28th Annual Volunteer Brunch
On March 6, the Prospect Park Alliance honored its volunteer corps for their service during the 2015 season at its 28th Annual Recognition Brunch. Here Alliance President Sue Donoghue thanks volunteers for their service. Last year, more than 4,000 volunteers contributed nearly 25,000 hours to improve Prospect Park. Meet some of our most dedicated volunteers, sign up today for the 2016 season.
When her daughter began working at the Prospect Park Zoo, Janet Philips included a daily walk through Prospect Park into her routine. These respites through the Park laid the groundwork for a decade of devoted volunteering in Prospect Park. “One day, when we were walking back through the Ravine, there were people from the Park tabling down there, handing out information about volunteering,” recalls Janet, “and I thought to myself, this could be a nice thing to do once the kids leave the house.”
Janet attributes good company and good scenery, among other reasons, for why she’s continued giving her time and energy to volunteer efforts like the Thursday Corps and Saturday Woodland Corps. “It’s great to visit areas of the Park I might not ordinarily get the chance to see,” adds Janet. But her favorite part of volunteering is being a part of a team. “There are times when we start a project, and I think oh my gosh there’s no way we can finish this, but everyone chips in together and it gets done.”
NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and Alliance President Sue Donoghue present Janet the Mary Cregg Award (250 hours of service in 2015) and the Administrators’ Award (500+ lifetime hours).
After Tim McKinney retired from the FDNY in 2003, he knew he’d need something new to occupy his time. “I enjoy physical work and wanted some structure to my days,” he says, “so a phone call to the Prospect Park Alliance brought me to a volunteer orientation, and rest is history!”
Tim, the East Side Revival Volunteer Leader, considers the great people he has met through volunteering the best part of the experience, and he has had a lot of experience, having logged over 2,500 hours of service in the Park! Tim is one of the Park's biggest fans. “I love visiting when there are events, my favorite being the New York Classical Theatre’s Shakespeare performances in the Park.” Tim’s experiences with volunteering at Prospect Park have clearly been positive ones, as his only advice for prospective volunteers? “Try it out!”
NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and Alliance President Sue Donoghue present Tim with the Alan Thompson Award (2,500 lifetime hours of service).
George Rodriguez, recipient of a Mary Cregg Award (250 hours of service in 2015), happened across a Prospect Park Alliance volunteer recruitment table in the Park one day in 2014, and impulsively signed up. “I love the Park, and thought, why not!” George recalls animatedly. Having recently left his job at a major bank in favor of a more flexible freelancing arrangement, “I had all the time in the world, so I dove in."
“I fell in love with the group,” George says, “it’s just a cool bunch of people; they kvetch, but they love it!” As a volunteer leader, George spreads his enthusiasm to newcomers and organizations who want to give back to their community, even in less than ideal conditions. He recalls a summer storm which began after a long, hot day of volunteering, “we were exhausted, and we’d finished the job we set out to do that day, but when we were walking out of the Park to head home, some of us saw some trash on the walkway and started picking it up in the downpour.”