ALL Ways: Intervine Turns the Concrete Jungle into Green Spaces for the City

by S. Creastam

Every community contains its own charm. Places, jargon, traditions, and sometimes food can be the drive behind that charm. Among all the factors that make a place feel like the place it is, there are people that create the vibe of a community. This could be the way they dress, or their mannerisms, or any other nuance different from other communities. New York City is one of those communities.

New York City contains a unique image, which is mostly carried by residents and what they bring to the area. An initiative in the city is helping bring more sustainability to the concrete jungle while supplying job training and employment to low-income residents.

In this series, called ALL Ways, we’ll grow to know social enterprises by their charming points. We say “charming” to refer to branding and approaches that help us see another way to manage social entrepreneurship. We’ll also suggest ways to interact or use these charming points in our own involvements with social enterprise (personally and professionally).

This post is an outside observation of a company for inspiration in social enterprise interaction and engagement.

In today’s post, we look into the flourishing Intervine building sustainability into New York City. Intervine is an initiative providing job training to low-income residents.

Knowing the Company: Intervine

Intervine teaches low-income residents of New York the skills needed to work on sustainability projects in city settings. Residents who join the program are trained and employed to create and maintain green infrastructure throughout New York City. Services have given through Intervine fall under the following categories: Green roof installation, Green Infrastructure Maintenance, Horticulture, or Community Greening. The initiative also completes internal projects relating to sustainability and the environment.

This initiative comes as a division of The HOPE Program and the Sustainable South Bronx, which are high-performing workforce development and job training programs in New York City. Individually, efforts at HOPE revolve around comprehensive training, jobs, career development, and lifelong career support. Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx) brings low-income residents into a full-time green workforce training program. Technically, HOPE is the parent organization of Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx).

What Surprised Us

Going back to internal projects, Intervine runs a tree census in New York City with the help of the residents involved in the initiative. The tree census includes over 3,000 health assessments and will continue evaluating the area. People who go through HOPE’s green job training program and job readiness program perform this work in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx. Already have a set business model that provides service under set categories, Intervine takes the initiative a step further to engage residents in a project validating the skills learned.

Intervine is part of a collection of sustainable services linked to one another. A similarly attached initiative at SSBx is the program for NYC °CoolRoofs, a partnership with the New York City Department of Small Business Services. More details about the gg program can be viewed on the NYC Business site. Intervine’s role is listed as the social enterprise arm among the initiatives connected within  the SSBx collection.

New York City, not different from many other large cities, is starting to prioritize the addition of green spaces. Taking care of sustainability through green infrastructure and maintenance covers a number of aspects that are attached to the aim of creating more green spaces. Intervine proactively addresses the needs for these roles in order to accomplish a greater impact in the community. That impact is multiplied by giving residents the option to be involved.

What is the benefit for good

Low-income residents have a chance to develop skills that are transferable and specialized. Projects ranging from green infrastructure to horticulture require specific training of sustainable skill sets that are increasing in demand as society moves closer to environmentally friendly cities. Job training completed under Intervine also touches on soft skills needed for career development and longevity. Access to job training and employment programs helps to boost job retention among the residents.

Intervine continues to work with similar organizations, and increase the social impact cultivated in communities that need services. Around this time, the initiative made an announcement of a project being added to their current efforts. The partnership combines a  focus on green space across the city with solutions specific to urban areas. Intervine posted the kick-off event on Instagram with this explanation in the caption:

“The event marked the beginning of a new collaborative effort aimed at improving rain garden performance, increasing co-benefits such as community beautification and urban heat island mitigation, providing local jobs and workforce development, and engaging local communities in the stewardship of their green spaces. This project will pilot watershed-specific approaches that can be scaled up to a citywide solution for sustainable green infrastructure maintenance and workforce development.”

What’s Next

We like to encourage actively participating with positive initiatives. Each person making their own choice to participate adds up! Whether you engage for fun, inspiration, or expression, here are our suggestions for engaging this initiative:

(Personal)

– Take a stroll at a local park, and get fresh air.

– Volunteer in community cleaning.

(Professional)

– Search for green skills job training in your area if interested. (green infrastructure, horticulture, or similar)

– Start your own small community project or event to benefit your community or a community in need.

People Helping People Podcast is seeking  methods clearly supporting an effective impact. Observations and discussions on happenings in the social enterprise community is a significant part of our contribution to social good. Continue to check-in for more conversation-starting content.

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