December 2018 Park Angel of the Month: Jessie Bleichman

Meet Jessie Bleichman. One of our newest Park Angels, Jessie got her wings this past spring and has loved every park along the way. “Volunteering with the Conservancy has been incredible,” said Jessie. “I feel like I’ve found my people.”

Jessie volunteered for Garden in the Parks the first time as a “happy accident.” After losing access to her garden due to building construction, Jessie was looking for a new home for her Japanese Maple Trees. In doing so, she walked down to Colonial Lake to find our Zonal Horticulturist, Kellen Goodell, and a team of Park Angels at work. Although the Conservancy was unable to use the Japanese Maple, Jessie was undeterred and asked if she could help out at Colonial Lake instead. Her interest immediately caught the attention of the nearby volunteers who answered her question with a resounding, “Yes!”

Since then, Jessie has volunteered all across Charleston, from Allan Park to Marion Square and Theodora Park. “I love getting a taste of all of the different parks and plants,” said Jessie. “I thought I knew a lot about plants from my gardening, but the horticulturists continue to outdo me.”

Perhaps her most memorable volunteer experience of all was this year’s Party for the Parks. “It knocked my socks off,” said Jessie. “I had never attended the event, but the other volunteers told me I had to be involved. It wasn’t long before I was helping out as much as I could. I helped with craft projects, spray painted gold castings for the VIP booth, set up plants, furniture, and signs — pretty much anything and every little thing that needed to be done I jumped on. It was great to be on a team where everyone was hustling.”

“Seeing it come together at Colonial Lake was amazing,” she continued. “I saw neighbors and good friends whom I didn’t know were coming there. I could truly love how Party for the Parks bring together all areas of Charleston.”

Still, Jessie enjoys the steady activity of Garden in the Parks. “When I’m gardening I’m in my happy place, I really volunteer for selfish reasons. It’s just so I can exercise, get fresh air, and garden,” Jessie said with a smile. “For anyone thinking about becoming a Park Angel, I would love to let them know that they should! The experience has been life-changing.”

Back to News