The Bronx is Blooming’s Program for Leaders Advancing their Community's Environment (PLACE) empowers Bronx high school and college students to mentor their communities in the preservation and revitalization of local parks. This engenders long-term stewardship and appreciation of local parks and environments.
Our fundraiser supports our summer and fall PLACE program at Crotona, St. Mary’s and Claremont parks. Each summer park group consists of 6-8 high school students and one college mentor – who work through a 6-week intensive program, while our fall PLACE leaders support our monthly weekend community parks events, high school service events, and other community partnerships.
Between 2013-2016, our summer PLACE programs provided: 118 seasonal jobs; 2-3 yearly college visits; and workshops with local environmental and community leaders. Under the guidance of our PLACE Bronx high school and college leaders, thousands of community residents cared for their parks.
PLACE addresses key issues in the Bronx related to green space and fighting disease through the following: 1) enhancing green space through park restoration and revitalization, 2) fighting obesity by increasing park access and directly encouraging physical activity, and 3) combatting asthma through the stewardship of park and street trees.
We focus on these problems through direct action – working with communities to restore local parks and their habitat – and through education – teaching our PLACE leaders about these harms so they can teach volunteers and community members about the value of our work.
PLACE has three stages: First, college mentors are trained in horticultural and project management skills to successfully mentor a group of high school students. Second, our program trains high school students to be project leaders. They work diligently; learning tree stewardship, invasive species removal and native restoration from their mentors and our partnering environmental organizations. Finally, our students lead groups ranging from 10 to 250 volunteers, in restoration projects that change their neighborhood parks.
PLACE, trains our college and high school leaders to learn with intent, as they then teach everything they learned to others. This builds investment in understanding concepts and self- esteem as PLACE leaders successfully relay knowledge and take on leadership roles in their communities. It also allows our participants to empower Bronx residents, as they become caretakers of their parks.
why we're doing it
While the Bronx is 24% parkland, more than any other borough, much is consolidated in some large parks on the periphery of the borough, which are harder to access for many Bronx residents. With a focus on smaller neighborhood parks, The Bronx is Blooming’s PLACE projects create more opportunities for communities to spend time in nature, including coming out to help revitalize their neighborhood park.
The Bronx has the city’s highest rate of obesity, with residents facing an estimated 85 percent higher risk of being obese than people in Manhattan. One in four children in the South Bronx is overweight or obese. Our projects not only help community residents to take direct action in their parks – as the stewards of young trees, the combatants of water pollution (through helping our open space absorb more rain water) and the planters of new native gardens - but by beautifying and increasing exposure to neighborhood green space, we encourage regular park usage and physical activity.
Air pollution is an exacerbating factor for asthma, a critical and urgent issue in the Bronx, a borough with the highest asthma rates in the state, 43.5 deaths per million residents in the Bronx, compared with the state average of 13.1 deaths per million (New York Environmental Report). Our work in community-driven horticulture is particularly suited to reducing air pollution, as many small steps (new plantings, park and street tree stewardship) can significantly enhance a community’s air quality. A mature tree absorbs more than 48 pounds of carbon monoxide each year and gives off oxygen (ArborDay). Through the stewardship of 1000 trees each year, 1600 PLACE volunteers contribute to a denser, healthier canopy in our parks and on our streets for generations to come. As our members protect, mulch and prune our trees, they learn that these trees give back, by filtering pollutants, lowering summer temperatures and breathing life into their communities.
PLACE offers multiple opportunities for each community to join our students as environmental stewards revitalizing parks. We offer weekend community events, school service day partnerships, company team-building days, and University programming to connect students from different local colleges to one another and our work. Our work promotes an ethic of shared responsibility, spreading the message of how each community member can create change in their own environments, backyards, and tree-pits, and have fun while they are achieving these results.
The budget helps support our staffing for our summer and fall PLACE programs. This includes, funds for the program direction, coordination and the mentoring and training of our students and leaders.
Summer Mentor - $2800 - 1 mentor at a stipend of $350 a week for 8 weeks
Fall mentors - $3000 - 3 mentors at a stipend of $250 a month for 4 months
Staff Training and event planning and management - $500 - This supports the Program Director, Coordinator and Assistants - who help with the overall management of the program - during both the summer and and the fall programming.
|ioby Platform Fee||$35|
|ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)||$240|
|TOTAL TO RAISE =||$8,275|
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