The world doesn’t always send clear messages, but when it does that message might be a gigantic, toppling oak tree. For Shamsa, nature literally landed in her lap! Luckily, she didn’t hold a grudge. She bears deep respect for the natural world and started the Wedge Connect Program, which helped students complement their chosen field of study under expert mentorship through the Wedge Community Garden. She draws inspiration from Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project, which has planted over one million trees in low-income neighborhoods of New York City since 1995. With help from her mentees and community members, she competed at the national Neighborhood, USA conference, winning both the Multi-Neighborhood Partnerships award and the Grand Prize for USA, Neighborhood of the Year.
Encouraged by mentors Will Allen and Dan Bagley she started the Victory Garden Project to help students re-root and grow in their communities. She dreams of mentoring students and providing every opportunity for them to flourish and be job-ready at graduation. Shamsa is a community-building, nature-loving mentor with a knack for student development. Her primary goal is to honor her students, herself, and the traditions of the Greatest Generation.