AmeriCorps volunteers help with Vernon Park cleanup in Germantown

Friends of Vernon Park teamed up with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps for its most recent effort to maintain the green space’s landscape.

Last Wednesday, members of both groups pulled weeds, raked leaves, cleaned gutters and picked up trash around the park.

Vernon Park has been a work in progress over the years as there was a noticeable decline in upkeep. That prompted Friends of Vernon Park to launch weekly cleanups.

As such, Wednesday was the latest installment in a tireless effort through which dried-up dirt patches have been turned into budding flowerbeds and a rain garden was installed to help prevent the sewer systems from overflowing and polluting the waterways.

“Despite low funding, the city has been really responsive to parks lately,” said Sue Finch, Friends secretary. “We are coming along.”

How this came to be

Last year, Friends of Vernon Park worked with the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department, and that collaboration led to the partnership with AmeriCorps.

“They have a lot to offer us and you really need to have younger people help out,” Finch said.

AmeriCorps NCCC team leader Davey Parziale has seen firsthand how the organization benefits from the experience of this partnership.

“A lot of the reason why [members] are still in the program is because of their dedication to service and the community work that were doing,” Parziale said. “It’s a growing experience.”

In addition to the cleanup of the park, Friends of Vernon Park plans to sell flowers in the future to raise money for the organization.

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Monet Tucker and Shanise Redmon are students at Temple University. Philadelphia Neighborhoods, a NewsWorks content partner, is an initiative of the Temple Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.

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