The NVR Fellowship is an opportunity for graduates of the Summer Academy to deepen their knowledge of environmental justice through greater involvement with the New Voices program. From Fall 2022 to Spring 2023, fellows develop and implement an individual capstone project focused on an environmental justice topic of their choosing. This paid position helps frontline youth develop work-based skills and gain direct experience in guiding local policies and decision making. Get to know this year’s fellows.
Since the start of fellowship, Manuel (our climate resilience fellow) and Christie (our clean energy fellow) have been working together on a capstone project focused on Resilience Hubs. Resilience Hubs operate as a connecting point for the community to address root causes of vulnerability and ways to adapt amidst changing climate conditions and hazard events. Day to day, these neighborhood centers offer culturally sensitive, multilingual services, and in cases of emergency, they can provide a safe place for temporary shelter and relief. Ultimately, Resilience Hubs shift power back to local residents to identify and drive solutions.
As part of their capstone project, Manuel and Christie hosted a workshop to design a community vision for a Resilience Hub at Lion Creek Crossings—a community based affordable housing complex in Deep East Oakland. They worked with peer youth from the Lion Creek Crossings (LCC) After School Trainees Program and the Castlemont Sustainable Urban Design Academy (SUDA) as well as community-based organizations such as East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) and Local Clean Energy Alliance (LCEA). A total of 30+ people were in attendance. The 3-hour long workshop focused on building community and climate resiliency in this underserved neighborhood.
Youth led a total of 3 stations, 2 of which NVR youth helped support:
- Collage station (Christie and LCC youth Griselda). Christie and Griselda facilitated a collage station that asked participants to creatively depict their real vs ideal communities. Christie and Griselda asked questions to facilitate the design process. In their real communities, people pointed to injustice such as air pollution, wildfires, and PG&E’s lack of accountability. In their ideal communities, people wanted to see community gardens, more plants and animals, and a greater care among residents.
- Blueprint and Design Station (Manuel and Castlemont SUDA youth). Manuel and Castlemont SUDA youth oversaw an urban and city planning station. Participants were given a physical blueprint of the LCC site and asked to draw features of resiliency they wish to see. SUDA youth contributed ideas on behalf of LCC residents from who they had collected feedback and survey responses. Manuel and peers then facilitated a discussion around the technologies and infrastructures that could support a Resilience Hub at LCC. Youth expressed interest in developing renewable energy, energy storage, vertical and rooftop gardens, hygiene facilities and showers, urban greening, indoor air filtration, and also community assets such as recreation centers, shopping centers, and affordable grocery stores.
- Tour of Facility (LCC After school trainees): As resident leaders and experts, LCC youth led groups on a tour of the site, highlighting some of the community assets already in place such as nearby stores, community parks, energy storage, and more. The tour helped participants see the real-life application of ideas from the visioning and blueprint designing stations.
Congratulation to Christie and Manuel for successfully executing this youth-led, youth-designed workshop. The pair will continue their work designing a community vision for a Resilience Hub at other locations in the East Bay Area. Stay tuned for updates from Christie and Manuel as well as other fellows’ capstone projects!