Urban Sustain is a non-profit organization, founded in 2005, that designs environmental public awareness and education campaigns in underserved communities as a catalyst for civic engagement to build livable communities. More specifically, Urban Sustain works to improve the health of youth and under represented communities through local leadership development by raising their social conscience on environmental health concerns.
Their three programs are:
Exposure 101: Youth receive the tools to explore and improve their neighborhood. They learn to test for environmental toxins and poisons in their neighborhood and to advocate to change their community. The youth are offered fun weekend activities. The youth are given skills in research, hands-on experiments to test the air, water and world they live in, environmental monitoring, community health education, public speaking, leadership and much more. Projects have ranged from sampling and analyzing soil/air, holding a community forum, educating local politicians on the dangers of tobacco to creating Public Service Announcements on the hazards of Lead (Pb). These next generations of leaders are given skills to create a clean and safe community. .
Translations: Offers job readiness skills for youth. Through the “Art of Interviewing” confidence is created, communication skills are improved, generational misconceptions are addressed and they are prepared for the next steps in their life. The youth learn to create resumes and prepare for interviews. Life Skills is another component of Translations program, this is an additional 8 hour course. The Illinois Department of Employment Security – Hire the Future program has partnered with Urban Sustain to trained their staff on the “Art of Interviewing”.
Project Impact: Open community discussions with Community Coaches where members can share their concerns on the quality of your air, water and housing. Project Impact gives the community an opportunity to build social capital by coming together in a peaceful manner to mix, mingle, mobilize and find real solutions. Previous Project Impact projects include: Success to bring healthier food to grocery stores in South Shore, Southside Beach Rapid Trash Assessments, Campaign to remove Chicago’s bottle water tax and other short lived projects which address which have a long impact on the health of the community!