LEADS Youth Fuel Citywide Greening Efforts

Homewood and Oakland Teens Join Forces

Ten to twelve Oakland teenagers who make up the Oakland Green Team, a group of youth who participate in OPDC’s summer youth greening program, LEADS: Learning Environmental and Developmental Sustainability. OPDC has designed the LEADS program to teach young people skills and expertise in greening and about how good greening practices can impact the health of a community.

The LEADS youth are going outside of Oakland this month, learning not only about greening but also about how other Pittsburgh neighborhoods are engaging youth in community sustainability initiatives. Operation Better Block (OBB), a Homewood organization, has teamed up with OPDC to facilitate an education exchange between the LEADS youth and their Homewood counterpart, the Junior Green Corps. [frame_right][/frame_right]

“OPDC is really excited to partner with OBB on this project. Our organizations have deep roots in our respective communities and this is a great opportunity to come together in order to support our youth.  Oakland’s LEADS youth and Homewood’s Junior Green Corps have been working hard all summer and have done a fantastic job of ‘greening up’ their communities. These tours and youth-led workshops are a chance to let the youth show off their projects and share knowledge with each other,” says Tara Sherry-Torres, OPDC’s Community Organizer.

The Junior Green Corps has worked mainly on tree tending and vacant lot rehabilitation, while the LEADS youth have more experience with building community gardens. The groups are taking turns visiting each other’s sites and teaching each other about what the greening efforts look like in their neighborhoods.

“It’s great that we are working together for the same cause in our neighborhoods,” said Raymont, a 16 year-old Junior Green Corps member. “I can’t wait until we get to visit the LEADS kids in their own gardens.”

OPDC is thrilled to support this great opportunity for collaboration between these Pittsburgh youth. Not only will the LEADS and Junior Green Corps youth learn about new greening practices, but they will be exposed to parts of Pittsburgh that they may not have been familiar with prior to this experience. Through this opportunity they will discover that their greening work is part of a citywide effort, helping them to become more well-rounded and engaged community members.

To check out what’s been happening in the garden this summer and celebrate the LEADS youths’ hard work, join us at Frazier Farms Day, the Oakland stop of Grow Pittsburgh’s citywide tour, on September 24th at noon. The LEADS youth will be giving tours and offering free sample goodies from Frazier Farms. We hope to see you there!

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