Wednesday, June 18, 2014

PowerUp: GRID Alternatives & Just in Time for Foster Youth Partner to Provide Solar Power

The Kmoch family has owned and lived in their modest San Diego neighborhood since 1987. They enjoy the quiet, pleasant atmosphere of the community and always have been thoughtful about the environment. Mr. Kmoch considered the cost of installing solar many years ago, but the expense was out of reach.

Now, thanks to San Diego nonprofit GRID Alternatives, what once seemed impossible has become an empowering reality for the Kmoch family. At the same time, the installation benefits Just in Time for Foster Youth  an organization that engages a caring community to help transitioning foster youth ages 18-26 achieve self-sufficiency and well-being by providing an opportunity to learn a trade that can lead to a great job in the burgeoning solar industry.

GRID Alternatives San Diego is working to provide solar power from San Ysidro to Escondido, Barrio Logan to Julian, by bringing the power of solar electricity to low-income families, rooftop by rooftop, at the rate of about two homes a week. They do it with the help of community volunteers and job trainees, who can use the experience to help them get jobs in the rapidly growing solar industry. Job trainees aren't just foster youth; people from many walks of life are involved.

The power of GRID Alternatives has also extended to San Diego’s community of transitioning youth.  Last year, a handful of young men began to participate in solar installations through Just in Time for Foster Youth’s Bridges to Success program.  The experience was so positive that the organization decided to form a formal partnership, launching in May (Foster Care Month) with three objectives in mind for Summer 2014:
  • Provide solar energy for 30 low and moderate income homes in San Diego neighborhood
  • Raise awareness of solar energy with the general public to generate additional support
  • Connect transitioning foster youth to a meaningful job and career in the solar industry
Don Wells, Executive Director of Just in Time for Foster Youth, stated, “This is a tremendous opportunity for the young men and women in our program. A dozen have already begun the necessary training for the two-day installations, with the goal of having those with the aptitude and interest proceeding to get full North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification leading to employment opportunities.” Wells noted that as a bonus, two transitioning youth are also becoming Green Ambassadors to provide information and education to their peers and target communities.

“GRID Alternatives and Just in Time agree with Elena Kmoch,” said Wells.  “We truly believe that the power of each of us working together makes a positive impact.”

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Just in Time for Foster Youth
Just in Time for Foster Youth (JIT) envisions a future in which every youth leaving the foster care system has a community of caring adults waiting for them after they become 18.  JIT believes consistent, long-term help from the heart is the foundation for the success of our youth so that they can thrive and enjoy productive satisfying lives.  For additional information, please visit http://jitfosteryouth.org.

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