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Three Ways to Get Local Youth Involved in Your Community

Young people’s interest in environmental issues makes them ideal candidates to learn ways to make an appreciable difference in their neighborhoods and the wider community

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Through the past several decades, environmental sustainability has become a hot topic among America’s youth. Today’s youth have taken a proactive role in seeking solutions to growing environmental issues and have become vocal advocates for sustainable practices. Recently recognized by Aetna Foundation’s Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge Spotlight Award, the Camden SMART Initiative is taking strides to provide ways for youth to make a difference and promote ecofriendly impacts and offer ways for youth to make a difference in their communities.

Become a green ambassador

Thanks to the Camden Collaborative Initiative’s Green Ambassador Summer Youth Internship Program, more than 100 Camden City high school-aged students have been exposed to local environmentally focused career opportunities over the past few years. Through a five-week hands-on summer internship, the Green Ambassadors Program provides interns with an in-depth understanding of Camden’s complex environmental concerns and some of the solutions that have been identified to mitigate such environmental issues. Local high school students are paid to participate in this program that gives participants an opportunity to better understand a variety of environmental and sustainability focused careers. The Ambassadors design pop-up parks, attend testing labs at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, participate in frequent water testing, learn about the city’s combined sewer system, and visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ambassadors also receive a broad overview of environmental injustices that directly affect students, including illegal dumping, sewage treatment, land contamination, and more.

Click here to learn more about the Green Ambassadors Summer Youth Internship Program facilitated by the Camden Collaborative Initiative.

Participate in PowerCorps Camden

PowerCorps Camden is a program for young leaders from Camden City to assist with tackling pressing environmental challenges within their community. Youths from 18 to 26 with GED or high school equivalents are invited to apply. Members work with city partners to attack demanding environmental challenges facing Camden residents. Projects aim to improve stormwater management, clean and green vacant lots, improve community space and parks, and revitalize public land. The program is facilitated by Center for Family Services in partnership with the Camden Collaborative Initiative.

The PowerCorps Camden program aims to impact the lives and career paths of young people in Camden by creating meaningful and tangible opportunities. Click here to learn how to become a PowerCorps member.

Take the Initiative

The Camden SMART Initiative offers additional programs and ways to get involved in the community. Opportunities such as rain barrel workshops, Camden Reports application, and volunteering to assist with green-infrastructure maintenance are great ways to help ensure the sustainability and success of environmental injustice mitigation efforts.

These programs are in place to help cultivate a generation of educated, informed, and empowered Camden City residents that are prepared to assist in decision-making that will ensure Camden continues to make strides toward keeping the local environment healthy and clean so the community has green spaces to play and gather for years to come.

Learn more here about the Camden Collaborative Initiative’s youth program opportunities.

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