By Selene Javier, City Cleanup Corps (NYC CCC)

Everyone’s dream job is doing something they like and that gives them a little bit of freedom to achieve their goals. With this work at New Settlement, I have been able to connect my personal life with my Job, which is so important! This work is familiar to me. Here is how my job and home connect:

Since the pandemic began my interest for planting also started. Luckily for me, my mom likes plants too, so we began what would be our hobby during the whole shutdown.

With a little bit of space at home, some pots and… sure, some Home Depot stores open, we did our best and planted tomatoes, peppers, sunflowers, mint, cilantro, strawberries and a few different kinds of flowers. Even though that year not everything went as we wished (for the pandemic and also with the plants), we tried again this year. Now feeling more experienced, we planted more sunflowers, cilantro, spinach and tomatoes.

This summer, I’m working in the garden maintenance of the New Settlement Community Center’s Rooftop Garden. And I have learned so much since I first started in late June. I’ve seen so many things grow. From cucumbers, tomatoes to cantaloupes, eggplants, zucchini, to even carrots and watermelons. It is so exciting how many things we can grow in our community just if we have the persistence and patience to do it. Mondays when I come in I love to go see the garden and see what has grown and what is ready to harvest.

Finally, as with everything, it’s not always easy. We’ve had pests and climate change that sometimes can be helpful for one plant but dangerous to others. I have learned so many things that will stay with me and that I would like to try in my own garden someday. Especially that everything needs a balance!