Articles, Blog

Citi Foundation: Green City Force: Helping Youth Help the Planet

November 19, 2019


LISBETH SHEPHERD: In New York City,
35% of 18-24-year-olds are out of school or unemployed. The problem is even more acute
in public housing, which is home
to 1 in 14 New Yorkers. ♪♪ Public Housing is a natural partner
for Green City Force, because it concentrates
both need and opportunity. We recruit all our member to drive
large-scale green initiatives, within public housing communities. ♪♪ DOMINGO MORALES:
Before Green City Force, I was working over 70 hours a week
at a dead-end job, and I wasn’t making a livable wage. I had the work ethic,
but I didn’t know what to do with it. Green City Force gave me
the opportunity to find out what I wanted from life. With the training I received,
I was able to land my current job as an Organics Recovery Coordinator
in the heart of Brooklyn. SHEPHERD: Our city needs
the young people who live in public housing. They are the future of work.
They are the future of our city. Young people close to problems,
have the solutions. For most of my adolescence, I was in and out
of the foster care system. MORALES: When I hit 18,
I aged out of my group home, and moved back in with my mom
to take care of her. She is unable to work, so she needs someone
to help her stay positive. Now, I am actually earning
a livable wage, I can help my mother with her bills, and better provide my children
with what they need. Community based organizations
have been at the forefront of transforming cities in the U.S. Block by block,
neighborhood by neighborhood. As a Community Progress Maker,
Green City Force is doing just that. By leveraging its relationships
across sectors, and plugging into the needs
of New York City youth living in public housing. The Community Progress Makers Fund provides significant
general operating support and technical assistance. It’s a package
that so many organizations need. Citi Foundation’s support has given us the chance to have flexibility
to innovate and to dream big. ♪♪ MORALES: I remember
when I first found out, that I’d be working on a farm
in Brooklyn, I thought,
“There are no farms in Brooklyn.” It’s actually inviting for people
to come here, and that’s one thing that I love
about working here, is seeing the difference, that this farm makes
in this community. One day I want to have my own
compost site right here in the city. ♪♪

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