The 49th Ward became a little more green and the utility bills of some 49th Ward seniors became a little more manageable when the 49th Ward Green Corps Action Team on Saturday distributed and installed free energy-efficient light bulbs to the residents of the Gateway Senior Citizen Building, 7450 N. Rogers.
The Green Corps Action Team consists of long-time respected leaders in the environmental movement and neighborhood residents, who answered my call last summer for volunteers interested in making the 49thWard a model community for environmentally-friendly living. They agreed to complete a training program and put their skills to work on individual and team projects within the 49th Ward.
The light bulb give-away project was the brainchild of the Green Corps, which has been meeting in my office for the last month and a half, learning about the latest environmental initiatives and brainstorming about how to achieve our dream of an environmentally sustainable community.
As a result of the light bulb give-away, the Gateway seniors will save hundreds of dollars on their electric bills over the next several years. Green Corps members just didn’t hand out light bulbs, however. They explained to the seniors both the cost savings and environmental benefits of receiving the new bulbs. And they offered to install the light bulbs in their residences, all free of charge.
This was just the first of what promises to be a series of exciting green-friendly service projects in the 49thWard. Just last month, six Green Corps Action Team members were accepted into the City of Chicago’s Conservation Corps Leader Training Program, an intensive five-week program that trains and supports a network of volunteers to establish environmental service programs in Chicago’s neighborhoods.
In the meantime, the remaining Green Corps members met every Saturday morning at my Ward Service Office to devise a more customized training, which will culminate in a day-long local Conservation Corps in-service training in the 49th Ward in early November.
I’m incredibly inspired by this energetic group. Not many people would get up early every Saturday for an 8 a.m. meeting and then further commit to ongoing projects. I am honored to work with them and eager to see where they will go from here.
The Green Corps Action Team members will be guided by some of the most respected leaders in the environmental movement, who have agreed to lend their advice and expertise to this energetic group.
Among those lending a hand are Debra Shore, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner;Howard Learner, Director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center; Sadhu Johnston, Deputy Chief-of-Staff to Mayor Daley and former Commissioner of the City’s Department of Environment; Manda Aufochs Gillespie, author of the Green Mama blog; Betsy Vandercook , my Chief-of-Staff and President of the Chicago Recycling Coalition; Sue Lannin of the Sierra Club; Bill Eyring of the Center for Neighborhood Technology; Jeff Smith, longtime environmental activist; Jennifer Clarke, Director of Community Relations for Loyola University; Katy Hogan, co-owner of the Heartland Café; Claudia Regojo, co-owner of Greenmaker Building Supply; and Pam and Lan Richart, Co-Directors of the Eco-Justice Collaborative.
The Green Corps already has preliminary plans for a series of community workshops early next year, culminating in Earth Day and Arbor Day Actions.
If you are interested in becoming a part of the 49th Ward Green Corps Action Team , please contact my Chief-of-Staff, Betsy Vandercook (President of the Chicago Recycling Coalition), at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-338-5796.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Very truly yours,
P.S. If you are interested a obtaining a few of the energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs free of charge, please stop by my 49th Ward Service Office at 7356 N. Greenview. We’re open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wendesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.,; and Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.