I had the opportunity to interview Millie Cruz of the NYC Parks Department. You may be familiar with Millie since she spends most of her workday in the Juniper Park Field House.
Millie started her career in the NYC Parks Department in the Queens Green House in Forest Park in 2004. While at the Green House she took the horticulture program at Queens Botanical Gardens. That program enabled Millie to earn the title of Seasonal Pesticide Supervisor, which she held from 2007 to 2010.
In 2009 Millie took a Leadership Development Program, a program that she feels was very helpful in preparing her for her future role in the Parks Dept. From that course she was able to earn the title of Civil Service Park Supervisor when she took that test in 2011. As Supervisor Millie is responsible for the 9 parks within District 5.
Millie Cruz stated that she has a group of 12 city workers. These workers have the responsibility for maintenance and operations in the 9 District 5 parks. When you see Juniper Park so well maintained you can thank these 12 workers who have a huge responsibility when you consider the scope of District 5 parks and the other 8 parks that are their responsibility. They do a great job.
Millie Cruz stated that she doesn't just like her job, she loves it and you can tell when you hear the enthusiasm she has for her responsibility as Park Supervisor. She loves horticulture and she feels a sense of pride when someone sees her and thanks her for a particular flower garden or some other beautiful planting in Juniper Park.
I told Millie that on one recent rainy day as I was making my turn on Juniper Boulevard South on to Lutheran Avenue there is a beautiful flower garden greeting you with the sign, Juniper Valley Park. I wanted to stop my car and take that picture because it looked so beautiful with the flowers in full bloom and the foggy, rainy atmosphere of the weather. Millie understood and loved hearing my enthusiasm for the visual beauty of the Juniper flowers in full bloom.
She said she is involved with volunteer groups such as the Eagle Scouts and the Brownie Girls Scouts and their role in planting the flowers in the Greeting Gardens throughout Juniper Park. She said the girls and boys get a sense of ownership when they see their gardens thrive and very often the children themselves will spend some time doing the necessary weeding. Taking care of their own gardens in Juniper Park, what a great learning tool for our kids!
Millie Cruz is married, has three young boys and she lives in Cypress Hills. She said she's getting her own children involved in some of the park projects so they grow up with a sense of responsibility towards their community.
When I finished my interview with Millie I thought how lucky are we in District 5 and Juniper Valley Park to have a Millie Cruz as our Park Supervisor? She is enthusiastic about the work that she truly loves and you know our District 5 parks will continue to thrive with her leadership as we go forward with a limited NYC budget.