Over the course of four to ten months, 47 young NYCHA residents from 31 developments served their fellow residents; by managing the Authority’s six Farms at NYCHA sites, distributing free organic produce, or going door-to-door to collect recyclables, they worked together to help make NYCHA communities greener and healthier.
On April 12, those residents, Corps Members of Green City Force’s (GCF) cohorts 17 and 18, were celebrated at a graduation ceremony held at 32BJ SEIU headquarters in Manhattan.
GCF is an AmeriCorps program that provides NYCHA residents ages 18 to 24 with full-time service projects, training and education on sustainability and green technologies, a stipend, free transportation, and assistance with job and college placement. Approximately 480 NYCHA residents have graduated from the program, and many are currently working in the green industry.
At the ceremony, the audience of family, friends, and GCF partners heard how this group of graduates is truly a force to be reckoned with. (Watch highlights of the cohorts in action here.)
Here’s What They Accomplished:
Over 61,600 hours of service in NYCHA communities.
Farms at NYCHA:
- Operated and maintained all six Farms at NYCHA at Red Hook, Howard, Bay View, Wagner, Forest, and Mariner’s Harbor Houses.
- Launched the inaugural seasons at both Forest Houses Farm in the Bronx and Mariner’s Harbor Houses Farm on Staten Island.
- Distributed 24,400 pounds of free organic produce to NYCHA residents in exchange for compostables or volunteer time.
- Collected over 5,900 pounds of compostable waste from NYCHA residents.
- Provided more than 1,640 K-12 students with farm-based education.
- Held special events, such as cooking demonstrations and Harvest Festivals.
NYCx Co-Lab Zero Waste Brownsville Challenge
Partnering with the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, Corps Members worked with Mothers on the Move and EcoRich on two new pilot programs for public housing residents at Brownsville Houses in Brooklyn, the first-ever door-to-door recycling pickup at NYCHA and the first-ever compostable waste drop-off stations at NYCHA.
- Collected 8,000 pounds of recyclable waste
- Collected 860 pounds of organic waste from residents that was turned into compost on-site at Brownsville
NYCHA’s Interim Chair and CEO Kathryn Garcia told the graduates how proud she was of them: “The work you’ve done is incredibly important for residents and communities today, but it will also have a lasting impact on NYCHA and the planet.”
Two graduating members shared with the audience about how GCF service changed their lives and what their next steps are. Cohort 17 graduate speaker Justin Baker said: “While we touched the lives of thousands of residents, we evolved into a better us. Speaking on our service and what we want for our futures became fluid; we were becoming forward thinkers, leaders, and trailblazers for our generation and we didn’t realize it.” Mr. Baker, a resident of Richmond Terrace Houses, will be Project Coordinator of the Mariner’s Harbor Farm.
Cohort 18 graduate speaker Kayla Trammell said: “When I started this program, admittedly, I saw service as something I was going to lose, maybe time or sleep…Green City Force was this wonderful journey where I was helping NYCHA communities by providing them a crucial service. I now see that service means exploring how we are all connected, what it actually means to see someone else’s problem as a part of our narrative, something you feel responsible for.” Ms. Trammell, a resident of Ingersoll Houses, will be a landscaper at Harrison Green, a green landscaping firm based in Brooklyn.
To learn more about Green City Force, visit: www.greencityforce.org.