called Five Green Things, which received the EPA’s Clean Air Excellence Award in Washington, D.C.
Her team said she is an inspiration.
“I am very, just humbled by her. She is very compassionate. She is an incredible boss to work for," said Kate Becker, a program manager for Bridging the Gap. "She really does everything she can to make sure we have an uplifting, encouraging environment to work in.”
You can see Riott’s work all across the metro, leading the effort to keep Kansas City green today and for the future.
For additional information on Bridging the Gap visit https://www.bridgingthegap.org/
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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