The beautification of Canarsie community continued last Saturday, with the planting of tulip and daffodil bulbs in Seaview Park, for an enchanting spring bloom, thanks to Leaders Engaging in All Round Development International LEAD’N — a community-based organization that collaborated with Partnerships for Parks, and volunteers, who used the sunny fall day to enhance the recreational ground.
My Park Day, observed yearly, gives residents an opportunity to keep their environment clean, as such, the gathering spent hours in the park raking leaves, preparing the earth, and planting a bed where dozens of bulbs were buried, and will create boarders around the four corners of a patch in the park.
Grenadian-born Jennifer Viechweg Horsford, founder and director of LEAD’N who has been vigilant, cleaning up the Canarsie and the Rockaway Parkway, Foster Avenue environs, and inspiring groups like the Street Team, members of the Brooklyn Transitional Lions Club, the Grenada Ex-Teachers Association, and youths, in a Litter to Glitter campaign, expressed how special it is to beautify the park.
She said despite Tulip bulbs have become pricy, residents nevertheless made huge donations towards the outreach program, because they have the same vision.
“I am encouraged by the fact that fifty percent are young people who are volunteering to fulfill their service, to community.”
“They keep me busy. I am happy that our kids could know the power of service and are giving back. The environment has a positive effect on them. Parents also inspire their kids to volunteer.”
Noting that the effort is to make sure the park stays colorful and inviting for all to enjoy, Horsford urged park goers to refrain from removing, handpicking the flowers, and instead allow them to remain on the picture-perfect grounds for as long as possible, during the season.
She recalled seeing the beautiful flowers disappear within two months, after they bloomed in early spring, due to theft.
She thanked Sen. Roxanne Persaud, in whose district the park is located, for inspiring the community. She also acknowledged sponsors, Robert Marecheau, Stephanie Gabriel, Jack Jacolbe and family, and Norine Medas. Event organizers, Clover March (Science and Resilience Institute, Canarsie Street Team, Michele Singh, Narsha Campbell, Veronica Barrow, Eugene and Josiah Henry, Donna Mitchell, Clint, and Nicholas Horsford.
“If you want to see a change, then plant flowers to see a beautiful bloom,” encouraged Viechweg Horsford.
Adam Blachly, volunteer projects associate with Partnerships for Parks, in turn, credits his agency with helping to get local communities out into the parks to do different stewardship tasks, such as planting bulbs, painting benches, cleaning up or raking leaves.
“It is important for people to volunteer because the parks department is under resourced, and underfunded, and we could always use the extra help and love. I personally believe that if the park is cared for, and people see that, then they’ll be inspired to treat the park with that same respect, adding, that is a guiding philosophy.
“I think it’s great to take the time out of your weekend, to show that you care for the park. Come together with your community to make it more beautiful, and a more welcoming space for everyone,” he shared.
Tamika Rawleigh, who represented the Hebrew Educational Society (HES) said it was the responsibility of her organization to participate in events such as the My Park Day, noting that a food pantry, early childhood and senior citizen programs and services, were offered to the community.
“It’s very important to be a part of the activities because we are a community group. The outreach is rewarding,” she said.
Thirteen-year-old Josiah said he has been volunteering since he was 5, alongside his mother Anita Coley, of the LEAD’N, who worked for many years cleaning the streets, while encouraging youths to be a part of the community cleanup and takes the credit for ensuring he does community service.
Brenda Cox, a Grenadian-born, of Brooklyn Transition Lions Club, as part of her organization’s motto, “Service” gives back to the community.
www.nyc.gov/parks, https://www.thehes.org, www.partnershipsforparks.org.