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Groundwork Hudson Valley Newsletter                                 Summer, 2011
Green Team 2011

Groundwork Hudson Valley Green Team 2011 at work along the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee. 

Summer has flown by here at Groundwork! We hope that you all have enjoyed it and found ways to stay cool during some of those sweltering days and nights. We are looking forward to  the start of the school year and getting back to work along the Saw Mill River, cutting vines with Free-A-Tree Volunteers and other fun fall programs.

For some great end-of-summer reading, spend a moment with our newsletter to learn about what we've been up to and what we've got planned!

The Groundwork Hudson Valley Staff: Rick, Anjali, Anne, Ann-Marie, Bob, Curt, Emily, Gwen, Lynn, Lucy, Rhea, and Vernon
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In This Issue
Groundwork Green Team Hard at Work from Yonkers to Southern Virginia
Saw Mill River Daylighting Update
Steppin' Up Yonkers! & Monthly Chat & Chew
Black Brown Dialogue: Creating Spaces
Living Our Lives-New Group
2nd Annual National Night Out
New Farmer's Market in Yonkers!
Projects with Municipal Housing Association of Yonkers
Science Barge Donates over 500 lbs. of Fresh Produce
Schedule a Fall trip to The Science Barge
Art & Science on The Science Barge
Serve & Learn: Westchester Remembers 9/11
Climate Reality Project
Volunteer on The Science Barge
Save-The-Dates: Aquefest & Free-A-Tree
Start a Clean-Up Team
Participate In Our Folks!
Volunteer Positions
Do you like what you see when you read our newsletters, volunteer with us, or visit the Science Barge?

If you do, please consider a gift to Groundwork. 

Your contributions support paid internships for Yonkers high school students, new community gardens, river and habitat restoration, the Science Barge, and myriad educational programs around food and nutrition, urban ecology, community service, and climate change.

Follow the link below to make your secure donation.  Each and every gift makes a difference, and each and every gift is greatly appreciated.


Groundwork News
Featured Article: Green Team Hard at Work from Yonkers to Southern Virginia!


shovelingEvery summer Groundwork trusts across the country interview and hire several local youth who have expressed interest in making a positive change in their community. This group is called The Green Team. For eight weeks, Groundwork staff lead them in various improvement projects while constantly incorporating leadership training and team building lessons and activities. In addition to local projects, Groundwork collaborates with its partner organizations, such as the National Park Service and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, to take the youth on exciting trips to regional parks and trails. The Green Team is a part time job in which these youth get their hands dirty in meaningful work and also gain valuable work and life experience.

Groundwork Hudson Valley just completed a fun, productive, and action-packed Green Team program. From over 50 impressive applications, we hired 16 youth who demonstrated a passion to get to work, learn, and grow. Many goals were set at the beginning of the summer by staff and the Green Team themselves: To make lasting improvements in Yonkers; to learn new skills; to work as a team; to grow as individuals; and to increase their capacity to be leaders in the community and in the broader environment. After a summer of hard work, lots of volunteer hours, and a good deal of traveling, it is safe to say that all of those goals were accomplished and exceeded.

Here is a list of the projects that the Groundwork HV Green Team Completed this summer: on the AT
  • Cleared 2 Yonkers community gardens of weeds.
  • Painted 1 compost bin and 8 garden boxes. 
  • Planted dozens of annuals and perennials.
  • Restored a swath of riparian habitat in a Groundwork-built Municipal Housing Park.
  • Worked in the homes of 8 older adults in Yonkers-pruning trees, clearing weeds and invasive vines, waterproofing decks, transplanting perennials, removing trash, and helping with other projects that the older adults were having trouble doing on their own. The youth also prepared at Lincoln memoriallunch to share with them.  
  • Constructed Hydroponic Hanging Planters for the Science Barge
  • Worked with the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail crew to remove trash and invasive weeds from the OCA in Yonkers.
  • Helped set-up and coordinate a "Chat-N-Chew" meeting at the Yonkers YWCA.
  • Helped set up and coordinate Yonkers' 2nd Annual National Night Out.       
  • Mulched a community garden and a school garden.   
  • Fixed two basketball hoops at a local park. 
  • Completed 26 drainage projects on the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee with the Tennessee Eastman Hiking & Canoeing Club. 
  • Built a stone stairway on a section of the Appalachian Trail in the Delaware Watergap with the New York New Jersey Trail Conference.tent girls
  • Helped lead a workshop about working with youth at the Appalachian Trail Conference.  
  • Visited and met with National Park rangers at Gettysburg National Historic Park in Pennsylvania and Harper's Ferry National Historic Park in West Virginia.
  • Camped at George Washington Monument State Park in Maryland.  
  • Joined hundreds of Appalachian Trail volunteers camping for 5 nights at Emory and Henry CanoeingCollege as part of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Conference.   
  • Camped for two nights at the Mohican Outdoor Center in the Delaware Watergap.
  • Watched 4th of July Fireworks in Abington, Virginia.
  • Stayed at the 4H Center in Washington D.C. and visited the Washington Mall monuments.  
  • Learned how to canoe, kayak, complete a low ropes course, and went on a couple of exciting night hikes!  
  • Built lasting friendships with peers they may not have otherwise met. 

Daylight Yonkers Update

Ann-Marie Mitroff, River Program Director  Daylighting plan


The Saw Mill River is coming back to the light of day in downtown Yonkers' Larkin Plaza. The "daylighting" river project began in December, 2010. During the early months of construction, underground utility work was being done-moving and re-establishing thousands of cables and pipes-to get ready for construction.


Stop by the construction site today and you will see the walls of the intercept chamber (where the river will first come into the daylight) and the confluence chamber (where the river will re-connect with the flume). In addition, some curves of the old concrete flume from 1917 are now exposed. Project schedule anticipates the first water to flow through the new river bed in December 2011!


When completed, we will have recreated 13,775 square-feet of aquatic habitat, including a tidal pool and two freshwater pools. Plantings along the bank and in the river bed will include species that will  attract beneficial insect species which will feed the American Eels and Hudson River fish. An Alaskan steep fish-pass and rock structures (riffles) will help the fish migrate up the Saw Mill. The site has great teaching potential for visitors. Informational exhibits will highlight breeding habitat, nutrient recycling, and the nature of estuaries.


Groundwork Hudson Valley has been a city partner for over a decade on this project, thanks in part to an early grant from the Hudson River Foundation, which funded the first stakeholder charrettes about the project. Groundwork continued to receive other state and federal grants to work on other elements of the daylighting including habitat planning, park elements, park programming, and ecological education.


For more information about the project and to download the newest park design, click here.    


Read a recent editorial published in The New York Times about the Daylighting in Yonkers! 


In The Community: Steppin' Up Yonkers and Chat & Chewsteppin up logo

Vernon Brinkley, Director of Community Development at Groundwork, has been hard at work, partnering with several other agencies and individuals in the Yonkers community. A lot is getting done!

In a previous newsletter we reported on the creation of Steppin' Up Yonkers!, a group funded by a grant from the Alias Foundation and formed to help build the capacity of small neighborhood groups, to sponsor or co-sponsor them, and to bring smaller community organizations and churches together to share resources and skills. One achievement of the group, of which Groundwork is a founding member, are the monthly "Chat n' Chew" luncheons. These luncheons are organized to build partnerships among like-minded groups and individuals and develop specific on-the-ground collaborative projects.
The luncheons are also a time for these groups and individuals to share information about their projects, identify ways to collaborate, and celebrate successes.

At the most recent Chat & Chew, the Groundwork Green Team was invited to lead a discussion on youth-related issues in Yonkers.
Steppin' Up is mostly comprised of adults and at a previous meeting, they identified the summer luncheon as a perfect time to work with youth, asking them the question "What do the youth of Yonkers need to help them be more successful?" The Green Team met ahead of time to brainstorm some answers to the questions. At the Chat & Chew, they identified and discussed their ideas. The youth expressed the need for more after school activities. They suggested that it was the lack of things to do or places to go after school that can lead to youth getting into trouble. Not only are there not enough programs, they said, but the ones that do exist were created without any input from youth. Everyone agreed that, in the future, youth should be involved in planning the programs that they are supposed to participate in.

For more information about Steppin' Up Yonkers, contact Vernon Brinkley at (914) 375-2151.

Black Brown Dialogue: Creating Spaces


Black Brown Dialogue is a new initiative started by members of Steppin' Up Yonkers! and other community organizations. It's mission is to bring together African American and Spanish Speaking people in Yonkers to share experiences, culture, and knowledge and to develop relationships.


The group holds informal meetings at places of cultural significance in the community with the intention of providing a safe, open space for people who belong to two very important demographics in downtown Yonkers to ask questions, tell stories, and get to know each other one-on-one.   


The first meeting, held at the YMCA, attracted a very dynamic group of 15 participants, ages 18-60+. These meetings will foster intimate conversations and their small size will give everyone a chance to participate. The ultimate goal of this program is to "train the trainers," meaning provide participants with the skills to facilitate cross-cultural dialogue with others in the community. Black Brown Dialogue was made possible through a grant from the Elias Foundation. 


Living Our Lives: A Bible Study & Support Group for those who seek help to live wisely, honestly, faithfully, and with integrity

Mondays 8am-9am
Beginning September 12, 2011
St. John's Church, Getty Square
One Hudson Street, Yonkers, NY 10701

Contact: Father John Hamilton (914) 512-8156

Who is this group for?
This group is for anyone who wants to come. All people who come will be equal participants. We will use a simple format to support one another by sharing our experiences, hopes, and discoveries. Father John and Vernon are going to reach out specifically to people who use the services of The Sharing Community and to people who are reentering society after incarceration. They seek volunteers to help lead the group, especially people who were formerly incarcerated or homeless.

Why this group?
Father John is the priest at St. John's.He wants to offer his service as a Bible Study leader to people who want to engage God in their lives. He has two degrees in Bible and has been a person of prayer and study for 33 years. He also has some experience with 12 step groups.

Vernon Brinkley is the Director of Community Development at Groundwork Hudson Valley and is Deacon at Unity Baptist Tabernacle in Mt. Vernon. He is very active in the wider community. He also wants to offer his time and fellowship to those who are seeking to live wisely, honestly, faithfully and with integrity. Vernon also has some experience with 12 Step groups.


Groundwork Helps Out with Yonkers' 2nd Annual National Night Out

2011 National Night Out

National Night Out is a campaign that involves citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials. Participating communities across the country organize events aimed to: heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.


This year and last Groundwork served on the planning committee, along with law enforcement officials, religious leaders, and other community members, to organize National Night Out in Yonkers. The Green Team helped set up the event, handed out information about opportunities with Groundwork, ran a face painting booth and a fun activity for kids. They also spoke to their peers about the work they have been doing in Yonkers and opportunities to get involved with community work through Groundwork.


It was a successful and fun event and we look forward to helping out again next year! 

 New Farmer's Market in Yonkers!

Farmers market

Corn picked the same morning is sweet enough to eat raw!


Thanks to a generous grant from the Westchester Community Foundation, every Monday Groundwork Hudson Valley will hold the Saw Mill Farmers Market! This is one of Groundwork's newest programs and we are very excited to be bringing fresh picked produce from small farms in Westchester to downtown Yonkers!


Come to Phillipse Manor Hall, 29 Warburton Ave., Yonkers, NY 10701 and get fresh, local, affordable produce from 2-6pm! We will have carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes collards, corn, tomatillos, peppers, peaches, apples, and more! Learn about the local farms where the produce comes from, sample some delicious, seasonal recipes, and learn about other places in Yonkers to buy healthy food.  


A little background: Last year, Groundwork used Phillipse Manor Hall for its CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program). The CSA has 40 members who pay, in advance, to get a share of the harvest once a week from a local, non-profit, organic farm called Sisters Hill Farm. The farm gets funding up front to assure that they can pay their operating costs, and members receive a variety of delicious produce from June through November. While the CSA members came and picked up their shares, scores of other people walking down the street or getting off the bus, asked if we had vegetables for sale. They walked away disappointed every time we told them that the beautiful produce on display was already spoken for. There was clearly a crowd of people in the area interested in fresh vegetables.  


In response to this, we wrote a grant to start a small farmer's market and now that is just what we have done! We surveyed community members to see what kinds of produce they were interested in, surveyed the cost of those fruits and vegetables at Yonkers markets, and then looked for small, mostly organic farms in Westchester who were able to offer us fruits and vegetables at a low price. We pay the farmers up front and sell their goods at the low, wholesale prices that they offer to us. The farms are all within an hour of the market, so if you come buy an ear of corn or a peach, chances are it was picked just hours before!  


GWHV Summer Projects with Municipal Housing Association of Yonkers  

 Cottage com garden

This summer Groundwork continued collaborating on improvement projects with the Municipal Housing Association of the City of Yonkers (MHACY). Through this partnership, municipal Housing residents apply for a paid landscape training program lead by Groundwork Hudson Valley's Curt Collier and Anne Megaro. The group then meets with other municipal housing (MH) residents to identify improvement projects at different MH sites.  



MHACY provides funding to pay the trainees to complete projects with Groundwork Staff. This summer the crew built 8 community garden beds and a Farm Stand at Cottage Gardens. This project came out of a discussion with participants in Cottage's After School Program for Children. They expressed interest in developing a fun, creative, entrepreneurial program for the children that attend the after school program.

The garden beds have been built and seeded with crops that will be ready for harvest in the Fall. MHACY Landscape Training CorpGroundwork will partner with the leaders of the after school program and other municipal housing residents to teach the children all about growing plants, crop scheduling, and harvesting, and will work with them to develop a business model for their own farm stand! Hudson Valley Bank made a donation to cover all the supplies that the kids will need to learn and practice sales, book keeping, and accounting for their farm stand. The Bank will also run training sessions with the youth about how to use receipt books, etc. 

Other projects completed this summer include: New community gardens at Troy Moore Housing and Christianson Housing at the request of the residents. The crew also built and installed a picnic table and benches at Christianson because the residents wanted a place where they could sit and relax outdoors. They also removed tons of mulch from areas around Schlobaum Municipal Housing and planted grass at the request of the managers there.

Click here to read a recent article in The Journal News about urban agriculture projects in Westchester that are helping put food on people's plates.

Science Barge Donates over 500 lbs. of Fresh Produce to Local Food Bank 



moreharvestcuke harvest

Every other Tuesday  afternoon, in a pocket of time carved out of our busy schedule of educational programs, The Science Barge harvests all of our fruits, vegetables and herbs ready for consumption and donates the bounty to the Seventh Day Adventist Food Pantry in Yonkers. This season, we have already harvested and donated over five hundred pounds of food! Tomatoes, cucumbers, collard greens and swiss chard are some of our most abundant crops, and we're excited to have melons and peppers for the coming harvests.  


It's always nice to have help and extra company during our harvest and subsequent greenhouse cleanup. A big thank you to Zach, Jonathan and Lars from Groundwork for helping with the harvest two weeks ago, and another thank you to four members of the AmeriCorps NCCC team for helping out in the rain! Groundwork is currently hosting a traveling team of AmeriCorps volunteers who are working with different organizations around the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions for six-week stints. They will continue with Groundwork in the coming weeks, and we look forward to meeting the rest of the team.


Despite being our longest workday, harvesting is always exciting. It is always a great surprise to see the multitude of bags and trays containing our produce, all of which comes from our small greenhouse. We love hearing from the food pantry that people love our produce, and we're thankful that we can help out the community of Yonkers in this way.
Click here to read a recent article in The Journal News about urban agriculture projects in Westchester that are helping put food on people's plates.

The Science Barge is supported by generous donations from The New York Power Authority and ConEdison.


Visit the Science Barge this Fall and experience the Harvest Season firsthand!


Attention Teachers, Youth Group Leaders and Garden Clubs,veggies


We are now accepting reservations for September and October tours and environmental education programs on the Science Barge.  Autumn, the harvest season, is a great time of year to visit the Science Barge.  Visitors will learn about eco-friendly urban food production and pick their own hydroponically grown produce to taste while taking in the views of changing leaves across the Hudson River. Click here to view our Educational Programs Brochure and to download a registration form.  To book a trip please call or email Science Barge Education Director Gwen Hill, 914-375-2151, or email


Upcoming Events



Local Stained-Glass Artist Jamie Gail Korb leads a series of FUN, Educational, and Creative workshops for children (ages 5-10) on The Science Barge.  Classes are offered on Sundays from 2-4pm through November 6, 2011.
$5/per child.
  RSVP to


The Art of Light and Energy: Learn about solar and wind energy on The Science Barge.  Create rainbow pinwheels and see how they create wind and white light.

Floating on h2o: Create floatable art to be installed in a semi-sheltered section of the river adjacent our Science Barge.


The Art of The Hydroponic Garden: Learn about the different hydroponic methods used to grow plants on The Science Barge then make your own hydroponic mini-garden to take home.

The Art and Science of The Marshlands: Talk about, see and paint plants that live in estuary environments.
More workshops info at


The Science Barge is Located at 99 Dock St., Yonkers, NY 10701 on the Yonkers waterfront.  

and is open to the public every Saturday and Sunday 12-6pm.

$3 Suggested Donation 


Melissa's sculpture


SATURDAY SEPT 10, 12-8pm 

Reception at 7pm

This marks the third annual Floating Sculpture Competition on the Science Barge. Local artists hand craft sculptures, many made out of recycled or re-purposed materials which are anchored in the Hudson River between the shore and The Science Barge. This year it will take place in conjunction with YONKERS RIVERFEST! It will be a great day to be out on the River in Yonkers!

Come visit the Science Barge for free, check out the sculptures, and vote for your favorite one! The floating sculptures will be on view and the polling booth will be open for you to vote all day! At 7pm we will begin the reception, tally the votes and announce the winners!

Artists wishing to apply can submit their applications until Fri. Sept 2nd. Download the application

Serve & Learn: Westchester Remembers 9/11 

Westchester County Center,198 Central Avenue, White Plains, New York 10606

2:00pm-7:00 p.m


i will

In an action to rekindle the spirit of unity that followed the tragic events of September 11, The Volunteer Center of United Way is inviting area residents to honor local victims and heroes by engaging in service to help build a stronger community. Groundwork will be setting up a booth at this event to get Westchester County residents up to speed with volunteer opportunities available to them throughout the year. Come visit us! 

 Click here to learn more. 


Climate Reality Project

September 14, 2011: 24 Presenters, 24 Time Zones, 13 Languages, 1 Message, A Global Audience

climate logo

Groundwork is helping to spread the word about The Climate Reality Project, a global effort to raise awareness about the ways in which climate change is already effecting communities all over the world. Five years after the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Nobel Laureate and former Vice President Al Gore will host an international event that brings the world together in a critical moment of global consciousness to deliver the message: The climate crisis is real, and it's already happening.

Beginning in Mexico City and proceeding westward around the globe, 24 Hours of Reality offers a round-the-clock snapshot of the global climate crisis in real time, sharing unique perspectives on the crisis from Tonga to Cape Verde, Mexico City to Kotzebue, Alaska, Jakarta to London. With one event scheduled in each time zone at 7 p.m. local time, the entire 24 hours will also be streamed live online from start to finish, culminating in a final presentation by Vice President Gore in New York at 7 pm.

By focusing the world's attention on the climate crisis for an entire day, 24 Hours of Reality is
intended to create a global movement and inspire international action to solve the climate crisis
the other 364 days of the year. At each event, they will highlight the projects and initiatives of in-country organizations and NGOs and offer information and opportunities for people to learn
more and to get involved with ongoing activities in their own communities.   


Follow this link to sign up for more information.   


Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer on The Science Barge volunteers  

Sundays, 10am-12pm
Every Sunday, between 10am and 12pm, Barge Director Bob Walters will be on board coordinating volunteer projects before the Barge opens to the public at noon. For more information call 914-375-2151 or e-mail


Saturday, October 15th
Yonkers sites:
On the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail and LaMartine (between Warburton & North Broadway) and The OCA Trail and Walnut St. (Between Yonkers Ave and Ashburton Ave.)
Aquefest is a fun event held every year at sites all along the 26 mile Old Croton Aqueduct Trail. Come celebrate this historical trail in Yonkers! Groundwork and the Friends of The Old Croton Aqueduct Trail will organize some great family friendly activities at these two sites. Plans have not been finalized, but we are imagining music, food, face painting, prizes, and perhaps recycled instrument making, flag decorating, painting pumpkins with members of the Walnut Community Garden, and a parade from LaMartine to Walnut! Stay tuned for details!
For more info: Call or e-mail Emily at (914) 375-2151.

Free-A-Tree Invasive Vine-Cutting Season Kick-Off!
Saturday, October 22nd
Farragut Avenue Restoration Site:

From Saw Mill River Parkway going NORTH: Exit 13, Farragut Avenue. Turn right into parking lot.

From Saw Mill River Parkway going SOUTH: Exit 11, left on Tompkins Avenue to Saw Mill River Road and turn left. Turn left on Farragut Avenue then turn left into the parking lot. Access also from Saw Mill River Road (Ardsley side).

 We will meet on the South County Trailway, a three minute walk North of

the parking lot.


Come help us battle the invasive vines that are threatening local habitat! Volunteer to help the environment and enjoy some time out by the River!

Additional Free-A-Tree Dates: Sunday, November 20th, Saturday, March 17th, Sunday, April  22nd, 3rd Annual Great Saw Mill River Clean-Up: Sunday, May 13th. 

For more info: Call or e-mail Emily at (914) 375-2151.  


Start a Clean-Up Team! Plan a Clean-Up!
Clean-UpAre you concerned about the trash you see on the streets and on local trails? Have you ever seen garbage or debris in the Saw Mill River and had the urge to clean it up?
If so, it's time to plan your clean-up!

If you, your business, school, or community group would like to form a River Stewardship Team and adopt a section of the Saw Mill River, a local street in the watershed, or any area along the Saw Mill River, 
contact Emily Eder at 914-375-2151 or e-mail

The Saw Mill River Coalition will help you plan your clean-up and supply all necessary materials. If your group commits to doing two or more clean-ups each year, we will give you your own picker-uppers and other helpful tools. Also, if you are interested in river restoration, we would be happy to schedule a presentation to your group.

Let's think globally and act locally by turning the Saw Mill Watershed into a trash-free zone!

We need your help!

Participate In Our Folks! Let Us Take Care of Your Yard and Make Repairs in Your Home!

Barbara GlasserIf you are an older adult living in Yonkers and need help with yard maintenance, routine repairs, or weatherizing your home for the winter -- please contact us!
We have trained our team of young "Our Folks" volunteers to efficiently and responsibly complete these tasks.

Call us and let us know what your needs are.  We will send a team of high school students, along with a Groundwork supervisor, to improve your home and help you out. We will bring our own tools!

An equally important part of this program is fostering bonds and friendships across generations. So if you sign up, be ready to chat, share stories, and lunch with the team.

To participate, contact Emily Eder at 914-375-2151 or e-mail

Volunteer Positions:

  • Public Relations/Social Media/Web Development Internship: Under the supervision of the GWHV management team, the intern will participate in the coordination of a comprehensive public and media relations strategy for GWHV. Tasks may include: Creating company blog and managing social media outreach via Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube, et al; Collecting information for company newsletter; Writing press releases; Updating/maintaining media lists; General research and office duties. Knowledge of WordPress and Constant Contact a plus.   
  • Receptionist/Office Assistant: Help answer phones, greet visitors, and order supplies. This job is flexible and could lead to involvement with other projects if there is interest. Looking for friendly, mature volunteers with good phone and organizational skills.   
  • Organize A Clean-Up: Get a few friends or neighbors together and organize a trash clean-up in your town! Help prevent trash from getting into the Saw Mill River, the Hudson River, and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean! If you organize a team of six or more, Groundwork will provide tools, training, and will help find a location for your clean-up.   
  • Organize A Green Car Wash: Are you looking for an eco-friendly way to raise money for your school group or favorite charity/non-profit? Look no further! Contact Groundwork Hudson Valley to learn about organizing an eco-friendly car wash. We can help provide supplies that will not pollute our local rivers and streams like common car washes do! Download flier.  
Call 914-375-2151 or respond to this e-mail if you are interested in any of these positions.

Groundwork newsletters written by Emily Eder.
Groundwork Hudson Valley, 22 Main St., 2nd Floor, Yonkers, NY 10701