Jackson native creates program for HBCU students

JACKSON, Tenn. — A Jackson native has been awarded for her passion in environmental and climate change.

Tom’s of Maine has started a new incubator program that awards five people across the country with funding and support for environmental solutions. One of the winners is Jackson native Aliyah Collins.

“You get access to a mentor, you get access to CEOs, just a lot of resources to help you build your climate change project or solution,” Collins said.

As an alumn of a historically Black college, Fisk University, Collins was chosen for her idea “HBCU Eco Healing Project.”

She created this after noticing the lack of resources for students after a natural disaster or change of climate.

“HBCU Eco Healing Project will be a project where they get to learn how to plant and how to garden, but they’re learning this through a mental health spiritual framework,” Collins said.

Collins says nature comes hand in hand with mental health. Using the same concepts as you would gardening, but taking care of yourself and nurturing the seeds in your personal life.

“The ultimate goal is you are improving your mental health, you are bringing more peace and more harmony. If you’re suffering from isolation, depression or anxiety, this project will help you work through those things,” Collins said.

The incubator program is seven months long. Each of the five who were chosen are awarded $20,000 to jump start their project. As an HBCU graduate, she says she knows how much of an impact this can create.

“If you want to really kind of like navigate or find a way to work through mental health issues, you can use this project to work through those things through the environment,” Collins said.

Collins plans on kick-starting her solution at Spelman College in hopes of spreading the project across the country.

To learn more about Collins’ project and the other recipients, click the link seen towards the top of the article.

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