Alumni Profile of the Month: Donald Folks

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icon-clock February 21, 2023

Donald embodies what GCF is about. Donald is a valuable member of the Compost Power crew and he uplifts his fellow alumni.

-Domingo Morales, Founder and CEO of Compost Power, Cohort 10 Alum


Donald Folks

Graduated: 2022, Cohort 22

From: Marlboro Houses, Brooklyn

Current Position: Compost Power Crew Member

The mission at Compost Power is to build out sustainable community compost sites across NYC with an emphasis on underserved and marginalized communities, and to create an educational compost video series, providing all residents with access to waste equity, sustainable education, and job training.


Tell us about your current role.

“[Working as a crew member in] Compost Power is literally working behind the scenes where you are exposed to how and where Green City Force gets its soil from. Here, we make soil from food scraps such as vegetables, fruits and garden waste, and we process them, then sealing [the pile] using compost [from a pile processed earlier as] the microbes do their job in breaking them down, making new fresh dirt.”

What does your typical work day look like?

“It’s only Tuesdays where we got to be on our Ps and Qs, and be mentally and physically prepared as we turn and aerate huge mounds of compost and oftentimes, we make a new build or build a new seal. Each member must be self-aware and aware of their surroundings for our work to run smoothly like a well-oiled machine. Tuesdays are literally like going to the gym and working out. Any other day is clockwork. We aerate the 3 bin systems, process scraps, and clear the site of any trash.”


How has your GCF experience helped you in your position? 

“It’s opened a lot of doors, including educational benefits. I’ll soon go back to college and start a new career for myself. It also helped improve my social skills. Compost Power is not only about [the physical work], but communicating and engaging with NYCHA residents about what we do here, getting them interested and participating, giving us a strong support system too.”



About Donald’s career pathway:

“Before Compost Power, I applied to join Green City Force. I finally joined in 2021 as a Special Forces member in Cohort 22 and for 6 months showed everyone I got commitment to put in the work.”


What advice do you have for current Corps Members?

“If you’re interested in joining Compost Power, you must be committed to it. Meaning, you must put in that work, not just coming in every day, but showing us you got great work ethic. Prove to us that you’re a great addition to the team.”


Achievements at Green City Force:

  • Earning The Force Award for motivating and pushing my teammates to become better than they were yesterday.
  • Earning The Work Ethic Award for my dedication and commitment to the job.


What’s your favorite GCF memory?

“There are multiple moments in [Cohort] 22 I’ll forever cherish like the time I found a potty-trained pet ferret in Forest, and the Harvest Fest at Wagner. And to this day, myself and my team still believe we put Wagner on the map.”



“When I hear ‘GCF,’ it means to make our dream work by participating as a team, as a unit, as a force. Throughout this entire program, I’ve realized I have more potential and more integrity to achieve my goals and to make a difference in my community. I chose to become a Corps Member with GCF to further improve my social skills. The pandemic stopped me from interacting with anyone and it made me feel foreign to those around me. I chose this organization to get back into social interaction and I was able to develop relationships with others. The most important thing I learned during my time here is what Justin always says: ‘Teamwork makes the dreamwork.’ As a whole unit, we’ve progressed and I’m proud at how much integrity we’ve put in to get tasks done. I want to thank Elizabeth, Jawann, Felicia, Steve, Kate, Jelani, Dontik, Kay and Giselle for supporting me through tough times while in GCF. Reminiscing back on these recent months, I’ve been through it all: I’ve been through death, I’ve been through family issues, having to bounce back while living under a temporary roof and vice versa. Thanks to them and good advice, I was able to repair relationships amongst family members and everything is all good. My final words of advice to all my co-workers and bosses is this: ‘Always stay in close contact with family and friends because tomorrow is not promised. You can be here today and be gone tomorrow. So make every moment count.’”



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