There are many non-profits in our area, but few have touched as many as ISLES. Their commitment to Trenton and its residents does in fact build self-reliance...over and over again. ISLES should be on the donation list of every family and business in Mercer County.
Isles has been a leader for over thirty years in providing pathways to better, more sustainable lives to many under served residents of Trenton. They create gardens, housing and jobs while also providing the necessary guidance to assure that folks will be able to sustain their stability.
Review from Guidestar
I came to ISLES for BPI Energy Auditor and Installer training. I really enjoy and benefit from the knowledgeable instructors, resourceful labs and friendly and helpful staffs. Lessons were presented clearly, class exercises were carefully design to illustrate the essence, and instructors were well-qualified and prepared for the classes. This is a great place to learn and I highly recommend ISLES for anyone looking for energy efficiency training.
I am fortunate to be from the immediate area of the organizations concentrated geographic focus. Therefore I have seen several of the accomplishments and the impact on the community. When asked to be a member of the board I can trully say I was over joyed and humbled. I look to supporting isles organization for many years.
The training facility and the instructors were top notch. I had a wonderful experience and would highly recommend Isles to anyone who would like a chance to start or further a career in energy efficiency.
Review from Guidestar
It is hard to know who benefits more from an affiliation with Isles -- its clients, staff, board, community, partners, donors, advisors, city? Isles asks tough questions of itself, its clients, collaborators, others. It does not rest on its laurels and it tries not to "count" accomplishments or accept them them as reflective of success. The constant Isles question is "so what?" It is not a disrespectful question, but rather a way of honoring its mission and values, clients and donors, of gauging progress and keeping itself on its toes, humble, transparent, earthy, creative, hard-working and working-smart. Isles did not just choose a well-worded mission -- it lives by it.
The Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagement at The College of New Jersey has worked with Isles for several years in different capacities. They are able to host a Bonner Team who works closely with their Youth Build Program. We've also worked with their Environment and Community Health program in different activities, from helping them with their garden, to Isles staff providing professional advice for our garden on campus. Just last week, the Marty, the Executive Director of Isles visited the campus and shared his experiences with a group of 30 students or so. Isles is comprehensive and an integral part of Trenton.
Working with Isles was such a rewarding experience! The organization takes a very holistic approach to community development. They also don't impose on any of the community members, and the community members become involved in the organization by their own choosing, which helps make Isles' change long lasting. One of my favorite aspects of working with Isles was being able to work with the YouthBuild students. The students truly inspired me in their hard work and dedication, and their creativity and kindness. Another strong point about Isles is that it brings a broader awareness to the struggles of Trenton residents. Although Princeton is only 8 miles from the state capital, people so quickly forget the struggles of their neighbors when they don't see them first hand. Isles does a great job at raising awareness to the impact of poverty and food security, among other things, to this broader Mercer County community. I strongly believe in Isles' mission, and think that they have been able to bring about such positive impact on Trenton and its community.
Review from Guidestar
My volunteer experience with Isles provides me with many opportunities to learn about the organization and the community served. Every staff person I have interacted with is committed to the mission, talented, and generous. It is a diverse group of really good people who know how to do their jobs, and that creates a dynamic environment. I feel like the work I do is recognized and that I am helping the community.
Review from Guidestar
I've known about, watched and participated with Isles over decades and remain deeply impressed by the organization. Isles empowers families in this city through many different programs and in many ways. A single mother of four I worked with became a first-time homeowner through Isles, changing her life and that of her children. I've seen kids who never succeeded at much of anything graduate from YouthBuild with purpose and new confidence. I've visited gardens created out of abandoned stretches and seen what a difference they make to those who farm them. Isles has been a champion of fostering self-reliance in an urban environment where nurturing isn't the norm. Bless them.
Isles YouthBuild Institute Hosted an Image is Power workshop to show some of the success the school has accomplished in the community. At the workshop, we talked about volunteer work students participated in, gardening, construction in the community, litter marches, and other Isles events. Students have shown the community and the organization that there is a positive part in Trenton that will be successful. Students are showing some of the life skills and different leadership skills that students learned and can use in the future. The program has graduated many that have went on to college, also some who have went on to receive better career opportunities and have improved their lives.
Review from Guidestar
It has been a learning experience and a pleasure to serve at Isles. This organization is like none I've ever worked with and I have over 10 years of experience with nonprofit organizations as an employee and a volunteer because their work directly serves the community and helps empowers people in a way I have been able to participate in and witness. I have not really seen this type of impact in other organizations that I've worked with. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and professional and the work I was able to participate in various meaningful projects in several issue areas (community gardening, lead testing and education, health and fitness initiatives for children). I look forward to working with Isles in their future endeavors and will continue to get my friends involved as well.
Review from Guidestar
Isles is an extraordinary organization. For more than 30 years Isles has shown steadfast commitment to its mission "to foster more self-reliant families in healthy, sustainable communities". All the while continously and innovatively evolving its services to respond to community needs. Today, Isles offers services that help people build tangible assets like a home, a job, and financial savings -- as well as intangible assets like education, a healthy environment, personal health, community leadership, and hope for the future. The staff of Isles are amazing. And their work is, I believe, deeply important -- now more than ever.
It was an immersive experience that created a superior learning enviroment. The staff was available and attentive. I plan on having an ongoing relationship with Isles. A positive experience in a trying time.
I consider myself very lucky to have found Isles CEET. The staff and the facility is top notch. They truly care about the people that they help. Is not just a place to take classes about the environment and energy. I consider them my friends. Great place! Great people!
I completed several energy courses at Isles CEET. Everyone there is knowledgeable and very helpful. They offered me guidence and training needed to start a new career in the Green Jobs industry. I consider them my friends. Thank you Isles
I found out about the CEET program through a continuing education class that I was attending at Mercer County Community College. I had lost my job as a carpenter and was in the process of retraining myself in the the field of alternative energy. I sent my resume to Dr. Oswald on a Friday and she contacted me on Monday to set up an interview for a training course that she thought would benefit me. She was absolutely correct, the course in Building Analyst and Energy Auditing drew on my skills as a builder and connected them to my new interest in energy efficiency. the training course was fantastic, It was well organized and the instructor was very knowledgeable and the Isles staff were very supportive. I was able to complete the training, and with their continued help and support I was able to obtain my BPI Certification. I am now confident that I will soon be reentering the workforce with my new skill set. Recently I was contacted by the staff at Isles about additional training to comply with the new EPA guidelines for contractors. It is this kind of follow through that makes me so appreciative of the CEET program and Dr. Oswald and the staff at Isles. I can honestly say that my experience at Isles has been 100% positive and I feel that I would do anything for them to repay all they have done on my behalf.
I went through the Isles/CEET Program late last year. I thought it was an excellent program and provided an excellent learnign opportunity for me. The trainers were always on-hand, pleasant, and helpful. Thank you CEET!
My experience at the YouthBuild Institute has been life changing. Not only has Isles helped me grow to be an understanding mother but an outstanding person. It help me understand and focus on things that I really wanted to do with myself, like go back to school and get a job. They gave me a drive to get back there. Thanks to Isles I'm pushing for me.
For four years I have been involved with Isles, Inc. I started my journey with Isles back in 2006, as a Youthbuild trainee. I graduated from the program in 2007. After I graduated, endless opportunities came my way. Isles helped me attain many certifications, such as, OSHA, First Aid, and CPR, which would attract even the most guilded employers. As two years have passed, I've became such a well versed person in the Isles community. Being that I had so much passion for the organization, they gave me an internship that would give me a chance to broaden my horizon to many more life commencement skills. So it is now 2010, and I am still here at Isles working part-time. I don't know when this journey will end, but it doesn't matter, because I know when it does end, Isles will still be here to help other youth just as they did with me.
I have been incredibly impressed with Isles. In everything they do, they are committed not only to helping people get on their feet, but in doing so by fostering in people the skills and resources that are needed to succeed over the long-term. This model of sustainable self-reliance is surprisingly radical, and incredibly effective.
Before joining the Isles Board I heard of its great reputation and was very impressed by its long-term committment to the city of Trenton. I have been involved in Isles' Spirit Walk Intiative since its inception. Isles know how to bring out the best in people and institutions. The church I serve Westminster Presbyterian has been encouraged and inspired to particate faithfully in Spirit Walk because Isles had awarded us 3 times. I have witnessed first hand Isles committment to promoting sustainability and their cutting edge role in the expanding Green Economy.
I helped gut an abandoned warehouse for future multi-function use. Paying special attention to source separation for recycling reinforced the LEED Platinum goals. And the building will be a huge win-win-win for sustainable design, the community, and its residence. The mission of Isles pervaded everything about the project. And, oh yeah, smacking apart old concrete was a lot of fun!
Isles is a community development and environmental organization that helps families and neighborhoods achieve health and self-reliance. Isles' array of services and training empowers people to improve their lives, families, communities, and the environment. My family and I have helped and will continue to work on renovating an old textile mill. This will allow Isles to centralize much of their activities. We have attended one of their House and Garden Tours. Isles renovates existing urban homes that are attractive, affordable, energy-efficient, and healthy for the occupants and workers.
Truly a community-based organization that believes in helping people gain the skills to be independent. They bring together people from the city and the surrounding area to work together. I worked with volunteers from a college alumni group and ISLES trainees on a factory rehab project. My wife and I were happy to pledge in their capital campaign.
I have worked alongside this group for several years now. Their mission and vision of how to accomplish this vision is breathtakingly wonderful. They actually listen to the people they try to help and incorporate the vision of the community into the help that is offered. They are also incredibly focused on sustainability in everything they build or even do. Buildings should be more sustainable. The help they give is all about allowing people to be self-sustaining. You could not support a more worthy organization.
Isles works to build self-sufficient families in healthy and sustainble communities in Central New Jersey (mostly Trenton) with integrated programs ranging from green homes initiatives, to community gardens, to financial self-reliance. They are starting one of the largest green collar training programs in the country and are renovating an old mill into a LEED platinum showcase for sustainable urban living and working. It's hard to review one piece of Isles' work since it is so well integrated.