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Q&A With Microgrant Recipient Christopher

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Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youths 18 years of age and younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. Microgrant recipient Christopher (17) from NC used his award to transform a vacant lot in the middle of East Kinston, a historically impoverished & disadvantaged neighborhood, into a neighborhood fruit park. One block over, Kinston Teens, Christopher’s nonprofit youth-led organization, has already transformed a vacant lot into a flower garden.

  1. What inspired you to start this project? Kinston Teens is a nonprofit youth-led organization in Kinston, North Carolina. Our community, with a population of around 20,000, is significantly impoverished and home to a large number of vacant and overgrown lots, dilapidated buildings, and other signs of blight. Through various beautification projects, Kinston Teens has worked to combat this issue. We decided that we could plant fruit trees as a part of one of our beautification projects to add an additional enhancement to the community. Our initial plan was to plant trees on one lot creating a “Neighborhood Fruit Park.” We decided to spread the trees over three different lots to help beautify more than one single lot. Though we were awarded the grant over the summer, the weather would be too hot for us to plant fruit trees then. We then pushed back and scheduled a project for the first weekend in October. When Kinston was hit by Hurricane Florence in September 2018, we decided to combine this project with broader Community Cleanup Day.
  2. Other than you, how many student volunteers participated in your service project?  20
  3. Other than you, how many adult volunteers participated in your service project?  30
  4. How many hours did you spend on your project?  30
  5. How many hours did other volunteers spend on your project? 240
  6. How many individuals were affected by your project?  20000
  7. During the time period between when you applied for a K4C microgrant & when you completed the project, what surprised you?  Having to slightly change the project because of a major hurricane.
  8. Overall what did you learn from this experience? Being open to change re: scheduling, natural disasters, budget.
  9. How will your project continue having an impact in the future? These fruit trees are planted on three different vacant lots, enhancing their beauty and the appearance of the neighborhood. Community beautification increases neighborhood pride, property tax values, public health, and safety.
  10. How was the K4C microgrant helpful in the completion of your project?  Grant funds helped us purchase twelve fruit trees to plant and purchase shovels, water buckets, and trash bags.