It was a bright and brisk day when volunteers in the Norwood section of the Bronx hosted a Halloween festival for neighborhood children today at Whalen Park. The nearby Mosholu Library hosted a storytelling event inside the park, while other children rushed the arts and crafts table so they could design their own paper pumpkins. Local celebrity Mix Master Rob manned the DJ booth for a few games of musical chairs and kept the crowd of parents laughing.
What was most significant about today's event was how the community came out to support creating a safe space for their children in an oft-to-neglected park. Today saw more kids at Whalen Park then in the last four years combined. Whalen Park does not have a playground, it was designed as a passive space adjacent to the library to create a quiet zone. However, the park has had its share of problems over the years which have made it less than inviting.
But rather than allow these issues to continue to further stifle the use of the park and bring down the community, a handful of residents volunteered to do something about their situation and transform their neighborhood. Using social media as a way to get the word out and to solicit donations, these volunteers were able to put together this event in a short period of time and with little resources in order to bring nearly a hundred children to have a good time at Whalen Park.
Speaking with some of the organizers towards the end of the event, they expressed relief that their efforts were not in vain, but also hoped that more people will step up to help the next time around. And they're right. You can't sit back and expect change to happen in your neighborhood, waiting for others to do address the issues.
There are thousands of people who do give of their time throughout the Bronx, but countless more our needed to truly transform the Bronx. We hope you're up for the challenge. For more pics of today's event, check out our Facebook Page.