This program focuses on building relationships and working with over 450 youth residents (of all ages) on affordable, multi-family housing sites each month. Based on listening and building relationships, the weekly after-school program is focused on learning about community, nature, and recycling and waste prevention through experiential, hands-on activities. During COVID-19, we have been focusing on safety for our staff and community members by delivering hands-on, sustainability activity kits and hosting outdoor activities.
We also work closely with residents, resident services coordinators, and property managers to collaboratively host community nights and listening sessions, and provide civic engagement and low-barrier job opportunities, such as the Environmental Promoter program.
The Environmental Promoter program was born out of multifamily residents’ expressed frustration and dissatisfaction with their waste and recycling systems, and a desire to learn more and have a direct hand in improving those systems. In partnership with residents, Metro, local governments, and community-based organizations, we provide trainings (based on popular education methodology) for interested residents to learn more about recycling, waste prevention, and healthy homes.
They are then given the opportunity to be paid to create their own self-identified projects and outreach to share this information with their own communities. Our team provides support, guidance, and connections to resources to help promoters complete their projects and/or keep them going in the community indefinitely!
This program has provided employment and leadership development opportunities to over 80 multifamily residents ages 12-75.
Projects include tabling, hosting clothing swap, bulky waste, and green cleaning events, sustainability carnivals, enclosure audits and updating signage, going door-to-door, creating and selling art out of trash and recyclable materials (such as piñatas), and more.
Residents have also contributed to policy improvements, including the 2030 regional waste plan, the new modernizing recycling bill, and so much more.
Our most recent cohort of Environmental Promoters from New Columbia
We worked with 11 adults and 13 youth, who reached thousands of their fellow community members with information relating to waste prevention, recycling, healthy homes, including helping lead 3 bulky waste events that removed tons of materials from the property.
Working with Environmental Promoters, we collaborate with the City of Gresham and the City of Portland to provide outreach about recycling and waste prevention to multifamily housing sites in East Multnomah county, through a community-based lense. This includes support with recycling outreach and education, bulky and food waste reduction, collection events, and more.
Recycling and trash at multifamily enclosures is often inadequate and confusing! Our goals are to help make it more effective and equitable from the perspective of community members.