New Yorkers for Parks Honors Outstanding Community Groups at 17th Annual Daffodil Breakfast in Battery Park
Living Memorial to 9/11 One of the Largest Volunteer Efforts in City’s History
CONTACT: Megan Douglas 212-838-9410 ex.310 / firstname.lastname@example.org
April 25, 2017 (New York, NY) – New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P), the citywide independent champion of quality open space, honored outstanding Daffodil Project volunteers from every borough at its annual Daffodil Breakfast on Tuesday, April 24th, at the Battery Park Gardens restaurant in Downtown Manhattan.
Founded in the fall of 2001 as a living memorial to the victims of 9/11, The Daffodil Project has given away over seven million free daffodil bulbs across the five boroughs, and has engaged over 100,000 young students, parks and gardens groups, civic organizations, and other New Yorkers, making it one of the largest volunteer efforts in City history. The project has become a symbol of the city’s resiliency, and a powerful tool for community engagement and empowerment. Because of The Daffodil Project, the daffodil was named the official flower of New York City in 2007. Every spring, NY4P honors volunteers for their participation and leadership in the Project at the Breakfast.
The honorees each dedicate their work to improving their local green spaces, and plant free bulbs from The Daffodil Project to care for these spaces and engage local residents in stewardship and community-building.
“These volunteers put in countless hours improving New York City green spaces for the enjoyment of all, and yet all too often they don’t receive much recognition beyond their neighborhoods,” said Lynn Kelly, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks. “The Daffodil Project has planted over seven million daffodil bulbs across all five boroughs, and that success truly wouldn’t be possible without these dedicated and generous New Yorkers. We are delighted to honor and celebrate their work.”
“Our parks have a different meaning to every New Yorker, but the work of New Yorkers for Parks and their partners has done something amazing for everyone. By planting over seven million daffodils citywide, New Yorkers for parks has lifted up our entire city and made it a more beautiful place to live, work, and play,” said Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik, Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation.
The 2017/2018 season Daffodil Project was a huge success. NY4P distributed over 450,000 free daffodil bulbs to over 1,000 groups and individuals, including 144 New York City schools, with over 17,000 students participating in plantings at their schools.
This year, NY4P honored the following individuals and community groups:
The Lynden B. Miller Citywide Award:
Maureen Fonseca and Susan Newman, Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation (SASFNY)
Now celebrating its 25th year, Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation (SASF) provides free after school programs to over 25,000 students from underserved neighborhoods. SASF hosts a variety of programs, from theater to sports to educational opportunities, all in pursuit of a common goal: to bridge the opportunity gap and improve undeserved students’ academic performance, health and wellness, self-confidence, character and attitudes for success in life. SASF is particularly attracted to activities that combine different areas of their program into a single event, like plantings through the Daffodil Project, which incorporates academics, arts, and athletics in a fun, engaging way. SASF held five school plantings (one per borough) where 75 students were able to plant hundreds of daffodils in their schoolyards, learning about the importance of protecting and preserving their open spaces and beautifying their schools. As SASF looks toward the future, they aim to expand their partnerships and programs to ensure high quality education, resources, and opportunities for all youth.
The Bronx: Jaime O. Feliberty and Joan Barnes, Friends of Soundview Park
At first, Lucy Aponte was told that there was nothing she could do about the neglected waterfront park in her neighborhood. But in 2007, she gathered together a group of local musicians, singers, dancers, and poets to hold the first Make Music NY concert, just outside Soundview Park. By 2010, she organized the first Annual Summer Art and Music Festival within the park. Since then, Friends of Soundview Park has grown into a community volunteer-based organization that hosts cultural programming, fitness programs, family activities, park clean ups, and beautification projects, while continuing their annual art and music festival every summer. Through their free programs and beautification projects, the organization ultimately seeks to engage, educate, and inspire everyone in the Soundview Park community.
Brooklyn: Bruce McDonald and Glenn Kelly, Friends of Carroll Park
Originally founded in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn under the name “Committee to Improve Carroll Park” in 1975, the group now known as Friends of Carroll Park has been taking care of their neighborhood green space for more than four decades. Though the members have changed over the years, their mission has remained the same: to make the park and surrounding neighborhood a better place for everyone. Friends of Carroll Park is a small, highly motivated group of volunteers who dedicate their time to the gardening and maintenance of Carroll Park, so much so that many of them are known by neighbors as “the Carroll Park guy/gal.” In addition to the beautification projects, they also host free community events to further engage people in their local park and to help bring together neighbors, local business, and elected officials for social and cultural celebrations.
Manhattan: Marie Littlejohn and Jeanette Boyd, The Friends of the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard Malls
Seeing the great need for maintenance and care for the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard Malls, Jeanette Boyd engaged the community in daffodil plantings at the Malls for the first time in 1997. This ultimately led to the creation of The Friends of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard Malls and the area has flourished ever since. The Friends partner with many other local organizations to engage the community in beautifying and maintaining the malls, from plantings that lead to blooming flowers in the spring, to Christmas tree lightings in the winter. Not only does the Friends’ work beautify the 42 block stretch of the Malls, but it provides opportunities for residents to engage and invest in their community.
Queens: Martha Lopez-Gilpin and Joe Vella, Astoria Park Alliance
Martha Lopez-Gilpin first began going to Astoria Park with her dog, and quickly realized something had to be done about the extensive food waste on the ground. After a cleanup effort, she and Jules Corkery joined together and created the Astoria Park Alliance. After 10 years, the Alliance has grown tremendously, becoming an official nonprofit organization and expanding the stewardship of Astoria Park, remaining dedicated to ensure the conservation and sustainability of Astoria Park for all New Yorkers by empowering public partnerships. Currently, the Alliance is seeking to increase resources needed to address maintenance and operations shortfalls and ensure that every day users have a voice in the operation, diverse programming, conservation, and sustainability of Astoria Park.
Staten Island: Frizzi Lilian Linck and Sarah Pollack, P.S. 59 The Harbor View School PTA, The Harbor Learning Garden/Green Thumb Committee
When Frizzi Linck’s daughter first began attending PS59 The Harborview School in the fall of 2015, she noticed that much of the school grounds and garden had fallen into disrepair. Determined to make a change, she joined the PTA and founded the Green Thumb Committee. The Committee aims to engage children in growing their own vegetables and open space stewardship at a young age, teaching them to love, respect, and care for public spaces in their neighborhood. The Green Thumb Committee and students first began planting donated bulbs from the neighborhood and other parents, which first bloomed in the spring of 2016. After the success of the first spring, through fundraising, plant donations, and additional free bulbs from NY4P, the committee and many volunteer parents were able to create a child-friendly, raised bed vegetable garden and continue to improve the school’s flower beds for planting and learning opportunities. Through these initiatives, the Green Thumb Committee hopes to teach the students about the importance of caring for the public spaces in their communities.