Van Nuys , CA — Abode Communities, one of the nation’s leading fullservice affordable housing developers, has received a $25,000 resident engagement grant from Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., funded by Home Depot, to kick start the “Green Living Youth Program” at its newest development, Ivy Terrace, a 52-unit affordable multifamily development serving residents of Van Nuys. The Green Living Youth Program will serve as a prototype for similar programs at existing and future Abode Communities developments. The primary objective of the Green Living Youth Program is to create a comprehensive curriculum that educates young residents of this unique, multicultural community about the benefits of sustainable living. The program engages 15 youths between the ages of 7 and 17 in learning how sustainability can provide healthier living environments, and how conserving natural resources by reducing energy consumption and waste can save money.
Participants noted an immediate increase in the community’s recycling efforts, as many families are now taking advantage of the recycling center at the neighboring Ralphs supermarket. The program began with residents participating in the annual Los Angeles River Clean-up and continued with weekly activities led by Abode Communities afterschool and computer lab staff or guests. Participants made solar ovens from pizza boxes, container gardens from reused household objects and jewelry from old magazines as they learned about environmental stewardship and how they themselves could impact the environment.
The program will culminate in an open house where youth share their experience with other residents through short video presentations and visual displays. Adults will complete surveys before and after the presentation that indicate what they have learned at the open house. Each household attending the open house will receive green cleaning products and adults will be invited to attend upcoming workshops on sustainable resources designed to help them embrace the information shared by the youth. “At Abode Communities, we believe that by collaborating with our young residents, who in turn will directly share information, activities and enthusiasm with their own families, other adults and peers, we can create sustainable behavioral change at Ivy Terrace,” says Robin Hughes, president of Abode Communities. “These youths will positively impact the community at large, and their involvement in this program will enhance their public speaking, leadership, and teamwork skills and abilities.”
The Green Living Youth Program at Ivy Terrace is further evidence of Abode Communities’ commitment to green living. Indeed, Ivy Terrace is the second development by Abode Communities to be awarded LEED for Homes™ platinum certification, the highest rating bestowed by the U.S. Green Building Council, which is the national standard for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. About Abode Communities: Abode Communities was founded in 1968 with a mission to open new doors in people’s lives through creative and responsible design, development and operation of service-enhanced affordable housing. Currently, Abode Communities owns 34 properties throughout the region that are home to more than 4,000 residents. For more information, go to www. abodecommunities.org.