We are excited to introduce our 2013 programs, which include 10 Summer of Solutions programs (8 returning and 2 new), 5 programs that are both Summer of Solutions and Local Initiatives, 5 new Local Initiatives, and 2 Hubs. Here is a map of all of the program locations, from New York to Arkansas to California. And did you know that we have our first international program this year, located in Sofia, Bulgaria?
Take a look at the amazing work being planned below!
Summer of Solutions Programs are a training ground for participants and a launching pad for the Solutionary vision. With the support of local partnerships and a national network of fellow solutionaries, participants create self-sustaining projects that have a direct impact on their communities and that serve as models for others to build on.
- Chicago, IL (LETSGO Chicago) (returning) stands for Leading the Energy Transition, Sprouting Green Opportunities. Utilizing their community house and gardening area as a neighborhood gathering and exhibition space, they maximize resources and partner to collectively find local solutions to global concerns. LETSGO Chicago hopes to be a model for transformative change engaging in projects such as urban yard sharing, home retrofitting, small-scale renewable energy opportunities, and increasing awareness and access of healthy, local food.
- Detroit, MI (Hope for GREEN Movement) aims to see a day where Detroit is known as a sustainable place to work, live, and build healthy families while developing principles on waste reduction, energy efficiency and conservation and educating the community about the effects of climate change and environmental injustice. They seek to foster an environment for growth, leadership development, and advocacy for environmental and climate justice for young people and communities of color with a special emphasis on the progression of women.
- Hartford, CT (returning) is a food justice and youth-leadership-development program. They are a youth-led organization that offers training in leadership skills, community organizing and urban agriculture. One of their primary objectives is to empower young people as innovators in social justice movements and the green economy and give them the tools and experience to create their own solutions to environmental injustice. SoS Hartford is committed to addressing food injustice – the broader structures that restrict access to healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate food.
- Iowa City, IA (returning) is uniting the community around principles of conscientious consumerism, environmental education and local energy solutions in pursuit of a more sustainable future. They identified three needs within their community around which they developed three projects: unequal accessibility to home weatherization resources, a lack of unity in community gardening efforts, and a disconnect between art/creativity and environmentalism/sustainability.
- Ithaca, NY believes in collaborative visioning and program building efforts. Working with community partners, they will provide weekly trainings for young people on organizing, anti-oppression, and community building, organize discussion-based lectures and workshops on local, regional and statewide climate and social justice issues, create a plan for a new community center, and help build a vision and organizing plan for a just and sustainable local economy.
- Johnson City, TN (Build It Up Eastern Tennessee) (returning) has a mission to improve the health of their community and economy and help preserve their region’s cultural heritage through the promotion of local, sustainably grown food. They aim to provide producers with greater access to markets and resources and to provide consumers greater access to affordable, nutritious food twelve months a year.
- Lexington, KY (Full Circles Foundation) (returning) is a long-term, holistic empowerment track for girls with high potential who face institutionalized obstacles—present or anticipated—to their health, economic security, and/or domestic safety. Through their community-driven programs, they grow strong girls, a fair economy, and a healthy earth. Full Circles Foundation’s main project is the Strong Camp, a community-powered summer camp where girls explore the importance of and connections between having strong selves, strong neighbors, and a strong home.
- Oakland, CA (returning) will give youth an opportunity to let their voices be heard and create solutions for their community’s, while also helping others be aware of the importance of the global, economic, and social problems that affect us. Their major project is an 8-week summer camp that will include many workshops such as art, poetry, gardening, drumming, Oakland history and much more.
- Raleigh, NC (Full Circles Foundation) (returning) will continue the Strong Camp program, a community-powered summer camp where girls explore the importance of and connections between having strong selves, strong neighbors, and a strong home. They are also hoping to add a Green Apprentice component to the program this year.
- Southern West Virginia (Build It Up West Virginia) (returning) is dedicated to building alternatives to coal, which is an economic stronghold decimating communities. They plan to organize more projects in agriculture and renewable energy and efficiency this year, in addition to continuing many of their partnerships and projects from previous years.
Summer of Solutions and Local Initiatives
- Arleta, CA plans to work with local elementary, middle, and high schools to expand education by running outdoor living classrooms located in school gardens. Their intention is to create curriculum that will exceed the districts standards and show students that there are many different ways to learn other than in a conventional indoor classroom setting. They also want to serve as an example to youth that those who want to make a move toward a stronger, more tight knit community can do so if one has the drive. Another plan they have in store is to try working with or creating a community garden in Arleta.
- Little Rock, AR is a youth-led environmental justice project. The organization will run an 8-week summer program in which youth participants (ages 16 to 26) work to develop and maintain community gardens and urban farms, educate community residents and young children, assess homes for eco-toxins and energy efficiency upgrades, stabilize streams in the Fourche Creek watershed, help with the development of The Commons Environmental Justice Center, and research to turn their summer projects into sustainable social businesses.
- Middleton, WI (Growing Food and Sustainability) (returning) is a youth-led, community-based sustainability initiative. They engage elementary, middle and high school youth in hands-on environmental education through food production, nutrition, cooking, art, biking, and multi-age relationship building. The program includes a Summer Garden Camp for elementary through high school youth, an after school program, internships, leadership development training, a bike-powered compost service, and weekly community workdays and potlucks.
- Twin Cities, MN (returning) is committed to the principles of social entrepreneurship and anti-oppression in the course of building a green economy. They work for urban agriculture, green manufacturing, energy efficiency, and sustainable transit. Through their local initiative, Our Power, they are cutting energy bills by ending energy waste, investing in projects that help the community save more energy and produce clean local energy, and building our power so the community has more ownership and control over how its energy is produced, managed, and used.
- Washington, D.C. is an inter-generational program in the Trinidad neighborhood that will use the community food system as a tool to give youth and college students the opportunity to build life skills such as active learning, self-reliance, and healthy living. This project seeks to create a more sustainable food system by empowering those directly impacted by the negative effects of the industrial food system. They will facilitate an 8-week summer program and year-long after-school program for middle and high school youth. Recognizing the wisdom that the elderly have to share, the college students and youth will visit a senior home weekly for a community luncheon.
Local Initiatives are year-round sites of solutionary work where emerging leaders focus on designing, testing, and replicating innovative solutions in the green economy. They are, in essence, launching pads for new community project models that could be replicated elsewhere.
- Hapeville, GA (Farming Bards) believes that once we learn how to look into each other’s eyes, dance to the sound of music in each other’s hearts, and listen to the whispers of our lonely Earth who is gently aging, we can truly come together to make a difference. Farming Bards designs and directs Green Theatre that gives faces and voices to the urgent needs of our planet– such as growing our own food, engaging in organic farming practices, and eradicating the epidemic of loneliness.
- Highland Park, MI (Soulardarity) aims to install 200 solar streetlights in the neighborhood over the next 5 years. With help from the Highland Park United Neighborhood Association, block clubs, the police force, the city government, and concerned citizens, we will select locations to improve safety, business activity, and the outside image of the city. Their goal is is to create a community economy that generates its own wealth, powers its homes, grows its food, and is a center of music and art.
- Reno, NV will help youth learn about the local green economy by organizing field trips to local green businesses and energy companies and by hosting speakers. They will also lead energy efficiency education programs.
- Sofia, Bulgaria is creating an urban beekeeping demonstration project. They want to create a space where people of all age can get acquainted with the bees, their role in the ecosystem, the most common threads to their survival, and of course get inspired by their hierarchy, organization, and efficiency. They also want to empower folks to create value for themselves and their neighborhoods, and encourage interaction between professionals, teachers, young people, and neighbors.
- Southwest Virginia aims to increase sustainability initiatives and projects and to build a network of active youth while developing young local leaders. Their projects include developing a community-owned wind project, organizing youth programs and activities, starting a community garden, supporting the start of Appalachia’s very own Farmers Market, and turning a community house into a hub of home-scale sustainability that can be an example for other homes in the area.
Hubs are regionally-based chapters and partnerships that serve as centers for the innovation and growth of community-based solutions in their region.
- The Minnesota Hub, located in Minneapolis, is a regional center for green economy innovation. They provide experiential, project-oriented training for Solutionary leaders through the Twin Cities Summer of Solutions program and the MN Solutionaries in Residence, an opportunity for individuals to spend a month or longer honing and developing their skills as green economy organizers. They commit to an intensive training experience geared to meet their specific needs for growth. The Hub also runs Fee-For-Service Training and Consulting, providing training and consulting for businesses, non-profits, community initiatives, and individuals who are developing green economy projects.
- The Northwest Institute for Community Enrichmentis a volunteer led organization that coordinates support for local groups in developing creative and effective community organizing techniques, and in innovating and implementing community-based solutions in the Pacific Northwest. By working with communities to provide a solution oriented venue for jump-starting or moving forward efforts to create local sustainable communities, the NICE will act as a catalyst for real change towards a future that is sustainable, just, and prosperous for all.