You can’t think “Kendall Whittier” without thinking about Maria Barnes. She has been named 2020 Board Member of the Year for Kendall Whittier Main Street. She will be recognized at the Oklahoma Main Street Center Banquet on Sept. 22 in Oklahoma City.
Dedicated to the neighborhood, Maria has been with the Main Street program since its inception nearly a decade ago and has built a career around improving the Kendall Whittier neighborhood and Tulsa in general. She leads by example, always volunteering to be involved in projects, volunteering at events or, most importantly, promoting the neighborhood and organization any chance she gets.
In addition to her role on the Kendall Whittier Main Street Board of Directors, Maria heads up the Kendall Whittier Neighborhood Association where she has opportunities regularly to promote the revitalization of the district and the work Kendall Whittier Main Street does.
She has been an instrumental volunteer in hosting an annual Christmas event called “Lights On” that provides healthy food and books for families while getting into the holiday spirit with Santa Claus, Christmas carols and bright lights on Whittier Square. She is a regular attendee of the Oklahoma Main Street Awards Banquet as well.
Kendall Whittier has always been about family to Maria. She and her late husband, James, could we found helping tear down events either after enjoying them as guests or after an evening of volunteering. After his passing, Maria remained committed to attending and volunteering at Main Street events just has she and her husband had enjoyed together all those years. Now, their adult children are seen frequently around the neighborhood, often volunteering on clean up days and at events.
Maria is currently a Community Outreach Director for Crosstown Learning Center in Kendall Whittier and is a former Tulsa City Councilor for the district.
With Maria’s history in the neighborhood, even before she was one of the founding members of Main Street, she is a wealth of knowledge and an amazing resource. Her final term on the Board expired in the summer of 2020, and the loss will be felt deeply. Fortunately, we know we always have a volunteer and ally in Maria.