SCA Helps Local CT Youth Gain Jobs, Give Back Through Hands-on Service

Young adults from towns throughout Fairfield County earned their “green stripes” this summer through a hands-on Student Conservation Association (SCA) conservation service program, funded in part by the Fairfield County Community Foundation.
Nov 23, 2011 11:55 AM ET
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(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) November 23, 2011 - Young adults from towns throughout Fairfield County earned their “green stripes” this summer through a hands-on Student Conservation Association (SCA) conservation service program, funded in part by the Fairfield County Community Foundation.  In its fifth year of programming in Connecticut towns, SCA engaged these local young people on summer crews in the stewardship of the area’s natural resources, incorporating environmental education, leadership training, and job-building skills.

This year, more than 40 young crew members worked with local parks and city programs to repair and build new trails, construct boardwalks, remove invasive plant species, and monitor water quality.  They ranged in age from 14 to 21 and many of them attended 23 area high schools.   Khadija Bshara, the SCA Connecticut Community Program Manager commented: “For many, this SCA program was their first job and their first exposure to outdoor activities and often even to the green spaces in their own neighborhoods.  They learned the rewards of demanding physical work and the SCA experience introduced them to great academic and career possibilities as well.”   “We got straight to work in our first week at the Mill River Park, which desperately needed our help,” said a Stamford teen who participated in the program last summer.  “We cleaned up the river and the area around it, built a fence around the river, and removed invasive species.  I learned about the environment, and walked out of my summer knowing I made a difference.”   In all, 43 young adults were engaged on SCA crews at work throughout the summer in and around Stamford, Bridgeport, Greenwich, New Haven, and Hartford – reflecting a program expansion of 7.5% over last year that was made possible in part by the continuing support of the Fairfield County Community Foundation.  Participants contributed 6,000 hours of service to area parks and green spaces, including Bridgeport and Greenwich City Parks, Stamford Museum and Nature Center, and the Mill River Park and Greenway.  The crews built or maintained over 6,300 feet of hiking trails and cleared 131,075 square feet of invasive or non-native plants  They also received more than 1,700 hours of valuable job training and environmental education.  After all that work, a crew member reported: “I learned a lot at SCA that I never in a lifetime thought I would do.  And hearing all the nice compliments from the community made me feel that I was helping out my city.”   Additional funding for the Stamford program included contributions from REI, GE Asset Management, Purdue Pharma L.P., CL&P, the Horizon Foundation, The Cox Family Fund at the Boston Foundation, Malkin Properties, and NewAlliance Foundation.  Individuals and families from all around Connecticut have also provided critical support.  Crew member stipends were made available from The WorkPlace, Inc.   About the Student Conservation Association SCA is a nationwide conservation force of college and high school students who protect and restore America’s parks, forests, refuges, seashores and communities.  For more than 50 years, SCA’s active, hands-on practice of conservation service has helped to develop a new generation of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save the planet.  SCA is a nonprofit organization, headquartered in Charlestown, NH, with regional offices in Washington D.C., Oakland, Pittsburgh and Seattle.  For further information, visit   About Fairfield County Community Foundation The Fairfield County Community Foundation promotes the growth of community and regional philanthropy to improve the quality of life throughout Fairfield County.  Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds and contribute to existing funds.  The Foundation also provides philanthropic advisory services, and develops and leads initiatives to tackle critical community issues.  It is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards for community foundations.  The Foundation has awarded over $120 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond.  For more information, visit   SCA19075