Friday, May 11, 2007
Team Up To Clean Up
"Are you ready to start planting?"
"Yeah, let's put in the vegetables first."
The Law Enforcement Explorers, young people volunteering at the 48th Precinct in the Bronx, were ready to get their hands dirty working on a community garden as part of Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion's Team Up to Clean Up event.
The River Garden project was just one of two projects Bronx Community Solutions was helping with on a very busy Saturday.
In addition to organizing 27 young volunteers for the garden project, we were asked by the Borough President to help clean a nearby, garbage strewn and rocky lot in a area known for heavy drug and prostitution activity.
Borough President Carrion, responding to community concerns, had successfully closed down a nuisance property across the street from the lot, which had helped reduce some of the problems. Still, the lot itself was a dangerous and dirty place that needed to be cleaned.
Dumping on the site was substantial, and this was going to be a tough job. We put our community service operation into high gear: scheduling clients quickly, obtaining supplies, and getting permission to paint from the the owners of a graffiti covered building adjoining the lot. In addition to about eight mandated clients, we recruited five explorers and a member of the local community board to help out with the cleaning and painting.
Once everything was in place, we were lucky enough to have a beautiful day and did a ton of work. It was a pleasure to meet so many community members and city officials who had come out to show their support, and for our clients it was a chance to feel like they were part of something positive and important.
Borough President Carrion visited the site and spoke with some of our mandated clients, thanking them for the work they were doing.
Back at the garden, the young explorers planted perennials, annuals and vegetables in flower beds donated to us by Ms. Nessie, the garden President who's run the River Garden for over 20 years. They also painted a garden tool shed and pulled a lot of overgrown weeds.
All in all, it was a good day's work.