How did NAV begin?
NAV Garden For Girls, founded by Nia Lambert, Alex Sweitzer, and Veronika Nierzwicka, began as a freshman year Biology project during the winter of 2018, and quickly grew into a city-wide organization by the following fall. Our first garden was finished at South Loop Elementary School during the spring of 2018, and since then we've collaborated with other schools in the Chicagoland area, such as Bronzeville Classical Elementary School, who we now have a partnership with.
Meet the NAV Founders
Nia Lambert is a senior at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, and as a Chicago native, she is naturally drawn to helping her community and environment. She leads the marketing division of NAV along with assisting with programming. Nia could be described as creative, optimistic, and methodical. Outside of NAV Nia is heavily involved in other organizations as well and runs her own freelance photography company “Nia Rae Visuals". She is a member of Black is Gold Chicago preparing African American girls to be leaders through community service, has her own resale clothing company to limit the use of fast fashion, advocates for ending the stigma around mental health and illness, and serves as a Student Representative on Whitney Young’s Local School Council. Her favorite part about NAV is the impact that it makes on the girls and herself. “Seeing the girls every week fuels me to be my best self, and that is my goal for them as well.”
Alex Sweitzer is a senior at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, and as a dedicated leader in her community, she works toward uplifting others through community service. She leads the finance division of NAV Garden for Girls, along with assisting with programming. Alex could be described as responsible, confident, and independent. Outside of NAV, she leads the National Honor Society as Membership Chair, creates homemade keychains for her charity organization Keychains For COVID, plans community service projects for her Jewish youth group BBYO and school club Jewish Student Connection, participates in virtual discussions with undergraduates at the University of Michigan through a behavioral neuroscience journal club, and works with young children at her summer babysitting service Fireflies. Her favorite part of NAV is watching the girls’ faces light up while learning about their environment and positivity, along with seeing their growth throughout the program.
Veronika Nierzwicka is a senior at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, whose passion for community service started at a young age. Veronika could be described as motivated, outgoing, patient, and ambitious. In her spare time she enjoys learning foreign languages and doing community service. For example, she is a passionate leader in her community and shows her dedication by tutoring Polish children online, working as a surgical assistant, and distributing hand sanitizer to hospitals with a marketing team. Veronika’s favorite thing about NAV is its inclusivity.
- Spring 2018 - First garden built at South Loop Elementary School Chicago
- Spring 2018 - Featured on “Making Chicago Proud” segment of ABC7 Chicago News
- Fall 2018 - Frankie's On The Park fundraiser raised over $200
- Winter 2018 - First Member Social
- Spring 2019 - Second garden built at Bronzeville Classical Elementary School
- Spring 2019 - Featured on ABC7 Chicago News
- Summer 2019 - Launched YouTube channel
- Fall 2019 - Featured on “Girlfriend's Insider”
- Fall 2019 - Presented at Power By Girls Connect Women's Empowerment Conference
- Winter 2019 - Second Member Social
- Winter 2020 - Giving Tuesday campaign raised $2,580
- Winter 2020 - Chipotle Fundraiser raised $300
- Spring 2020 - NAV Quarantine Activities launched during COVID-19
- Spring 2020 - Featured on the IL Youth Climate Movement's Earth Day livestream
- Summer 2020 - Flower drive for Bronzeville Classical students
- Summer 2020 - Instagram Livestream Empowerment Weekend
- Fall 2020 - Featured at the IL Youth Climate Movement's Virtual Strike
- Fall 2020 - F(earth)er Magazine Interview released
- Fall 2020 - Farmers Market Fundraiser raised over $400
- Fall 2020 - NAV Member 2020-2021 Application opened
- Winter 2020 - Interviewed by Shape The Culture
- Winter 2021 - NAV Member Social
- Winter 2021 - Spoke at the Teens Be Heard Open Mic Night