The United States Department of Labor recently announced the awarding of YouthBuild grants for 2014. These grants are the major source of funding for YouthBuild programs across the country and this is an extremely competitive process. Generally, there are more than 500 applicants for about 75 grants. This year was an extremely successful one for programs in Massachusetts as a total of six programs were funded to five organizations currently running YouthBuild programs in the Commonwealth.
These awards cover two years of programming plus a year of follow-up and are capped at $1.1 million each. Massachusetts was tied with California for the most grants awarded. The following organizations were funded here:
Just-A-Start YouthBuild serving Cambridge and Chelsea
CTI YouthBuild Lowell
YouthBuild North Shore
Old Colony Y which operates YouthBuild Brockton and YouthBuild Fall River
The Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition is very pleased that these quality programs were awarded funding to continue their mission to serve the young people in their communities.
Melissa Panter is a Massachusetts Promise Fellow at the North Shore Community Development Coalition who works in the YouthBuild North Shore Program. She has been instrumental in building the program’s capacity for the past year which allowed YBNS to become a full-fledged member of the Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition. Her accomplishments include forming partnerships with new organizations - such as Habitat for Humanity -to help the organization do more for the young people they serve. Her eye for always making things better has kept the program growing and thriving, and her positive attitude makes sure that everyone always ends a hard worked day with a good laugh. Our youth naturally gravitate to her humor and ability to problem solve, making her an important part of the team on all levels.
Melissa is a recent grad from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Environmental Design. She spent her four years learning and working to create sustainable cities for the future and grew a passion for affordable housing. During her senior year she had a whole new perspective on life from studying abroad in India and France and decided to focus her skills more on what she does best, interacting with the community. She signed up to be a part of a non-profit called Bike and Build where she and a team of 27 young adults biked across America while raising awareness and building affordable housing for communities all along their route. She joined the North Shore CDC's YouthBuild program as the Massachusetts Promise Fellow in August 2013.
Boston’s bus shelters are going green. The Fairmount-Indigo Line CDC Collaborative, the Talbot Norfolk Triangle Eco Innovation District, and Land Escapes Design Inc—installed the first of three bus shelter green roofs as part of the Fairmount Line Bus Shelter Living Roof Initiative. This project (whose collaborating partners also include the City of Boston, JCDecaux North America, the MBTA, and the EPA Region I “Soak Up the Rain” Campaign), is one of several pieces of green infrastructure either planned or underway along the six-mile Fairmount Corridor.
The living roofs, which will be placed on top of bus shelters, consist of two to three inches of soil and local, drought-tolerant plants in a filter mat that can hold up to 24 gallons of water during a major rainstorm.
And although Monday’s rain might have interefered with the morning commute, it provided the perfect opportunity to demonstrate what these roofs will be doing. These roofs will absorb stormwater, help provide clean air along Talbot Avenue, increase the life expectancy of the bus shelters, reduce the urban heat island effect, and improve the overall look of the neighborhood. There will also be an educational poster inside the shelter to highlight the benefits of living roofs.
The goal is to demonstrate the environmental benefits of green roof technology while creating green jobs. In partnership with YouthBuild Boston and TNT Eco-Teens, local youth will be trained in the construction and maintenance of the roofs.
The roofs will be constructed on one City-owned shelter and two MBTA bus shelters, and have the full support of Mayor Walsh.
“This public/private partnership reflects the goals and the spirit of the City of Boston’s Climate Action Plan,” said Mayor Walsh. “The highly-visible living roof installations along the Fairmount Corridor will demonstrate our preparedness and generate conversation about this important issue facing our City.”