Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Conservancy wouldn’t be the same without the hundreds of volunteers who lend a hand each year. In 2019, over 800 volunteers completed more than 3,500 community service hours in the Park. In celebration of International Volunteer Day, we are highlighting one program that has made a major contribution — Park Peers.
Park Peers is an opportunity for volunteers with disabilities to lend a hand for six weeks. Participants help with maintenance and horticulture tasks, while meeting new people, and learning hands-on professional skills. Offered twice annually, we partner with multiple service organizations to connect us with dedicated participants each year.
Since the program’s inception, Park Peers has had a significant impact on the Park. Over four years and 45 sessions, its participants supported custodial staff and Park gardeners with a variety of important tasks. This year, volunteers removed trash from the Park’s shoreline and pathways; weeded tree beds on Pier 3 in the spring; and removed fallen leaves from the Pier 1 lawns for composting and mulching in the fall.
In 2019, Park Peers also expanded to support our Education and Programming teams with new projects. This was an enormous help in preparation for the summer and fall seasons. In the spring, volunteers cleaned, inventoried, and organized the Conservancy’s Mobile Info Cart and Info Boxes with materials for the season ahead. In the fall, volunteers assisted our Environmental Education Center staff by preparing crafts and materials for Open Hours visitors.
Each year, we welcome new participants to the program, while welcoming back individuals who have worked with us from the start. These returning participants have become strong advocates for Park Peers. They often recruit new volunteers and assist staff by showing new volunteers how to successfully complete tasks. Volunteers who return to the Park have a sense of ownership and are eager to return with their friends and families to show the work they have accomplished. It’s a valuable opportunity for individuals with disabilities to get involved in the Conservancy’s programming, while getting to experience the Park in a new way.
We look forward to what the fifth year has in store. Thank you to all of our Park Peers who made 2019 a special season!
*Space for 2020 is limited, and any interested organizations must contact the Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org in advance to see if space is available.