Wednesday, April 07, 2004

INNOVATIVE NONPROFIT IN WASHINGTON, DC


Today I want to let you know about an innovative nonprofit organization in Washington, DC: Shaw EcoVillage.

Since 1998, SEV has trained hundreds of at-risk kids to be leaders in improving their neighborhoods through environmentally sustainable economic development. SEV is helping the environment and helping build strong communities by helping kids.

Through its Chain Reaction Youth Bike Shop and Eco-Design Corps programs, SEV is making a substantial impact on the youth and the urban environment in Washington, DC.

Chain Reaction promotes alternative transportation and youth development while adding to the economic base of underserved communities in DC. Through Chain Reaction, SEV provides a constructive outlet for kids through its after-school Earn-A-Bike and Going Places summer camp programs, and through employment and skills training in the youth-run bike shop. Chain Reaction is also recycling bikes—to keep waste out of landfills and incinerators, and to keep people moving on affordable transportation. The bike shop helps thousands of customers each year keep on pedaling, all while kids gain the confidence and self esteem earned through hard work and enterprise.

Eco-Design Corps empowers high school students to take charge and participate in the development of urban space. Working in teams, these youths receive micro-grants to develop and implement urban design projects in central DC. Past and ongoing EDC projects include building green roofs and installing rain barrels around the city that recycle water, increase green space, and reduce pollution from storm run-off; building community gardens to grow fresh fruits and vegetables for homeless shelters; building pedestrian bridges to help commuters link up human-powered and public transportation; and helping preserve historical landmarks and developing a cultural history tour of the Shaw neighborhood, once the “Harlem of Washington, DC.”

I have been volunteering with Shaw EcoVillage for the past three years, and am continually amazed watching the organization grow and the kids transforming the neighborhood before our very eyes. While youth, staff and volunteers working with Shaw EcoVillage have made a huge impact to date, the demand for SEV’s programs and services is strong and outpacing our capacity to provide them.

We have the potential to do much, much more, and today I want to ask you to join our team by making a contribution toward our goal of raising $50,000 to move into a new, bigger facility where we can have the space to serve more kids, to expand our programming, and to keep growing in our work of helping build strong, sustainable communities by helping kids. Your support is essential to our mission:

$150 provides one youth all the resources to participate in our Earn-A-Bike program (including the bicycle and a helmet)

$100 provides the opportunity for one kid to participate in our Going Places summer camp

$75 buys seedlings for three planting beds in our community garden

$50 builds and installs one rain barrel

$25 provides snacks for one week of after school programs

Please contribute online here or contact Noel Petrie: sev.noelpetrie@verizon.net.

Thank you.

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