Friends of Hope Ballfield to be honored at reception

December 1, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Friends of Hope Ballfield group has transformed the recreation area located in Bushwick. Photo courtesy of Partnerships for Parks
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The thousands of volunteers who clean and maintain the city’s parks are a valuable asset to New York, according to the organization Partnerships for Parks, which will be handing out awards to several groups in a ceremony on Dec. 2.

Two Brooklyn-based groups, Friends of Hope Ballfield and 500 Men Making a Difference, will be among the honorees at the It’s My Park reception to take place at the Rotunda in the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House in Manhattan. The reception is designed to honor volunteers who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment to their local parks through service, advocacy and collaboration, according to a statement from Partnerships for Parks.

Across the five boroughs, 1,225 parks groups work to maintain and improve public spaces, according to Partnerships for Parks. In Brooklyn, there are 282 groups. The Golden Trowel award, which recognizes volunteers’ commitment to transforming their parks and green spaces into community assets, will be awarded to a Bushwick organization, Friends of Hope Ballfield, led Katiuska Cabral and Shy Richardson.

Friends of Hope Ballfield formed in 2013 out of the El Puente Bushwick Leadership Center. Under the leadership of Cabral and Richardson, the Friends group has created a community garden, painted picnic tables and trash cans and organized programs in the park.

The Tim Tompkins Leadership Award, presented to a community group that acts as a role model for New York City park volunteers, will be given to the group 500 Men Making a Difference, founded by Wayne Devonish. Based in Central Brooklyn, 500 Men Making a Difference began in 2010 and has renovated local homes, organized community holiday parties and anti-violence community forums and lead service projects in Herbert Von King Park in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where they’ve been involved since 2013.

Partnerships for Parks, which was founded in 1995, is a joint public-private program of New York City Parks and the City Parks Foundation. For more information, visit www.PartnershipsforParks.org.

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