Scholar Spotlight: Ricardo Almodovar
Ricardo Almodovar is passionate about creating positive change and giving back to Lancaster, the city where he was born and raised.
His proclivity towards community-oriented service and social justice has carried over into his professional life as he fills his waking hours performing different duties around the city, including working at the Transitional Living Center (TLC), volunteering at the Crispus Attucks Community Center, and delivering essential items to immigrant families through CASA Pennsylvania.
Most recently, he completed the Democratic National Committee’s Digital Organizing Fellowship. In this role he worked to increase support, collaboration, and overall voter engagement in Lancaster and across the state. In his tenure at the DNC, he helped launch a Language Access Working group and plans to continue his work with the Democratic party as a Committee Person representing parts of Southeast Lancaster, the most condensed and racially diverse section of the city. He asserts that systemic problems require systemic solutions and programs like TLC and Crispus Attucks do help provide a safety net; but Ricardo suggests the need to join forces with stakeholders, leaders, and decision makers for long term and systemic change. As a result, he plans on continuing his work as a volunteer, board member, and non-profit professional. He maintains that our collective success requires action and he’s fortunate to do his part and watch the fruits of the community’s collective labor develop into improvements in our communities.
Throughout his career, Ricardo has come to realize how much water quality work contributes to a community’s quality of life, whether it’s ensuring safe water comes out of people’s taps or farmland remains viable and sustainable.
His initial interest in the Lancaster Watershed Leadership Academy stemmed from his drive to fight for environmental justice. “I have participated in sustainability advocacy indirectly, but I wanted to start doing something directly,” says Ricardo. “I want to do my part and use my experience to learn about what’s actually going on in our state and get others involved. It’s one thing to learn about water quality work but it’s another to get out and share that information.”
Sharing that information is where the leadership aspect of the Academy comes into play, says Ricardo. He’s eager to use the leadership skills he learns to bring social awareness about healthy environmental practices to under-served areas of Lancaster City, specifically the Lantinx and immigrant populations.
Through his clean water action project, which brings together the Academy’s leadership and watershed curriculum, Ricardo hopes he can bridge the gap between environmental practices and the Latinx community in Lancaster, particularly focusing on the language barrier. During the Academy, he’ll pay keen attention to technical and scientific teachings to incorporate into future plans which may include one or many water quality projects or workshops with an emphasis on non-English speakers.
Most recently, he was awarded a Love Your Block (LYB) Grant through Lancaster City’s Office of Community Engagement to work on a community action project highlighting the needs of low-income communities. He hopes that with successful completion of the LYB Grant project, it will provide leverage for future grant opportunities to do his part for clean water. The project will help fund a number of carts for both the Crispus Attucks Community Center as well as the TLC, a program of Tabor Community Services that provides temporary housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The carts will be used during pick-up hours at the local food bank at Crispus Attucks while the other carts would be left at TLC for general use. He has also partnered with a local graphic designer and will use this opportunity to talk to community members and share their stories while discussing ways they can get involved.
Ricardo believes the Academy is improving Lancaster communities by connecting people with resources, providing a space to talk openly about environmental issues, and bringing to light the tough realities of sustainability. As he moves forward in the Academy, he will take what he learns back to his friends, colleagues, and neighbors to start the conversation and get the needle moving towards clean and clear water.
“I have participated in sustainability advocacy indirectly, but I wanted to start doing something directly. I want to do my part and use my experience to learn about what’s actually going on in our state and get others involved. It’s one thing to learn about water quality work but it’s another to get out and share that information.”
– Ricardo Almodovar