Top Ten Videos to watch

An attractive ethnic business woman smiling confidently at the camera as she stands in an office
Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors
Toddler Caught In Crossfire Of Shooting In Chicago
HISTORY Brings 'Roots' Cast And Crew To The White House For Screening
Graduates tossing caps into the air
Freddie Gray Baltimore Protests
Mid section of man in graduation gown holding diploma
Legendary Baseball Player Tony Gwynn's Family Files A Lawsuit Against Big Tobacco
ME.jailhouse#2.0117.CW Montebello City Council has approved use of a private contractor to run the n
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Addresses Police Misconduct At Chicago City Council Meeting
WWII Soldiers Standing In A Flag Draped Sunset - SIlhouette
Students Taking a College Exam
Bill Cosby Preliminary Hearing
Hillary Clinton Campaigns In Louisville, Kentucky
Worried black businesswoman at desk
Tyler Perry And Soledad O'Brien Host Gala Honoring Bishop T.D. Jakes' 35 Years Of Ministry
Teacher with group of preschoolers sitting at table
FBI Officials Discuss Apprehension Of Explosions Suspect After Three-Day Manhunt
NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Atlanta Falcons
US-POLITICS-OBAMA
Protests Erupt In Chicago After Video Of Police Shooting Of Teen Is Released
24673281
US-VOTE-DEMOCRAT-SANDERS
Nine Dead After Church Shooting In Charleston
Portrait of senior African woman holding money
Medicare
President Bush Speals At Federalist Society's Gala
Police
Police Line Tape
Senior Woman's Hands
Leave a comment
Donnel Baird (left), speaks to the co-owner of Levels Barbershop in Harlem, about an air-conditioning unit. (Photo Credit: Andrew Hinderaker/The Wall Street Journal)

Donnel Baird (left), speaks to the co-owner of Levels Barbershop in Harlem, about an air-conditioning unit. (Photo Credit: Andrew Hinderaker/The Wall Street Journal)

Our upbringings play an integral role in shaping the path that we choose to take in life. That rings true for Brooklyn-bred entrepreneur Donnel Baird. He has utilized his business as an avenue to create more jobs for people living in low-income communities and to spread awareness about environmental sustainability in neighborhoods like Harlem, the Bronx, Queens and his native Brooklyn.

Growing up in Brooklyn, Baird first-handedly experienced the perils of a community plagued by violence and drugs. Instead of falling into the negativity in his environment, his experiences inspired him to become an agent for change. Earlier this year he launched BlocPower, a start-up geared towards developing jobs and spreading awareness about the green movement in underprivileged communities throughout New York City.

“I think growing up there [in Brooklyn] I was afraid, but then at a certain point I decided that I wanted to do something about it. So that’s why I became a community organizer after college,” Baird told PBS. “I grew up in a really terrible community like that, but felt like I had a lot of resources and opportunities that many other kids, who were just as deserving, didn’t get. So I always wanted to give back.”

BlocPower, which Baird launched while finishing his studies at Columbia University’s business school, aids small-owned businesses and churches in finding ways to cut energy costs and increase energy efficiency. Baird assists these small businesses with financing and connects them to investors. In March, he conducted energy audits for businesses throughout the Harlem community. Since then he has expanded his outreach to Brooklyn, the South Bronx, Staten Island and Queens.

BlocPower also aims to create local jobs. Baird has joined forces with a Brooklyn-based organization called Green City Force, which trains young public housing residents on how to conduct energy efficiency evaluations. “We’re helping small businesses and nonprofits get access to funding for solar projects, while creating employment opportunities,” Baird said in an interview.

Read more about the green movement in Harlem on Meet Me Uptown.

Also On News One: