Today we’d like to introduce you to Shaniqua Rose.
Hi Shaniqua, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was born into a family from the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia, raised in Brooklyn, New York and relocated to Central Florida in 2000. I graduated from Poinciana High School, completed my Associates at Valencia College, Bachelors at Polk State College and received my Masters in Public Administration from American Public University. I began a career in December 2013 at the City of Orlando, where I assisted with researching programs to revamp the nighttime economy, assist with homelessness in the region, revisions to the Appearance Review policy to reduce the lengthy process to renovate the exterior of buildings, such as paint color changes and additional building signage, and the creation of additional business incentives to assist and attract businesses. While passionate about my day-to-day work, my true passion was for West Orlando, specifically the Parramore community. I saw a community in need of healing in many ways – from poverty to mentoring, but more specifically, an opportunity to be united in focus. I realized the only way to make a true impact and have a better understanding of the Parramore community was to actually live within the community.
In December 2018, I purchased a home, roll up my sleeves, and began going out to the community to hear the concerns of the people. I attempted to alleviate some of the issues I received by completing online reports to the appropriate city departments, bringing concerns to the attention of the appropriate parties, and teaching residents about resources available to them. On July 4, 2019, I started an organization called Change For the Community as an outlet to make positive changes in the community. I gathered youth from Parramore to do clean-ups in the most needed areas. After only four weeks, there was a litter decrease in the targeted areas. After witnessing this impact, I quickly explored other opportunities for change. I started mentoring with youth, providing opportunities to explore their community, learn history, and just have some good ole fun. I believe the collaboration of the community is the only way to find out how to meet the needs of the community. As a single mother of a young boy growing up in West Orlando, I realize the importance of quality community resources that create a safe space for everyone to live, work and play. I have joined several organizations and committees to be an active voice for positive change in the community, such as becoming the NAACP Youth Council Advisor, where I speak with the youth to get an understanding on how to improve the community for their future. I seek ways to improve the quality of life for everyone in West Orlando, including better air quality, cleanliness, training and job opportunities, and so much more.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Change is never easy and everyone is not receptive of it. Being the outsider of the West Orlando community, at first, there was much resistance. People removed me from organizations, people would not allow me to speak and at some points, I felt hopeless. I was told “little girl, sit down somewhere you don’t understand my struggles.” One of my mentors said, “Baby, these people are not ready for a change give it some time.” I was denied grant opportunities, I was even denied certain career opportunities because of the fear of taking over.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
There are two branches, the for-profit, which does organizational consulting to provide structure/restructuring for the better of the organization, as well as community engagement/organizing, and the not-for-profit focuses on mentoring the youth and finding ways to bring positive change to the community.
What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
I like the diversity of our city and some of our individuals that have stepped up to bring the change we need the best. I do not like the lack of opportunities from community to community and the disparities are very apparent from I-4 westward; lack of grocery stores, pharmacies, poor infrastructure, increased crime; just the visual differences of the community from east Orlando to west Orlando, but there are opportunities to make things better and I will continue to bring Change For The Community.