STORIES OF ACTION

Interconnected communities are dramatically changing the way local organizations, community leaders, and everyday citizens work together. The results can be seen in these neighborhoods – and in the faces of their residents. We’re assembling these Stories of Action to inspire other communities nationwide. If you know of a community that should be in the spotlight, do let us know.

 
 

NEW YORK CITY

Green City Force
 

A sustainable future for young adults

Across New York’s public housing communities, young adults are knocking on neighbors’ doors to hand out recycling bags and teach folks how to use them. They're also growing and harvesting organic produce for residents at farms in the center of the housing developments. It’s all part of the Green City Force mission to engage young residents in service while training them for careers in the green economy. They’re creating an interconnected community by empowering young adults to live sustainable lives as they build the green city that all New Yorkers want to see. 

Green City Force's model is based on partnership. It brings together the reputation of AmeriCorps, the assets of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), and an array of public and private partners to improve the environment, boost the urban economy, and invest in the next generation of changemakers. Green City Force's AmeriCorps members are recruited from the public housing communities they serve. These young adults, who live closest to the issues, take a leading role in addressing them.


Job Training

Offering a full-time service year to unemployed young adults, which allows them to develop job skills and gain hands-on work experience with ongoing coaching.

Food & Nutrition

Growing and distributing organic produce to local residents through five active large-scale farms within NYCHA communities. 

Sustainability

Performing in-home audits, energy and water efficiency upgrades, and recycling programs. Implementing large-scale energy efficiency contracts through GCF's Social Enterprise group.

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Education

Teaching young adults about the benefits of a sustainable lifestyle and training them to practice and promote this lifestyle through the Love Where You Live education program created for NYCHA residents. 

Outreach

Promoting a shared sense of community among NYCHA residents, with Green City Force members acting as credible messengers and ambassadors encouraging sustainable behaviors.

Outcomes in New York City

 
 

500+ 

Service Corps members across 15 cohorts, promoting sustainability in public housing. 

 19,800 lbs

of organic produce grown
in our NYCHA farms and
distributed to local residents.

93%

job or college placement
of Cohort 12 graduates, and
86% of Cohort 13 graduates.

 
 
 

40+ 

GCF Social Enterprise employees creating strong career pathways for Service Corps graduates.

45,000

LED bulbs installed in 2017 by the GCF “Illuminators” team in 11,000 NYCHA apartments.

 
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ATLANTA

Purpose Built Communities
 

Transforming places. Improving lives. 

In Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood, the local Drew Charter School consistently ranks among the Top 10 schools in the district, and has done so for over a decade with one of the largest populations of low-income students in the city. It’s just one of the ways the Purpose Built Communities model has helped transform this high-crime neighborhood, and others like it across the country, into places to call home. They’ve done it by focusing on housing, education, and wellness simultaneously, using an integrated and sustainable approach to community revitalization.

The process starts with a singular non-profit designated to coordinate all aspects of the revitalization and to leverage the expertise of established local partners. In Atlanta, the East Lake Foundation served as this “community quarterback” and coordinated the redevelopment of affordable housing, partnerships for health and wellness programs (with the YMCA and a nearby golf course), early learning centers, a new charter school, and a range of other educational programs. PHOTOS: Courtesy of East Lake Foundation

 

Neighborhood

Focused in a well-defined neighborhood. By changing the place, we change outcomes for the people who live there. 

Leadership

Established a “community quarterback” non-profit organization to lead the revitalization. The East Lake Foundation brings together community members, builds partnerships, and secures funding to ensure the implementation of all aspects of the community vision.

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Housing

Developed high-quality, mixed income housing, with safe, walkable streets and community engagement programs for residents. 

Education

Created an “education pipeline” with a cradle-to-college philosophy, including early learning, K-12 charter school, afterschool programs, scholarships, and college readiness coaching. 

Wellness

Brought programs and facilities to promote healthy lifestyles and create jobs, including micro-entrepreneurship programs, a full-service YMCA, the Healthy Connections support program, and a grocery store.

Outcomes in the East Lake Neighborhood of Atlanta

 

1,500

residents living in
542 best-in-class mixed
income apartments.

97%

reduction in violent crime
in the Villages of East Lake
Community since 1995

100%

high school graduation rate in 2017
at Drew Charter School in East Lake,
with 100% college acceptance rate.

 
 

90% 

reached goals for recommended
treatment among individuals targeted
for disease management.

98% 

of 3rd-8th grade students meet
or exceed state math standards, and
99% meet or exceed reading standards.

 
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