Alicia White is getting her hands dirty in an effort to turn her native Jamaica, Queens into a place she's proud to call home.
White says while she loved growing up in the neighborhood, she grew tired of seeing nearby Railroad Park overgrown with weeds and covered in trash.
"I used to work mainly in the city and I used to see how beautiful the city looked. You'd hardly see any trash, it was environmentally sound and then I'd come back to where I am originally from and saw that our green spaces didn't necessarily look like that," White said.
White made it her mission to change that.
In 2014 she launched "Project Petals", a non-profit focused on revitalizing underserved communities, including her very own Jamaica.
"In the outer boroughs, we have a lot of space but we don't have a lot of developed green space or revitalized spaces that can actually be used as place-making spaces for the community," White said.
White’s "Project Petals" takes a two pronged approach.
She not only leads her neighbors in beautification projects like one in Railroad Park, but she also hosts workshops for young people where she introduces them to jobs in architecture and engineering.
This, with the hope of inspiring them to work hard, then stick around the neighborhood and continue to help it flourish.
"A lot of areas we work in, we hear young people saying "I want to leave, I want to go" but we really want to make where they live a place that they can stay and improve it for the better for future generations," White said.
Carving out a career path while helping her community is what prompted this high school senior to get involved with Project Petals.
"I was really inspired by all of the presenters this year because they all taught me new things and they all helped me set new goals," said Mariecia Moore, a senior at Thomas Edison High School.
White hopes that means one day giving back to Jamaica.
"I feel like I've accomplished something in helping in starting something where I grew up. And I think that's my most proud moment, that I started it here in Jamaica, Queens," White said.
So for planting the seeds for a brighter future for Jamaica, Alicia White is our New Yorker of the Week.