A few months ago, I reached out and asked for help volunteering to help clean up NYC Parks. This past Saturday, the folks who signed up made good on their promise. It was a gorgeous day and a ton of fun. We had about 15 people show up including Debby from The Pursuit of Riches and Shannon from Financially Blonde (who dragged her husband along – what a good sport!).
I worked with an organization called Partnership for Parks who were amazing at helping me coordinate a volunteer opportunity. We landed on cleaning a park in East Harlem called “Art Park”.
We were given the task of raking leaves, picking up trash and sweeping where it was needed. When we arrived at the park, I have to admit, I was a little worried. It seemed so small and we had a whole crew of energetic people! I thought we might finish in 10 minutes. Soon, I realized that the layer of leaves on the ground was DENSE. We raked and raked and after the few short hours we had promised our time, we had filled 43 HUGE garbage bags with leaves and trash.
What were some of the most interesting trash items that we uncovered? I thought you’d never ask:
- Lots of chip bags and plastic bags
- Cold/sinus medicine
- Hypodermic needle
- Old gloves (from previous park cleaning crews?)
- Scooter tire
- Empty bottle of 1800 tequila
- One lonely sneaker
- A broken bowl
Good thing we had gloves! And now, all those crazy/gross/weird items are no longer littering the park. We all felt pretty good about ourselves afterwards, so a few of us rewarded ourselves by grabbing a beer.
When people think of volunteering, many view it as a sacrifice. Today at least, we got to hang out with great people, get outside on a beautiful day, had the gratification of leaving the park in better shape than we found it, and got the blood flowing a little bit. I can’t think of a single sacrifice. Volunteering actually created an opportunity to have fun! I’ll leave you with a few more pictures from Saturday.
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