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Alfred E. Smith Playground

The Daily Plant : Thursday, April 15, 2004

PARKS & RECREATION APPLAUDS SIX OUTSTANDING PARKIES

On Monday, April 12, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe hosted a breakfast honoring March’s six "Employees of the Month." Their accomplishments are described below.

Kelli J. Curry was the Commissioner’s Employee of the Month. Kelli is the AfterSchool Coordinator at Jackie Robinson Recreation Center in Manhattan and has been with Parks & Recreation since October 17, 2001. Kelli began her Parks career teaching a class in literacy and creative writing at Jackie Robinson. She quickly worked her way up to coordinating the entire AfterSchool program. Kelli has developed a strong rapport with the children, especially the ones needing extra motivation. She has engaged her participants with fun activities, such as building two thriving community gardens from the ground up and filming a cooking show that demonstrates recipes using vegetables from the gardens. Kelli has taught hundreds of children English skills as well as life lessons. Through her work, she has helped children at Jackie Robinson overcome challenges with creativity and persistence. She is also a capable and positive representative for Parks in her work with Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Executive Council, which funds AfterSchool programs. For running an outstanding and prominent program, Kelli was nominated by Deputy Commissioner for Public Programs Kevin Jeffrey.

Carmen Colon was the Capital Projects Employee of the Month. Carmen works with the Systems & Analysis Team and has been with Parks & Recreation since July 1, 1994. She administers the Capital division’s citywide project tracking system, a vital tool for monitoring the status of hundreds of capital projects and millions of dollars. Focused on customer service, Carmen responds to myriad requests for information and updates each day and keeps the flow of information and progress going. She went the extra mile recently when a co-worker fell ill, doing the work of two people to avoid a backlog. Committed and dependable, Carmen was nominated by Deputy Commissioner for Capital Projects Amy Freitag and Assistant Commissioner for Capital Projects Nancy Barthold.

Chris Chapman was the Management Employee of the Month. Chris is an Analyst with the Central Work Experience Program (WEP) and has been with Parks & Recreation since September 17, 2002. A graduate of NYU’s Stern School, Chris worked as a volunteer at St. Mary’s Recreation Center for two years before joining Parks full-time. Chris handles the daily operations of WEP citywide in addition to job development and purchasing for WEP and the Parks Opportunity Program. He has led the effort to recognize WEP employees by organizing Participant of the Month programs and arranging this year’s holiday party and toy drive, which collected toys for over 500 children. Chris also oversees the care of workfare vans and handles the ordering and distribution for WEP clothing. Chris has quickly emerged as a major contributor to the workfare programs – including the Parks Career Training Program, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this month and has helped place over 4,000 people in steady jobs. Intelligent and driven, Chris was nominated by Chief of the Parks Opportunity Program Jill Weber.

Stephen Gomez was an Operations Employee of the Month. Stephen is a Maintenance Worker in the Brooklyn Shops and has been with Parks & Recreation since September 20, 1996. Stephen is responsible for the repair and maintenance of all boilers, radiators, heating units, chimneys, ventilation ducts, and A/C units in the borough. His skills range from starting single fire boilers in park houses to fixing the intricate, computer-board controlled circuits in the dehumidifiers of indoor pools. Stephen has helped keep Wollman and Abe Stark Skating Rinks functional despite their advancing ages. This winter, he often worked late into the night to repair leaks so that the rinks could open for the holidays. Stephen is an excellent hands-on worker who is willing to take on tough challenges and conditions. For his dedication and skill, Stephen was nominated by Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Julius Spiegel.

Mahanth S. Joishy was an Operations Employee of the Month. Mahanth began with Parks & Recreation on July 20, 2001 and is now the Citywide Operations Analyst. Mahanth helps coordinate citywide fleet operations. He prepares fleet analyses in areas such as special events and the Urban Park Services, readies charts for Parkstat+, and addresses countless repair and accident issues. Mahanth helped spearhead a number of major agency initiatives, including the creation of the first Field Operations Book and the implementation of the field training initiative. Mahanth also organized last year’s Best of Parks awards at the United States Tennis Association and is now focusing on the Enabling the Workforce efforts, which stemmed from the Operations retreat with the Centre for Innovative Leadership. From field to fleet operations, Mahanth is playing an important and growing role. And, of course, Mahanth grills some mean omelettes each month at the Employee of the Month ceremony. He was nominated by Chief of Operations Keith T. Kerman and Deputy Chief Dan Froehlich.

Rosemary M. Tavarez was Public Programs’ Employee of the Month. Rosemary is the Center Manager of Alfred E. Smith Recreation Center in Manhattan and has been with Parks & Recreation since April 15, 1996. Rosemary oversees a staff of 10 full-time employees and additional consultants, volunteers, and interns. With her fundraising and organizing efforts, Rosemary ensures that Al Smith’s recreation programs thrive. She secured a City Parks Foundation grant last year for a marching band. She spearheaded a citywide talent show, AfterSchool programs, and job fairs that have attracted over 5,000 people, placing many of them in employment. Rosemary also helped initiate groups such as the Cub Scouts and Rising Stars cheerleaders. Al Smith has improved since she took over in 1998 with gains in membership, revenue, and attendance, and high ratings in the last two inspections. Enthusiastic and hard-working, Rosemary was nominated by Chief of Recreation Chris Clouden.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY!

"In this world nothing is certain
but death and taxes."

Benjamin Franklin
Letter to M. Leroy, 1789

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