Lance Vaughn, PLACE Mentor

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Lance has been a member of The Bronx is Blooming team ever since we started in 2011. He was a PLACE mentor leading a team of high school students in 2013 and 2014 and has returned often as a volunteer.

Lance had already been volunteering around New York City with buildOn when he first heard about The Bronx is Blooming. What excited him most was the chance to work in Mosholu area – a place special to him. He told us, “when we got a chance to help out in a local area which happened to be where I grew up, it felt good to be helping out and to see the change – I was able to go back and see the difference.”

Over the years, Lance has been committed to The Bronx is Blooming’s mission to revitalize green spaces and provide youth development programming in the Bronx. After all, Lance says that the value of commitment is something he learned at The Bronx is Blooming. “Helping out with the community, working with The Bronx is Blooming, it teaches you commitment and those skills you can use anywhere.” Lance believes this experience has helped him stay focused and motivated in work, school, and in his relationships. “Having commitment is a skill you need when you want to make sure that in the end everything was done right.”

Lance is proud of what he accomplished as a PLACE mentor and group leader. “You need skills on how help the community. You can’t help the community if you don’t know how to, if you don’t know what you’re doing or why you’re doing it,” he says. “But once you give them those skills, it motivates them to do more. It gave them a way. And The Bronx is Blooming also gives them the connections if they want to continue doing this kind of work.”

Lance has a lot of good memories and in particular fondly looks back on a time when his group was put to the test and succeeded. “I remember being told we were having a volunteer project a week and a half into the program and I was nervous. I wasn’t sure if they’d be ready,” he recalled. “I was surprised. They took the skills that I gave them. They knew it all. Weeding, tree stewardship, mulching. They knew how we were helping the trees and why. They knew all the definitions and they were able to communicate that to the volunteers.” Lance was proud of his team and himself and rightly so.

Lance is finishing his Accounting degree at Brooklyn College. At school he is the philanthropy chair of his service-oriented fraternity and has been happy to bring his brothers to Bronx is Blooming projects. Lance plans on continuing to be part of our mission. “Service will definitely be something’s that’s part of the rest of my life.”

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Lance and his fraternity brothers pose at a Bronx is Blooming project