THE BRONX - As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, News 12’s Joanna Hernandez sat down with a resident who has been an advocate for her neighborhood since she was 10 years old.

Karen Pedrosa is an artist, mentor and the deputy chief of recreation for the New York City Parks Department in the Bronx. She has dedicated her life to giving back to her community.

"I grew up in a city park, so the Parks Department helped take me off the streets,” she says. “It was vital for my childhood. My parents would take us out to the parks a lot to take us off the streets."

It wasn’t always easy for the Puerto Rican native, who grew up in the hip-hop era of the South Bronx in the 1970s. She said growing up Latina was difficult, and while she didn’t have the same opportunities as others around her, she made the most of it.

Pedrosa used her voice and passion for art to teach at multiple public schools in the Bronx and quickly moved up the ranks in different art, sports and recreation programs across the city.

In her free time, she paints murals across the city and provides free art workshops.

Pedrosa will receive a leadership award at the seventh annual Bronx Chamber of Commerce Hispanic Heritage Luncheon for her outstanding work in the community.