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July 26, 2017

DDC Summer Interns Contribute to Community Service Day at MS 22 in the Bronx

Dan Leibel

Bronx, NY – Acting Commissioner Ana Barrio of the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) today thanked 58 high school and college summer interns as they departed DDC headquarters in Long Island City, Queens to help at Community Service Day at MS 22 in the Bronx. They were joined at the school by 100 members of the local community, resulting in almost 200 people beautifying the school, painting, taking dance lessons, doing hydroponic gardening and playing in a family basketball tournament.

2017 summer interns
DDC Acting Commissioner Ana Barrio (center) joins a group of DDC’s 2017 college and high school summer interns before they set out for Community Service Day at MS 22 in the Bronx

The initiative was set forth to encourage healthy living in the neighborhood in partnership with the Department of Education (DOE), Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAP) and the City’s Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD).

“I am very proud of DDC’s summer interns for going out and helping to strengthen the City’s communities” said DDC Acting Commissioner Ana Barrio. “Our STEAM initiative continues to succeed in educating students through collaboration and teamwork, both of which are important in building the City.”

“Although the STEAM initiative typically focuses on architecture, engineering and construction education, Community Service Day is extremely important in teaching interpersonal skills and teamwork as keys to improving day-to-day life,” said DDC Community Partnerships & STEAM Initiatives Deputy Commissioner Lee Llambelis. “We’re happy we could come back to MS 22 to continue to influence the community through outreach and education.”

Interns worked with students in the LeAP program to assemble teacher appreciation bags, which included rulers, notebooks, writing utensils and other back-to-school items. Other interns and students participated in a basketball tournament meant to inspire teambuilding and promote physical health.

Another group of interns teamed up with students to participate in an interactive seminar that displayed methods of urban farming. The lecturer, Electra Jarvis, Co-founder of Green Food Solutions, brought hydroponic gardens of lettuce and kale that can be kept on building rooftops or indoors. Students planted seeds into new hydronic pods and harvested fresh greens from previously planted pods. The purpose of this lesson was to show how locally grown food can be sustainably accessed in areas that do not have farm land, such as cities.

2017 summer interns
Electra Jarvis (red hat) shows off a hydroponic garden to DDC interns and LeAP students at the 2017 Community Service Day

“Urban farming is important because people in cities can have access to fresh, locally sourced food just by establishing a simple rooftop garden,” said Electra Jarvis, Co-founder of Green Food Solutions. “Given the concrete jungle we live in, it is important to teach people that you can deliver fresh food without the need for soil. This is one way we can easily contribute to sustainable environmental stewardship.”

DDC and LeAp’s partnership with District 9 stretches back to March 2014 and the inaugural Young Engineers Program, which supports Mayor de Blasio’s after school initiative for middle school students. DDC also works with the DOE and DYCD to facilitate a wide range of hands-on STEAM-related programs, all designed to increase early learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering, art/architecture and mathematics fields. Last year’s Community Service Day was held in the same location.

2017 summer intern
DDC High School summer intern Brianna Bernard

“I enjoyed participating in community service day because I learned a lot about sustainable and local food sourcing, and was able to influence younger students who will be our leaders in the future,” said DDC High School Intern Brianna Bernard, a rising senior at the High School for Environmental Studies. “I want to be an educator in the future and this day helped me see that even small changes to perception, especially when it comes to tackling environmental challenges, can make a positive impact on kids.”

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit