Amir Omar has passionately addressed a number of community needs from fighting cancer, inspiring better fitness, encouraging volunteerism, to providing food for the less fortunate. Recently, he has impacted the Richardson, Texas community through beautification, clean air, and the environment.
Omar is the creator and the driving force behind “Tree the Town” which on its announcement became the largest tree planting initiative in North Texas history. Tree the Town has a goal of planting 50,000 trees over 10 years. Upon seeing the instant success and excitement the program garnered, Omar took the initiative a step further and became the energy behind “Tree North Texas” which is the largest tree planting initiative of its kind in the United States. The goal for Tree North Texas is to plant 3 million trees over 10 years.
“Tree the Town” and ultimately “Tree North Texas” began when Omar discovered a variety of opportunities to plant trees in order to beautify, provide shade, and clean the air. The idea was first born during a marathon-training run when he encountered a nearly 1.5 mile stretch of trail that was in desperate need of even a little shade. It struck him that shade on that trail would make it that much more desirable, encouraging more community fitness, while also beautifying the trail and helping clean the air.
Along the way, Omar has purposefully steered the program to be more than just a tree planting initiative. The sponsored plantings have inspired hundreds of volunteers to help on a given morning and make a difference. These plantings bring out individuals of all ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, faiths, and races – all to serve one purpose and give back by making a difference!
His work with dozens of Boy and Girl Scout troops have helped them accomplish their badge requirements while also putting more trees in the ground. For one particular project, he helped a Girl Scout troop deliver free shade trees to low-income senior citizens. The scouts planted trees as a part of their service project for senior residents. In turn, the seniors nurture the planted tree to provide shade for their home and ultimately help with the electric bill.
Another planting he directed joined this passion with another program he created bringing six new community gardens to his city. These gardens are responsible for providing thousands of pounds of organic vegetables annually to local residents in need though local food banks. Omar secured a donation for a local corporation to do a volunteer tree planting at one of these garden sites and specifically planted fruit trees at this location to supplement the efforts of the community garden. Thus, they provided trees for the tree initiative and food for the pantry.
In 2012, when he was nominated as one of 21 finalists for “One Man Dallas”, an effort to recognize young men making a difference through volunteerism, he chose to represent the Methodist Richardson Cancer Center as the charity that would receive the winnings if he was ultimately chosen. The competition included a service project that benefitted the nominee’s charity. He once again married two passions this time creating a “Tribute Grove” concept. Dozens of volunteers came out to plant 40 trees outside the cancer center that would be made available for tribute donations that would total $20,000. Ultimately, Omar was named One Man Dallas as the One Man who most personified the volunteer spirit.