The Lents Youth Initiative benefits our whole community using a three-pronged approach:
a) offer hands-on leadership, education, and career development opportunities for underserved neighborhood youth
b) increase the capacity of local organizations to complete projects that address issues of ecological and human health, environmental justice and equity
c) increase social and environmental capital in the neighborhood through LYI partnerships.
By creating a vehicle for community groups to collaborate on projects and attracting youth to support those projects, LYI acts to focus, amplify and catalyze existing community improvement work while cultivating a new generation of environmental justice leaders in East Portland.
In the spring, youth are recruited through various avenues, including ROSE affordable housing, schools, and a network of community partners. Up to 25 youth participants receive 30+ hours of leadership training, environmental justice training, and career development through the Youth Empowerment Series.
In the summer, up to 15 summer interns are hired to lead projects and collectively contribute hundreds of hours to projects that benefit the neighborhood through community-based partnerships. Projects include habitat restoration, increasing community food access, sustainability awareness, community art projects, and youth-led initiatives. LYI continues to engage youth through monthly gatherings that deepen community connections, build leadership, and contribute to program planning.
Video about Lents Youth Initiative:
Summer 2016 Internship Outcomes:
- Over 1,200 hours of service by Interns
- Conducted over 350 surveys
- Engaged 145 community volunteers
- Held 17 workshops and work parties
- 102 youth engaged through workshops
- Connected with 156 neighbors in various activities
- Assessed 7 ROSE Sites for potential future projects
- Cared for over 3000 trees, shrubs and native plants at 16 sites
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For 2016, funding has come from Spirit Mountain Community Fund ($32,000), East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District ($32,000), the Community Watershed Stewardship Program ($7,100), the Herbert A Templeton Foundation ($10,000) and Metro Nature in Neighborhoods ($35,000). In 2015, LYI was funded by the Bullitt Foundation.
Video Produced by LYI around Air Quality Monitoring Project: