Lee Trotman, NYC Civic Corps Member

As a child, my family believed strongly in the value of service. Our economic position did not allow for giving monetarily, so in exchange, we volunteered to help the community in every way possible. For years, my family has celebrated Thanksgiving by serving food at a local soup kitchen and delivering meals to homebound individuals. While this may have disappointed me as a young child, I am completely indebted to my parents for teaching me such valuable core principles - the very principles that have led me down an unconventional career path.

Along with my family’s strong ethic of service, my family has a rich and honored tradition of serving in the armed forces. I believe that every American should give back and serve their community and country in some capacity. Through my service with the NYC Civic Corps and AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), I have continued the rich tradition of service that my family has passed down. After college, I worked at City Year in Columbus, Ohio, where I led and mentored diverse teams of 17- to 24-year-olds as they provided powerful service in the community. When I had the opportunity to join the New York City Civic Corps, I knew I had to seize the moment to serve. After receiving training, I was placed with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) along with a wonderful team of seven fellow New York City Civic Corps Members.  Together, we were tasked with creating Resident Green Committees as part of NYCHA’s Green Agenda.

The Green Agenda aims to cut down NYCHA’s carbon footprint, reduce its energy and utility costs, and insure the viability of public housing by extensively retrofitting its buildings.  NYCHA is poised to install efficient instantaneous hot water heaters, boilers and condensed fluorescent light bulbs.  The Resident Green Committees are comprised of groups of NYCHA residents throughout 16 developments, totaling over 200 buildings that have been assigned to me and my colleagues.  These committees are intended to develop strategies and programs that will save energy, promote tree and garden stewardship, reverse the effects of climate change, and preserve public housing.

I am in my fourth month of service, and I have learned great deal. I have been challenged in ways that I did not foresee, but my “BLANK” has kept me moving forward toward the creation of a cleaner and greener New York City, nation, and world.