By Naeisha Rose
Friends of Brookville Park, a volunteer parks organization, was honored last week at the fifth annual It’s My Park reception in Manhattan by Partnerships for Parks for its 10 years of service, as well as its engaging family and community events.
The Queens organization was among seven honorees and received the Trowel Award, one of the top honors of the night, for participating in the It’s My Park program, which hosts cleanups and events at 350 parks, pools, nature centers and skate parks across the city.
They were recognized for their “longstanding community presence” and as “the volunteer caretakers of a 90-acre park in southeast Queens,” said Kangela Moore, the founder of the group.
The seven honorees were selected out of a possible 460 parks organization and 25,500 volunteers, according to Partnerships for Parks.
“The award ceremony was great,” Moore said. “I was really able to highlight the other organizations that work with Brookville Park.”
After a woman was raped at the park in 2000, Moore decided to do something to help make it a safer place for the community, and partnered with members of Partnerships for Parks, St. Mary’s Hospital for Children, New York Coalition of Transportation Safety, NYPD School Safety Division, Fire Engine Company 314 and local officials.
“For me it was creating that space where people understand — OK, what can we do here?” said Moore. “The work that we were able to do by partnering with other organizations… it created these relationships and has helped our organization thrive.”
With those partnerships, Friends of Brookville Park has managed to keep the park safe and host bike rides, readings, arts & crafts, book giveaways and tree lightings.
The organization participated in It’s My Park programs by giving away 1,000 car seats, donating helmets and bike locks during a bike safety seminar and much more.
Friends of Brookville will kick off another It’s My Park Day May 5, when it will offer its second annual Learn to Ride bike event with support from transportation safety coalition officers, according to Moore.
“Last year we spoke about bike safety in regards to looking over the bike,” Moore said. “They were able to come out and fit our youth and adults for bike helmets and they gave information about bike tips and reflectors.”
On June 30, the organization will hold a celebration to honor the volunteers who help put the events together and maintain the park. There will also be a series in July and August, which will include book readings and giveaways.
The organization will have a second It’s My Park Day event in September and, in November, it will hold the first ever Brookville Park Friendsgiving event.
“We will be giving out some food to our community,” said Moore.
In December, the park will host its ninth tree lighting event.
Brookville Park is located between the neighborhoods of Rosedale and Brookville on South Conduit Avenue and 149th Avenue, between 232nd and 235th streets.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose