Eco-Education and Leadership Initiatives
The Green Guardians is a green career track that recruits young people with leadership potential and trains them in green community service skills such as recycling, composting, tree planting, green building technology, web skills, urban agriculture, conflict resolution, public education, and other important career skills.
Using environmental service learning, the Green Guardians conducts community improvement projects that raise the quality of life while avoiding gentrification. As they become a presence in the neighborhood, the Green Guardian teams—with branded shirts, jackets and hats—have a positive security impact on the streets, promoting nonviolent resolution of conflicts.
We started with youth at Mission High School in San Francisco due to our long-term collaborative relationship with the principal, staff and students there. We are initially focusing on recruiting a core group of diverse, low-income San Franciscans who would otherwise not get the opportunity to develop a secure career track. This group is being trained to become trainers who can then go out and train more trainers, and so on, spreading their greening skills throughout San Francisco, the Bay Area and eventually the state. By connecting talented people with green organizations that can impart technical and social skills, and connecting them to green career courses at City College of San Francisco, we are creating a green workforce development program with potential ramifications across the country.