Schou, the force behind and one of the founders of the Friends of Bixby Park, has raised money and worked with her neighbors to add landscaping near the playground. She has worked with City Council representatives to improve security at the park. She also has organized community theater and puppet shows at the band shell, with more entertainment planned this year.

Even after she was diagnosed with lupus — and said her doctor recommended that she stop piling so much volunteer work onto her plate — Schou is unstoppable. She said giving up on Bixby Park is something she cannot do.

All of her advocacy for improving the park is a volunteer effort. Schou’s day job is being the owner of Media Boutique, a public relations and marketing business she started after working as a writer for several major area newspapers. Claudia has been an incredible asset to our Long Beach Neighborhood Foundation.