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Bronx Park

The Daily Plant : Friday, January 11, 2002


Photo by Meredith (Nestling) Freimer

The holiday spirit has been as strong as ever this winter at Parks. In December, the Work Experience Program (WEP) held its 3rd Annual Gift Drive for the children of WEP participants. Of the 1,400 WEP participants working in parks and recreation centers throughout the city, many have young children. The Annual Gift Drive allows Parks to show its appreciation for these dedicated participants whose efforts have helped New York City’s parks reach their highest levels of cleanliness in three decades.

And appreciation was shown. Breaking past records, the drive collected nearly 1,800 toys and games for the children of more than 800 WEP workers. WEP Analysts Meredith (Nestling) Freimer and Jessica (Gamelan) Schwartz coordinated this year’s drive, with tremendous assistance from the central and borough WEP offices.

Exercising holiday generosity, more than 200 Parkies responded to central WEP’s call for gift donations. Each volunteer was then matched with an individual child’s gift request. In addition, many more Parkies stopped by the central and borough WEP offices to drop off extra gifts they had purchased during their holiday shopping.

Corporate and nonprofit group donors contributed record numbers of toys this year. Marketing and Special Events successfully recruited Toys ‘R’ Us and Kids in Distressed Situations (KIDS) to supply 450 and 250 toys, respectively. Kathy (KitKat) Walker, Assistant WEP Coordinator for the Bronx, secured additional toy donations from NBC, as well as other groups.

Wrapping such a bounty of toys was no easy challenge, but Parks employees lent their helping hands. Dozens of Parkies showed up for wrapping events held at the Arsenal and Litchfield Villa. Armed with wrapping paper, scissors, and tape, these expeditious volunteers wrapped nearly 1,800 gifts in just under three hours.

Finally, it was time for the parties. WEP participants arrived at holiday parties held in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. Participants picked up gifts and celebrated the holidays with Borough Chiefs of Operations, WEP Coordinators, and Crew Chiefs. In Manhattan and Queens, presents were given out to WEP participants in the field. Thanks to everyone at Parks who helped make the Gift Drive such a success!

Prepared by Jessica (Gamelan) Schwartz


(Friday, January 27, 1989)


When the bell signals the end of the school day at Lehman High School in the Bronx. Chrystal Kitchings heads straight to the park. But unlike most of her classmates, she goes there to work - not play.

The ninth-grader, who works at the Bronx Parks headquarters is one of 200 school students hired by Parks to work at park and playgrounds citywide during the academic year through the Board of Education’s After-School Career Training (ACT) program.


"As I have grown older, I have found more and more to admire in trees - So fascinated am I by their qualities that I have made it a ritual to paint a watercolor of a tree every weekend for a number of years - Each painting is like a prayer in which I celebrate
the remarkable gracefulness of the sturdy trunks, the twisting and turning branches, and the changing foliage in spring, summer, and fall."

David Finn (b. 1921), How To Look At Everything

Directions to Bronx Park

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