As part of our ongoing community engagement initiative, we are always looking for new ways to involve our closest neighbors.
This past week, we piloted a new program we call Green Corps, offering a paid alternative spring break to 10 local teens who spent a week getting hands-on experience with our gardeners and learning more about green jobs.
“Green Corps was a good experience,” Javier Montero, 17, noted after participating in the week-long project. “I think it is important to do because [the High Line] is a place for many people to come and they come from many different places. [Now] I have got a taste of how it is to be a gardener.”
See photos and read quotes from our exciting first Green Corps crew after the jump.
Friends of the High Line is committed to the community that helped make saving and transforming the High Line possible. Through dialogue and partnerships, we continue to explore ways that we can build a vibrant community around the High Line and be a good resource to our neighbors.
From April 9 – 13, ten local teens were recruited for paid positions that gave them hands-on experience working in the planting beds with our gardeners and the opportunity to hear from professionals working in green jobs. The teens spent 4 hours a day helping prune trees, weed, and tend to the plants with guidance and training from High Line Gardeners. Each day, they also received a presentation from on-High Line staff or outside professionals who spoke about their own skills, education, and professional path that brought them to working in a green job.
The High Line Green Corps was developed in response to requests from residents in the local neighborhood. Last summer, Friends of the High Line surveyed residents in the Robert Fulton and Elliot-Chelsea Houses, two New York City Housing Authority buildings located within a block of the park, as part of a community engagement initiative made possible by the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Many people expressed interest in job training, gardening opportunities, and teen-centered programs. One of the ways we looked to get teens more involved in the park was through piloting the Green Corps program. We received over 60 applications for just ten spots.
Of the final group of 10 teens who participated in our first Green Corps were three teens who have forged a strong relationship with the High Line over the past year. Carla Hernandez, Jamie Villafane, and Gabby Bruno joined Friends of the High Line’s initial community surveying efforts last summer and have since become integral in our community engagement. They have helped us spread the word about upcoming programs by putting up flyers in the neighborhood, and will even be working with other local teens, including some from Green Corps, to curate a series of film screenings in the park this summer.
Below are some of our favorite photos from the week.
“Thanks for this opportunity. I really learned a lot and enjoyed the experience up at the High Line. I really love what you guys do for the community. So thank you.” – Liza Rosado, 19
Have ideas about how we can further engage the community? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community engagement work at the High Line is made possible by support from the Nathan Cummings Foundation.