We recently facilitated a “Closing the Racial Wealth Divide” workshop for the summer staff of three youth-serving environmental organizations: Youth Conservation Corps, Groundworks Somerville, and Hyde Park Green Team.
The Youth Conservation Corps, a part of the National Park Service, connects environmentally conscious youth to paid conservation, environmental stewardship, and civic responsibility work opportunities. Groundworks Somerville is a teen employment program working on projects promoting urban agriculture, environmental justice, and civic engagement. Similarly, Hyde Park interns also work on life-changing projects and gain invaluable experiences through participation in the Green Team’s job readiness and environmental stewardship program.
We tailored the workshops to each specific youth-serving organization after first speaking with the host organization about their goals for the workshop. Following our Racial Wealth Divide workshop, we asked how these organizations might apply UFE’s training and social justice resources in their unique communities and their own contexts of working with youth for sustainability and environmental justice.
This was more than just an educational training. Through these discussions, something truly amazing happened. At the beginning, a number of youth workers reported frequently feeling hopeless and pessimistic about the current moment. By the end of the workshop staffers still admitted this, but rather than the burn-out they had described previously, they now expressed a renewed desire to work together to find solutions and take action.
One particularly impactful part of the training was when we discussed a video about the “Just Transition,” which you can check out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIzV_r398dU&t=6s. Using open-ended questions, we asked folks to reflect on how this knowledge can be used in their work.
What do you think? Was this video helpful for your own movement building work, too? Let us know in the comments!