My goal is to help our children to find the things they love and the things they are good at and lead a more sustainable life style.
I constantly ask myself a question:
Why I have not given up? (Because of LOVE) - photo from Halloween 2017 at BPCP
Because every time I put away the project, a child or a parent approaches me and encourages me to continue. My heart jumps every time I receive this encouragement and the sense of contentment is enormous. It is so natural for me to approach children, engage and communicate with them, and share whatever message is important to pass along at that moment. I know I have been adding values to their lives. That’s why it has been hard for me to switch gears and walk away: the interactions with children and beliefs I have about their well-being are too strong to ignore.
“You know why I have never won a competition of climbing trees with my cousins? Because I do not have a place to practice” - This is a quote from an eleven year old gardening student telling me that story during our class, when I had to ask him NOT to climb a tree at the park. I am not exaggerating, it hurt my soul to hear this! It really broke my heart, and this is how I feel every time I try to run away from my work and abandon my promise. After that day at the park, I had to stop him from climbing and also had to explain to the other children that although climbing trees was a marvelous undertaking to do in nature (one of my own favorites, by the way), we were not allowed to do that at our park because the trees cannot handle all of the climbing from the public. It was hard to give that explanation, but I immediately came up with a dream and shared it with them. “I wish we had park with different types of trees so we could climb on them freely” - I then went on to tell them that I had a project, the Peki Project ( so far an imaginary project), and I was going to incorporate our “Tree Demand” as a part of it. Here we go, I had just set up a community dream!
Mathew, my “Tree Buddy” from gardening class, did not forget about Peki. He asked one day when I bumped into him in the neighborhood if I was working on my business plan for the Peki Project. Moreover, he told me he even came up with ideas on how to present data that could convince investors to get on board with “our” project. I felt the pressure, I felt the passion. I still do and even more so.
The other day, we celebrated fifty years of Battery Park City, a Golden Jubilee, marking half a century since the political and social inauguration of this neighborhood. Despite the beauty of the festivities with music, neighborly picnicking, toys for the kids, and general good cheer, I was, as a Battery Park City Parks Programming Leader, once again caught in one of those crucial moments where I had to take a deep breath and interrupt happy children exploring nature through the art of climbing trees. Some children simply looked at me sadly, disappointed and left the trees. One boy broke my heart. He could
not contain his tears and started telling me tree climbing was the only activity he loved to do at the park. It is difficult even in spite of official local park rules and regulations to deny a child this kind of play; so too it is hard to deny what one feels is so important to be: deeply connected with nature, especially in an urban environment. Understanding the desires of the young ones and the structures of the park, I have tried to make each child understand the need for more green spaces and how we can benefit from following along what might seem like very austere, even unfair prohibitions--like climbing trees.
The Children must enjoy and LOVE Nature to take care of it!
"The most important goal is for our children, in their everyday lives, to experience joy and wonder, sometimes in solitude. – For them to create their own nature experiences and, as they grow up, to expand the boundaries of their exploration.” - Richard Louv
Saving the Environment
Believing that our children are the seeds of our future planet and we are their role models, educating and influencing their behavior toward the issue seams to me a priority here.
Environmentalists and Educators advise us to build up opportunities to give a chance to our children to be in contact with Nature more often, as early as possible. ( For instance, simply including more nature in our lives, immediately reduces the stress created by too much e-communication.)
Despite the emotional, physical and physiological benefits of having our children in Nature, there is also a beautiful effect of becoming conscious and kind with our Planet, which flourishes naturally.
Experiencing, Loving & Caring: As per my work with kids, in order to have their commitment and strength for taking care of the environment, all they need is a chance to be exposed to Nature, to feel it, to become familiar with it and finally, to understand the necessity of preserving it.
Having Fun: It is important the way that nature is presented and any issue related to it. In other words, it is necessary to live the experience in a very simple way: naturally and spontaneously. The love for our Mother Nature becomes a consequence and the desire to protect it, as well. Specially to the children, the first impressions are remarkable for the rest of their lives. I believe that bringing spontaneity, fun and enchantment to deal with the environment is a key for a life long recipe. (When we feel the joy, we all surrender)
Not Wasting: Saving the Planet is not about only recycling, it is all about less wasting and loving it.
Psiiiiii: An Update behind our history
Why I have not opened a business?
The gaps between the launch of the programs and the continuity of it, may be motive for a admirable history of resilience and a genuine story of love. But it is still difficult for me to be fluent about it. As a PeKi Friend, you may know that our voice, truly speaking from our video, is my father’s. He is that voice, and one of the voices who raised me with enchantments, directing me to pursue my passions. Ironically, on the day, in fact, at the moment that I was pressing “enter” on my computer to start pekiny.com, I decided to walk in front of the Hudson River, in front of home, to thank the Universe first for such a blessing. It was one of the happiest moments of my life so far. I felt the most amazing peaceful feeling, a true translation of contentment. I had spent the morning back and forth on messaging my father, he was also thrilled with an opening racing season at his place with my brother also engaged doing the promotional material. We were all deeply connected. Alas, he probably could not handle all the emotions and left us exactly at that moment. As much as I have felt like a lonely child in the backyard in the past two years, I have learned so many important messages, especially from my father, that will only enhance my work. I just need to take a deep breath and keep finding a way with magic, and gracefully make my dreams happen.
So, going back to my task with you, my Friends of PeKi, my idea now is to involve your families in different activities and hobbies on weekends or on a daily basis or for special celebrations. You all will feel energized and your magnetic familial bonds will grow even stronger.
I am deeply confident that we will create an ideal channel of connections for matching tribes. I cannot wait to start!!
Some how, we will.
Vanessa, a woman Thinking Green and in Love
Listening and understanding our friends - Rockefeller Park/ Fall 2017
We created our imaginary Tree where everyone could climb on it and also we placed apples on a tree for an " Apple Picking"... we made it believe.