Leah Schwartz: Repairing the World, One Trail at a Time

Leah Schwartz graduated from the University of Rochester in 2017 with B.A.s in Anthropology and English. This year she is serving as  Rochester Youth Year Fellow/AmeriCorps VISTA at Genesee Land Trust, a local nonprofit that focuses on the preservation of natural land and waterways in the greater Rochester area. Leah’s project specifically focuses on the El Camino trail where she hopes to assist the local community to build connections to nature and to encourage an active lifestyle.

What attracted you to Rochester Youth Year?
I was attracted to RYY because I participated in Urban Fellows in 2015. I loved my Urban Fellows experience at the Rochester Public Market so I knew Youth Year would be like a yearlong extended version of URF. I’ve also lived here for four years as a student and have taken advantage of what the city has to offer, so it felt like it was time to give back. It made more sense to serve in Rochester than a random place that I have no connection with.

How would you describe yourself?
I would describe myself as the type of person who claps when the airplane lands. Annoying at times, but supportive and easily excited.

Why do you find meaning in service?
I find meaning in service because it’s part of my value system. In Judaism we talk a lot about the importance of “Tikkun Olam” which translates to repairing the world.

How does RYY fit into your professional goals?
I want to work in the social sector so RYY is giving me foothold into that world.

What’s one fact that some people don’t know about you?
One fact people don’t know about me is that is that I was almost born in the Holland Tunnel. Traffic was backed up!

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
My favorite mammal is a manatee. They’re called the cows of the sea and that’s just really dope I think!

Image result for manatee stock photo

Picture taken from US Fish & Wildlife Service

As you know, Rochester is known as the “Flower/Flour City”…so what are your top 10 flours? 

  1. All Purpose Flour- The most versatile of flours! (Sorry gluten free folks)
  2. Harina P.A.N.- The corn flour used in Venezuela to make my favorite food, arepas.
  3. Amaranth flour- has more protein than any other wheat or gluten free flours.
  4. Chickpea flour- it’s a “power flour” packed with nutrients and gluten free 🙂
  5. Self Rising Flour- Many southern recipes call for this flour. I spent a summer in Memphis and got really into biscuits (it’s just all purpose flour mixed with baking soda and salt).
  6. Almond Flour- Why is this sixth you may ask? Because I’m the maker of this arbitrary list so I can do whatever I want.
  7. Whole-Wheat Flour- Makes denser bread, but it’s high in protein.
  8. Unbleached flour- unbleached flour is bleached naturally as opposed to bleached flour, which is treated with chemicals. It’s higher in protein than bleached flour, but it isn’t as soft or as white.
  9. Farina- Used to make a hot cereal for breakfast (has an oatmeal consistency).
  10. Cake flour- pretty low in protein compared to other flours, but yumm cake.

Thanks, LEAH! Keep up the amazing work!

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