the Neighborhood Design Center


November 29, 2023

Volunteer Spotlight: Portia Strahan

Since we work so closely with our volunteer community, understanding where their passions lie, their background, and how their skills and expertise can support our community partners is so important! 

Amazing partner and volunteer Portia Strahan, AIA, LEED AP, grew up in a church community in Prince George’s County where greeting your neighbor, fellowshipping with others, and volunteerism was essential. 

“I especially appreciated any type of hands-on volunteerism because, as an introverted person, I felt most comfortable engaging and getting to know people when I’m working alongside them.” 

Since volunteering with NDC, Portia has become even more passionate about her involvement with the community. “Especially with the black farming and outdoor community. It has deepened my connection with this land and its history. A lot has changed this past year as it relates to what I eat, how I think, the amount of time I spend outside, and how I design. I’m especially excited that one residential project this year will incorporate strawbale as a natural building material.”

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When reflecting on working with the NDC team, Portia says, “I love how they engage, listen and work with the community to create tangible improvements and outcomes. What’s best is that they bring so much positivity and warmth to what they do. I love working with them.”

One of the projects Portia worked on was a project for Joe’s Movement Emporium. The team of volunteers was able to help center Joe’s story and focused on telling it in a way that aligned with the partner’s vision. The design supported children playing, families enjoying a performance, and environmental innovation and stewardship. 

Thank you, Portia, for being such a stellar designer, collaborator, and team member!