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Photos courtesy of Alicia White
Photos courtesy of Alicia White

Being surrounded by concrete and smog, it can take its toll on the environment. There are many neighborhoods in Queens that may not have the resources to improve the community’s condition.

However, Alicia White wasn’t going to let that happen.

A native of Jamaica, White remembers not having access to the kinds of community development and environmental programs that other neighborhoods had. White started Project Petals in 2014 not only as a way to give back to the community that she grew up in, but to help other communities around the city that are in need.

“In my area growing up we had a lack of resources for community development and after-school programs,” said White. “I wanted to create programs and services that I wish were available to me growing up, but also resources that would help my community in Queens overall.”

Project Petals is a community development and an environmental organization that focuses on revitalizing underserved, low-income and under-resourced communities. Through providing educational workshops, partnerships and supplying resources, Project Petals has been a vital tool in creating programs that work with communities in Queens to help them bring awareness to environmental and urban degradation issues that stunt development.

In addition to creating programs for the betterment of the communities she serves, White has also aimed to serve the youth of the community through the creation of the Project Petals Youth Builders Program, which was launched earlier this year. Through the Young Builders Program, kids from fifth grade through twelfth grade are connected to architects, urban planners, engineers, and designers through educational workshops so that they can attain better futures and leadership skills.

“The program prepares young people for careers that are needed to develop communities and make them more sustainable in addition to helping youth in my area mobilize through service to create a lasting impact.” said White.

Within the last year, Project Petals has grown locally into Harlem and internationally to Uganda. Despite this tremendous growth, White doesn’t plan on stopping there.

“I plan on expanding Project Petals throughout NYC in the next year, specifically Brooklyn and the Bronx,” said White. “I also hope to take on more international projects in the next year as well.”

Those who are looking to volunteer for Project Petals can sign up at www.projectpetals.org/get-involved/.  For more information, visit projectpetals.org or follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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