Bree Hassell graduated from Albany Leadership in 2014, and since then has been making a positive impact in the Capital Region. After high school, Bree attended Skidmore College in Saratoga, NY. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work.  Bree’s undergraduate education coupled with professional experience in youth education and development has inspired The Albany Rock Project for which Bree has received the DEC grant for arts and culture programming.

The Albany Rock Project (ARP) is a creative initiative that uses hand-painted rocks to improve community engagement through the painting, hiding, keeping, and re-hiding of the rocks in local parks and tourist attractions across the City of Albany. Bree’s focus is to use the DEC grant to collaborate with area schools to educate young people about visual arts but also about social media marketing and community engagement from a new and unique perspective.

The Albany Rock Project was inspired by Bree’s work as an educator in another state and coupled with the desire to return to the Albany area to support hometown students during the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bree hopes that the project will not only support physical activity, visual arts education, and mindfulness among Albany youth, but will also help to expand advertising and exposure for local businesses (specifically black-owned), tourist attractions, and hidden gems throughout the city.

When asked how past educational experiences influenced Bree’s current success, the original Albany Leadership slogan “One Leader Changes Everything” became a focal point of the conversation.

Albany Leadership’s slogan “One Leader Changes Everything” was something that my teachers required us to write down, to say, and memorize. I really do believe that. I think my belief in this slogan back then and now has motivated me to seek unique opportunities and to encourage others to do the same. The meaning behind this slogan at Albany Leadership made a positive impact on me and drives me to carry on the responsibility of being a leader in my community who does make those changes”.

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