I love it when mission meets livelihood. I am REALLY excited about this opportunity!!

I am very excited to be a part of the renewed partnership of Historic Green and the USGBC Central Plains chapter.

Historic Green is a non-profit organization that was created in 2007 as a response to the Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, working with the Lower 9th Ward to rebuild their community staying true to the strong historic architecture of their past – combined with sustainable practices – to help assist them with utility savings as well as prevention from future natural disaster devastation.

Each year, Historic Green sends a group of professionals and students to participate in the annual Spring Greening event, a 2-week blitz focused on community and housing restoration in the Lower 9th Ward.

The USGBC Central Plains chapter has worked with Historic Green each year in supporting the Spring Greening project. But this year the two organizations will be joining forces for its first project outside of New Orleans.

The partnership will offer service learning workshops, each designed to create a meaningful impact in an historic Kansas City neighborhood. These workshops will carry out the goal of bringing environmental changes to all citizens, no matter their income level. Lower income households desperately need the sustainable improvements that can be made to their homes that will directly lower their utility costs as well as improve the physical health of the household members.

On a personal level, this is not a job. This is the entirety of what I believe when I vote for and rally around environmental causes. I believe this is a God-given directive to each of us. Living a Whole Life encompasses physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Lowering the “bad juju” that seeps into ill-fitting windows, fireplaces, and basements, for instance, does not just save money. It saves the health of our hearts and our lungs. Brain activity in children is improved with environmentally safe air in which to live.

The first workshop is being held this Saturday, June 18, at a Hope Center House in the Santa Fe Neighborhood near 31st and Benton Blvd. This house is being renovated with a goal to lower utility bills for the benefit of a future low-income family. We will be lead by a guest construction trainer who will show us how to perform lead-safe renovations, restore an old wood window to perform better than new, and demonstrate how to air-seal the rim-joist in limestone basements. Other weatherization techniques will be demonstrated along with an energy audit before and after the improvements.

If you’re interested, please email me at gretasutherland@gmail.com. (Lunch is provided!) Or register here.

The two future workshops will concentrate on:
• Designing and planting an urban garden
• Community center project focused on sustainable living and improvements with the Kansas City Operation Breakthrough Community Center

I’m very excited and looking forward to this ongoing project that will bring a socio-equity based emphasis to a way of life that is best for every person – regardless of financial status.

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