Monday, June 11, 2012

G.I.V.E.'S Love Your Block Fathers Day Clean up and Community BBQ

Come and get your hands dirty with us as we clean our block, mulch and water the trees, plant some flowers, install a "dogipot" and acknowledge fathers and outstanding mothers this Father's day with a community bbq! Free face painting and giveaways!

G.I.V.E.'s work is being highlighted this year by Citizens Committee of New York City. The mayor's office will send out a representative to our event, as well as local media, to record the efforts being made in the Bronx for a cleaner, greener borough with strong community bonds!

Come out and represent the Bronx this Father's day from 12 - 4pm at Newbold and Virginia Ave, one block from the IRT #6 Parkchester train station.

Only TOGETHER we can transform the Boogie Down!

To get involved, donate or help sponsor this event, email us at or 347 992 2860.

Hope to see you there!

Nilka, Andre and Christine!

    • Sunday, June 17, 2012
    • 12:00pm until 4:00pm

  • Newbold Avenue and Virginia Avenue, Bronx, NY 10472

Monday, December 5, 2011

G.I.V.E.INC Exclusive updates.

 January, 2012  we became incorporated around 2:30pm papers were sent out to the Secretary of State of New York, we also have a tax ID from the IRS. Let the fun begin.

 December, 2011  we were informed that we received a grant from citizens committee, this grant will go towards new soil, and a few touch ups here and there also a dogie poop drop off with plastic bags and it will all end with a huge block party. STAY TUNED TO THIS BLOG for further information.

May, 2012 We were informed that we had received a grant from MILLION TREES NYC, this grant will go to lots of awesome projects in the garden.

June,2012 We were awarded a gift card from Home Depot head quarters in Atlanta GA.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bronx Ink Visits G.I.V.E.

Turning unemployment into time well spent

Nilka Martell has transformed her street since she lost her job last December. [HAZEL SHEFFIELD/The Bronx Ink]

     It was a burning hot October afternoon in the Bronx when a small crowd of neighborhood kids gathered to watch a fallen tree airlifted into a truck by government workers. While the children stared, one local resident rushed forward to ask the workers if she could take wood chips to fill the tree pits and flowerbeds in the street.
“They said we can call whenever we need mulch!” said Nilka Martell, a mother of three. “That stuff costs hundreds of dollars to buy from the store.”
Martell would know. She has transformed Virginia Avenue in Parkchester since losing her paralegal job last December. After a long, cold winter unemployed and on benefits, Martell started volunteering for Department of Parks in April before gathering the courage to embark on a beautification project on her own street.
“You get so discouraged when you’re unemployed,” said Martell. “A friend and I got involved in volunteering so we don’t sit at home and go crazy, and at the same time we’re helping the neighborhood.”
Martell is one of an increasing number of New Yorkers keeping busy with volunteering as unemployment continues to stay high. Though New York falls far behind the national rate for volunteers, survey data compiled by government agency Volunteering In America shows that there was a climb in the number of people offering their time for free last year, from 16.4 percent in 2009 to 18.5 percent in 2010. That increase means an extra 300,000 people volunteering in New York, bringing the total number of volunteers to 2.8 million.
Statistics from Volunteering In America show that when unemployment hit 9.3 percent in 2010, 18.5 percent of the population took part in volunteer work. This is up from 2007, when the recession was officially declared. That year, 5.2 percent of New Yorkers were unemployed and only 14.7 percent volunteered.
Martell worked for a paralegal firm for 19 years before she lost her job. “I just figured I’d find another job quickly,” she said. “I’ve never had a problem finding a job.” As a single mother with two teenage children at home, it was a stretch to care for her family on savings and benefits and Martell had plenty of time sitting around at home to worry about the bills. After sending out resumes all winter, she starting to look at other ways to fill her time.
Though Martell was originally looking for legal work to help her get back into employment, she kept stumbling on online ads asking for volunteers with Department of Parks. Eventually, she signed up.
Soon Martell and her children Isaias, 13, and Lia Lynn, 15, were volunteering in parks all over the Bronx every weekend. Martell started looking for something to do closer to home. “I’ve lived in Virginia Avenue for 36 years and it’s always been such an eyesore,” Martell said. “There have always been high weeds, garbage and dog waste.”
“I thought, why not do something right here?” Martell said. “That way if I get bored I don’t have to wait until there’s an event.” She asked the owners of the C-town supermarket across the street if she could start caring for the flower beds behind their parking lot. Without any public funding, Martell and her friends were extremely resourceful, buying cut-price plants, saving dead bulbs and improvising border fencing from bits of scrap wood.
In just a few months, Mexican sunflowers started spilling into the street and bees appeared. Some residents even began clipping the big green leaves of the elephant ear plants to plant in their own gardens. Now, when Martell goes outside to work on the beds she is often joined by children from around block. Some of the kids are still learning English after moving from the Dominican Republic, but they are all keen to help water the flowers and plant new bulbs.
“This is a neighborhood where there are so many different cultures, but because of this project these kids have come together,” Martell said.
Though Martell is still sending out her resume for work, she’s now considering taking her beautification project elsewhere in the Bronx, helping other local residents transform their streets and invest in their communities.
“I didn’t think this was going to become this big,” she said with a smile. “If I hadn’t been laid off at this point in my life, there is no way I would be doing volunteer work.”

News12 The Bronx visits the garden.

    Heading out to the garden today! Anyone around that can talk to us about the effort? We will be there around 7 AM. If so shoot us an e-mail with a contact phone number at or just come on over if you see us out there!, this was one the most surprising messages G.I.V.E. had gotten since we started working on the garden. 

Unemployed Bronx woman helps community blossom

Creation of G.I.V.E

         After being laid off in the Winter, 2010, and inspired by doing volunteer work, we decided to start a block beautification project in our own neighborhood. It began with a vision, and flourished into the unimaginable: children and neighbors of different cultures gathering in an effort to clean up and maintain our neighborhood.
Very special thank you to an awesome team:

Andre Rivera
Eileen Bonilla
Christine Ortega
Katie Mitchell
Jaclyn Machicote
Margaret Ayala
Michelle Colon
Manny Perez
Christopher Santiago

If you have any questions or want to lend a hand or make a donation to the garden please email us at