Kaiser Park volunteers graduate from fellowship program
Partnerships for Parks praises their work in Coney Island
Four volunteers who worked to make Kaiser Park a bright spot for families in Coney Island were rewarded for their efforts by the organization Partnerships for Parks, which praised their efforts at a recent ceremony.
Andrea Clinton, Pamela Pettyjohn and Richard Howard from the Coney Island Beautification Project at Kaiser Park and Kaye Dupont of “I Believe in Me,” also at Kaiser Park, were among the 2016 graduating class in the Partnerships for Parks Academy Fellowship program.
The graduation ceremony took place at Gran Morsi restaurant in lower Manhattan.
Founded in 1995, Partnerships for Parks is a joint program of the City Parks Foundation and the city that supports a network of community leaders to take care of and advocate for their neighborhood parks.
City Parks Foundation Executive Director Heather Lubov and New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver were on hand to present certificates to the graduates.
The Partnerships Academy Fellowship is a free, six-month training program that supports community-based groups and individual volunteers through workshops with guest speakers as well as one-on-one consulting sessions. The program is geared toward community parks groups committed to getting to the next level of their development or are working on a specific project.
Fellowship participants create a timeline for their initiative and are paired with other groups in the program to form mentorship triads.
This year, 22 groups from around the city participated in the program. The participants learned, among other things: the ins-and-outs of the city’s permit process, how to work with elected officials, how fiscal sponsorships operate and how to achieve 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service. With this knowledge in hand, the participants worked to recruit new volunteers for their groups, identified local businesses to sponsor community festivals and planned park cleanups and events.
Clinton, Pettyjohn and Howard held their first children’s gardening workshop in Kaiser Park on Neptune Avenue and engaged community volunteers in the park two days a week. Dupont hosted her first community workshop.
Other Brooklyn graduates included Theodore Lawson and Charles Allen of Old Timers Inc. at Jesse Owens Playground who used what they learned in the Fellowship to obtain 501(c)(3) status for their group, elect officers, bring on board members and hold their first ever book bag drive in the park. Roberta Sutton of Friends of Irving Square Park successfully campaigned for a dog run, started a group newsletter and hosted community events. Rev. Robert Ennis Jackson and DeVanie Jackson from Brooklyn Rescue Mission Urban Harvest at Jackie Robinson Park increased the size of their group, created a website and received their first grant as a park group.
The Fellowship graduates also included Konstancja Maleszynska of the McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance, Maria Garrett of the Fresh Creek Nature Association and Gregory Ingram of No Kids Left Behind at Cypress Hills Park.
The program is supported by the Parks Equity Initiative of the City Council.
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