As Communications facilitator of Grand Aspirations, I am featuring local programs to paint a picture of the diversity of solutions young people are building across the country. This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tim Krueger and Nora Graubard, two of the program leaders for Cleveland SoS. The other program leaders are Erika Zarowin, Ben Shapiro, and Phoebe Flaherty.
Leaders of Cleveland Summer of Solutions focus on connecting participants and interns with the broad network of organizations in Cleveland already working on issues of community development and sustainability.
Summer of Solutions in Cleveland is a project of the Ohio Student Environmental Coalition (OSEC). This coalition is a statewide network of student groups that work together to create a clean, safe, and just future. Participants in this program will be hired as interns of the OSEC, and will participate in as many aspects of the summer as they choose.
Members of the OSEC at their most recent retreat
The program’s main initiative is an energy efficiency project with the potential to effect change across the city.
Cleveland is an amazing city, with wonderful city officials to go with it. The goal of these elected officials is to weatherize every home in Cleveland in the next nine years. They are therefore partnering with SoS to collect data on weatherization in two key neighborhoods – Detroit-Shoreway and Clark Metro.
Participants will schedule interviews with residents of these blocks, collect data about receptivity to weatherization, residents’ income levels, and how much work is needed on the homes. As well as gathering information, participants will also teach residents about weatherization and energy efficiency.
After these interviews have been conducted, solutionaries will figure out what programs residents may be eligible for. This kind of follow-up will continue throughout the summer, with participants constantly striving to find the best way to meet the needs of residents, and by personally weatherizing homes.
Residents of Cleveland face the problem of food inaccessibility. Sometimes, Clevelandites have to travel across several neighborhoods to get to a grocery store. Many organizations throughout Cleveland have started up to focus on food availability, and gardening is one of the tactics employed to solve this problem. Though Cleveland is a national leader in urban gardening projects, there is still more work to be done.
Because the growing season is fairly short, one project is to look into forms of alternative agriculture and food justice initiatives that will last longer than the original growing season. In particular, they will be exploring straw-bale greenhouses on the East Side of Cleveland, near the Detroit-Shoreway and Clark Metro neighborhoods.
Cleveland Summer of Solutions is a multi-faceted program designed to make a sound, green future available to everyone. By focusing on these two neighborhoods in particular, solutionaries will be able to make dynamic, personalized changes to problems that are very real. Tim, Nora, Erika, Phoebe, and Ben are incredibly excited to meet the participants in the program, and to get the program running!
If you have specific questions about Cleveland SoS, contact the team at osecsummer [@] gmail [.] com.
If you know you would like to apply for this or any other Summer of Solutions program, please go here.
The priority deadline for application has already passed, but the program will be accepting applicants until April 19th.