Star of Brooklyn: Hazel Foster




COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:  Volunteering isn’t anything new to Community Board 17 member Hazel Foster; to her, it’s the norm.  The 83-year-old Jamaican, who has lived in Flatbush for over 39 years, has been lending the neighborhood institutions a helping hand for as long as she can remember.

Being involved with various organizations is something Foster is known for. She is on the board of directors at Neighborhood Housing Services of East Flatbush, is the former president of the 300 East 25th Street Block Association, and is a master composter at Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

Foster also was appointed to the Neighborhood Advisory Board by the Department of Youth & Community Development and has been the president of the Usher Board at Blessed Holy Church NY for over 20 years. Those are just a few pieces of her voluntary background.

Her work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Foster was recognized as Senior of the Year by New York State Office for the Aging and State Senator Kevin Parker. Hundreds submitted a bio to the agency but she was selected to receive a plaque that honored her for her extensive amount of community work.

CAREER: Currently retired, Foster was a credit analyst during her final years of labor, but her career didn’t start off on that path.

Starting in the field of education, Foster was a teacher when she lived in Jamaica. After her move to the states, she switched to accounting. She says, “I didn’t think about the money. I thought of how I can make a contribution; that’s what I do.”

MOTIVATION:  Foster volunteers strictly for the sake of humanity. Showing that it’s in her blood, Foster has been volunteering since her days of living in Jamaica. “Too many of us are not really helping the community,” said Foster.  “There are so many people out there today who have no concern about the people around them.”

Other people’s lack of concern is what fuels her drive, but she believes that problems arise when people aren’t volunteering for the right reasons. “Some don’t have the passion for it,” states Foster. “Some are doing it for themselves instead of the community.”

PERSONAL LIFE: Foster moved to Brooklyn from the island of Jamaica in 1959 in hopes of seeing what it had to offer. “You’re just migrating to see the other side,” said Foster. “You hang onto it if it’s good. I didn’t come with the intention of staying.”

Foster is widowed, but she isn’t lonely since she has a large family. With four daughters, nine grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren Foster, is at the peak of her living family tree. Her off-springs are supportive of her and they themselves are following in her footsteps of voluntary work as well.


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