Alumni of the Month: Aqilah Richardson

Artboard 1 Announcements Alumni Profiles Uncategorized
icon-clock April 25, 2024

“Believe in yourself – that you can do anything you set your mind to. Never give up. No matter how hard it gets.”

Aqilah Richardson (she/her)

Graduated: 2021, Cohort 21

From: Brevoort Houses, Brooklyn

Current Position: Operations Assistant, Brooklyn Urban Garden Charter School (BUGS)

The mission of BUGS is to provide a hands-on, interdisciplinary education to young adolescents of all abilities and backgrounds, with a focus on real-world problem solving and the exploration of environmental, social, and economic sustainability. BUGS students will excel in the core academic subjects and become engaged community members who are critical thinkers prepared to achieve excellence in high school and beyond.


Tell us about your current role and daily responsibilities.

My job involves a lot of data entry: logging in late students for the day, tracking enrollment of new students, state testing, etc. I coordinate yellow bus and subway transportation for field trips and lead in the distribution of student MetroCards, including activating & deactivating MetroCards upon request from students. Other responsibilities of mine are taking inventory of school supplies and ordering supplies as needed. I work in the front office answering phone calls and directing them to the correct department.”


Describe your career pathway. How has your GCF experience helped you?

I worked as the Data and Evaluation Assistant at Red Hook Initiative. This role gave me more experience in data collection and how to analyze data.

During my time at GCF I knew I wanted a career that was heavily based on data. As an AmeriCorps member, I developed a love of data collection when I was recording the types of crops planted, the weight of each crop and how much was given to NYCHA residents. 

I also developed an interest in environmental sustainability through the GPRO courses led by [former Career Services staff] Aram Marcelle. Aram really helped me to find positions that aligned with my passion for data. After I graduated GCF[’s Service Corps], I was an Energy Conservation Assistant in GCF’s Social Enterprise (SE) program. As an Energy Conservation Assistant, I learned to be comfortable with speaking to people over the phone, which is what I do today as the Operations Assistant for BUGS. After that Social Enterprise project ended, I became a Tree Analyst for GCF [in another SE project] which expanded my data collection skills. Because of this exposure to data evaluation and spreadsheets, I landed a job at Red Hook Initiative and eventually at BUGS Charter School, whose primary focus is environmental sustainability.”


What advice do you have for current Corps Members and other Alumni?

“Believe in yourself – that you can do anything you set your mind to. Never give up. No matter how hard it gets.”


Achievements at GCF:

Completing the Social Enterprise program, I managed to make over 70 appointments during the duration of that program and being part of a team of 6 people who inventoried over 13,000 trees across various NYCHA developments.”


What’s your favorite GCF memory?

“My favorite GCF memory was the ice skating trip at Prospect Park. It had snowed days before and there was leftover snow on the ground. The whole cohort had a snowball fight. It was really fun.”



“Before I joined Green City Force (GCF), I felt like my life was going nowhere. I dropped out of college and had trouble finding work. After reading a flyer posted in the lobby of my building I immediately became interested. My GCF journey started with an information session with one of the recruiters. It was a long, tedious process joining Cohort 21 and on several occasions I even thought about quitting. But I chose to push through it all and now I can honestly say that Green City Force has changed my life for the better. Through this program I have developed a stronger work ethic. This program has taught me to reach my full potential. I am better prepared for the professional world and I now have better chances of success. I am proud to have had the opportunity to serve my community, promoting environmental awareness and food justice for all. This has been an experience that I will never forget.”




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