Join Nando Rodriguez, one of the co-creators of the Hot Box Composting system, to learn about how this innovative method for urban composting came to be – and how his 30+ years of experience in environmental education continues to connect youth in Harlem to the soil hands-on. With a focus in restorative justice, Nando is working to take local composting to another level of community support and push local representatives to deepen participation in NYC.
Discussion and questions are enthusiastically encouraged – bring questions along with you! Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.
Nando Rodriguez was born and raised in the Lower East Side and the Dominican Republic. Raised in a single-parent household, his mother raised 6 children (older sisters helped with the little ones) and he was the youngest. His mother’s reasoning to send him away for a portion of his life was her fear of Nando following in the footsteps of his elder brothers, who were caught between the street life of Alphabet City. Nando spent 5 years in Bonao, D.R. He always felt the need to help others, especially his peers who were less fortunate, and in D.R. he would create spaces for his peers to play games, often inviting youth from other communities to join.
Nando eventually returned to NYC and enrolled in East Side Community High School. It was there that he was introduced to Open Road of NY, as well as The Brotherhood Sister Sol. With Open Road of NY, Nando started to connect his purpose on Earth with Mother Earth and began to assist Open Road with the development of the HotBox. Nando also worked on green space designing with participants of these selected communities using the Participatory Designed process and developing or redesigning green spaces for community engagement.
With The Brotherhood Sister Sol, Nando continues to empower youth to become leaders in their communities. Through love, support, resources and guidance, The Brotherhood Sister Sol team is able to create a Rites of Passage experience for all youth to question what’s not clear to them and speak up when they feel their voice is not being heard.