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 20 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.


Summer 2017 Internship Outcomes:


  • Over 1,550 hours of service by 18 interns
  • Served 1275 community members
  • Engaged 46 internship site partners
  • Created 14 new materials that will be used by partner organizations
  •  Cared for over 7,300 plants

For previous years please visit our previous work page. 

2017 Partners

For more information contact


For 2018, funding has come from Spirit Mountain Community Fund , the Community Watershed Stewardship Program, Metro Nature in NeighborhoodsJuan Young Trust, CommuniCare at Metropolitan Learning Center, East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, 

 Video about Lents Youth Initiative:

Video Produced by LYI around Air Quality Monitoring Project: