My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Earth Force, Inc., Denver, CO, USA
Earth Force's mission is to engage young people as active citizens who improve the environment and their communities now and in the future. Earth Force has 15 years of engagement strategies and expertise working with young people, particularly those in underserved communities, helping them find their voice and assuming leadership roles. Headquartered in Denver and active in 40 communities throughout the United States, Earth Force reaches over 15,000 youth per year. Through high quality professional development and inquiry-based, hands-on learning opportunities, Earth Force’s approach to youth engagement, community engagement and environmental stewardship helps young people build the knowledge, skills and competencies they need for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
My involvement with Earth Force began as an Earth Force "parent" while my daughter was in middle school. She partcipated in projects with Earth Force staff who guided the efforts of her middle school science teacher. My daughter subsequently participated in an Earth Force city-wide Youth Leadership Team that produced a video about climate change with the local public television station. While in High School, my daughter worked with another student to develop and implement a weekly after-school environmental program for 4th graders in a local elementary school. She now is entering her sophomore year in college, focusing on environmental studies and geography. The skills my daughter learned and put into practice through Earth Force will shape the rest of her life.
Earth Force’s educational model is somewhat unique in that it promotes problem-solving and service-learning for K-12 students, civic engagement to gain an understanding of “how local change works”, and implementation through community-based initiatives. This model encourages students to investigate and address larger and longer-term issues that become lifelong environmentally-focused lessons and opportunities for leadership development. An example of this was presented to our Board in Baltimore, MD in February 2012 via four 8th grade students from the Alexandria VA School District. After a presentation of their watershed projects, Q&A from the Board elicited several statements from the students that both validated the Earth Force educational model and elevated the students’ efforts from “just another school science project”. The students expressed the following developmental and engagement benefits from the projects: raised project awareness, passed on what they learned to other students and the community, improved their communication and leadership skills, participated in field trips, were passionate and dedicated to a longer term project, what we do matters, conducted outside the textbook learning, and learned from doing. Hearing the students describe these life lessons from their Earth Force program were identical to ones I heard from my daughter.
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