A local group that cleans up parks in Sunset and Dyker continues to rise in numbers.
Parent Children Relationships (PCR) was formed in 2016 to help local parks, specifically at Leif Ericson Park and Sunset Park, while forging stronger relationships between parents and their kids.
“Our goal is having families form a connection through working together so they can give back to the community and help better the park,” said member of PCR Iris Ng. “We started it because we see the need of the community, especially the Asian community.”
PCR is supported by Partnerships for Parks, a public/private partnership between City Parks Foundation and NYC Parks.
Nicole Huang is PCR’s founder, and was inspired by a stranger to start the organization.
“One day, I was walking in Manhattan and I saw an elderly lady cleaning the park and I asked if we could help and how,” Huang said. “I said that in my community we have lots of kids. We play in the park, but it’s so dirty and we want to do something for it. She told me about City Parks Foundation.”
“The way it’s happening in families is the last ten years, a lot of parents come from Asia to the US and they work very hard and they don’t make time for the kids. It’s become a problem,” Ng added.
PCR started with very few participants, but has grown significantly, particularly in 2018 when they had around 1,730 volunteers who spent 6,151 hours planting 11,000 flowers and collecting an untold quantity of garbage.
“Every time we have the events, at least 30 people show up, sometimes 60. The most we’ve had was 120,” Ng said. “Kids want to go out. They don’t want to stay home and play with their iPads or play video games.”
Huang added that accessibility has helped with PCR’s growth.
“You don’t need to have any skill and all ages can join,” she said. “Sometimes people say they can’t do it because they don’t speak English or have any skills but cleaning the park is something you can do. It comes from your heart.”
Since the group’s growth, they’ve expanded to Sunset Park, where many senior citizens also help with the cleanup.
In March, PCR won the Golden Trowel Award for Brooklyn during the annual It’s My Park Awards. The award meant a lot to PCR, especially for what it meant for Asian American civic engagement in the community.
“Last year, we went to the awards and we saw lots of people there of different ethnicities but not Asian,” said Ng. “So we said, ‘Let’s make it happen.’ We want to be on the stage not to only be rewarded. We want to be acknowledged and recognized that we did something for the community.”
For more information, visit www.partnershipsforparks.org.