The Program

Description of Program

We are working on developing a standing corps, known as the Green Guardians, who is receiving training and tools to enable them to become highly visible public champions of environmental stewardship and peaceful urban living.

The Green Guardians program includes the following elements:

  1. Stipended interns will be carefully recruited to receive training in a wide range of green community development skills. The program will enjoy the collaboration of reputable non-profits, green enterprises, and city government agencies with specialized expertise that will be shared with the Green Guardian recruits. Each apprentice will be paid a stipend to attend all training and work sessions. They will also get connected to green career courses and professors at San Francisco State University and City College of San Francisco.
  1. In addition to their training activities, each apprentice will be tasked with (1) organizing activities in their neighborhood which can become the basis for neighborhood-based Green Guardian chapters, (2) liaising with the citywide Green Guardian program, and (3) recruiting volunteers for future expansion of the program.
  1. The apprentices will receive training in areas such as:
  • Public outreach and education, especially on energy and environmental issues;
  • Urban Greening practices;
  • Promotion of recycling and composting programs;
  • Green building technology and building energy audits;
  • Urban agriculture;
  • Volunteer recruitment, training and coordination;
  • Volunteer safety procedures; and
  • Nonviolent conflict resolution.
  1. Examples of Green Guardians work will include:
  • Street clean-ups and tree planting in collaboration with SF Green Connect and Friends of the Urban Forest;
  • Publicly interactive recycling/composting programs, including the dissemination of surveys to understand why people compost and recycle or why they fail to do so, in collaboration with the SF Department of Environment;
  • Public education actions and trainings in collaboration with the SF Urban Alliance for Sustainability; and
  • Participation in the large volunteer program that runs the SF Green Festival, an event that achieves a 96% diversion rate of waste;
  • Parties and recreational outings for youth to build a strong positive community that holds environmental sustainability and social justice as core values.
  1. Job training and placement will be provided for Guardians who stay with the program for a certain period of time and meet equal opportunity selection criteria.
  1. Additional incentives, such as Green Guardian T-shirts, free access to events, gratitude parties, local store/restaurant discounts will be used to encourage youth to participate in the Green Guardian program and to thank them for their efforts.
  1. To the greatest extent possible, the Green Guardians will be organized by neighborhood. The Guardians will work in the neighborhood in which they live, in order to achieve the maximum contact and interaction with individuals and organizations in their immediate community.

Value of the Program

  1. This program will assist the San Francisco Department of Environment ( to achieve its goal of “grow[ing] an enthusiastic, educated, sustainable group of residents dedicated to enhancing the experience of city living.” The Green Guardians will represent the diversity and varied interests of San Francisco’s neighborhoods. The incentives will encourage the Guardians to stay with the program, recruit other residents, and thereby build a skilled group of volunteers who can be tapped for community betterment programs.
  1. Specific work of the Guardians, including waste reduction surveys, will help SFEnvironment understand how to “increase residential composting and recycling rates” and will help with the implementation of waste reduction programs.
  1. Working with neighborhood youth will also build community around the principles and activities of the next economy: the green economy.
  1. The Guardians contribute directly to raising the quality of life in lower-income neighborhoods by educating and motivating the younger generation who will lead the movement toward a sustainable and just economy.
  1. High school students who complete the Green Guardians training will be assisted in enrolling in Green Careers courses at City College of San Francisco. We will also educate them about college scholarship opportunities at four-year colleges with strong environmental and green business programs.
  1. We will also help connect Green Guardians with internships, apprenticeships, and jobs at green companies, environmental non-profits, and government agencies. Our leadership role in the Green Festivals gives us access to several hundred green companies and environmental organizations.
  1. By training young people in green career skills we will diversify the labor pool for the growing number of green companies and environmental non-profits incubating in northern California.