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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Earth Force, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Environment, Physical & Earth Sciences, Technology, Youth Development

Mission: Earth Force engages young people as active citizens who improve the environment and their communities now and in the future.

Results: Earth Force engages young people through their educators. In 2016, Earth Force trained and supported 395 educators in 215 schools to reach 28,999 young people. Our programs focus primarily on middle school students and their educators. Participating educators use our award winning Community Action and Problem-Solving Process that guides young people through a scientific progression of discovery and decision making to identify an environmental issue, determine the root cause of that problem, and then use community engagement strategies to bring about changes to local policy and practice to alleviate the problem. Earth Force combines mastery experiences and hands-on application to engage students in high quality applied learning experiences. Participating students are asked to apply learning from the classroom to problems they have discovered in their communities. This technique is a key element of learning to be problem solvers.

Target demographics: K-12 youth, educators

Direct beneficiaries per year: 28,999

Geographic areas served: United States

Programs: We develop young people with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to solve tough environmental problems. Earth Force does this by providing educators with the training and support they need to create an engaging, hands-on classroom that empowers students to solve environmental problems. Earth Force has a long history of developing materials and preparing educators to facilitate youth-led action projects as a part of their science course. Educators have guided students as they have leveraged data collection and field experience to launch systemic efforts that protected local nature preserves, convinced school systems to install water bottle filling stations, and installed hundreds of small green infrastructure projects.

Community Stories

12 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

In a world increasingly driven by organizations or initiatives with stylistic visual "packaging", but often lacking in substance, Earth Force rises above the fray with high quality youth programs with long-term impact. Beyond the logos and graphics, which Earth Force does well, one quickly realizes the organization is about the people and community. Earth Force representatives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina have always been there for us as a partner in a regional education consortium. Phone calls like "Can you help us spread the word about summer camp?" to "Can you help gather a youth group for storm drain marking", are always answered with "Yes, we'll be glad to support the effort!" There are no territory issues, no egos, just the work, a spirit of collaboration, and the community goals. In the field of environmental stewardship, it becomes evident that change begins at the community-level, and often youth are the ripples in the pond that impact their families and communities. Earth Force programs reinforce the community ideal and aim at developing a long-term relationship, not just an episodic event, with youth.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Earth Force is a wonderful organization that supports a great cause for the nation's most impressionable demographic - our youth. The organizational leaders and the individuals who support it through employment, board service, donations, and messaging merit high praise and appreciation. To develop an educational framework that promotes sustainability, accountability, and social/environmental responsibility is so impressive. The Earth Force process works and the message resonates. The next step is to expand the message and get more people involved through increased funding. Easy enough...

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

When I joined the Board of Directors four years ago, the organization was in a serious point of charting a more defined, and clear path for ourselves. That time of pressure and decision-making has become a maiden for ingenuity, efficiency, and growth. Today, the organization stands at its greatest since I have joined the organization.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am proud to be part of an organization that can mean so much to our youth by engaging them in a passion that can accompany them through the rest of their lives. The board and the organization is committed to make a difference and is constantly evolving from day-to-day to get its message to as many children as possible through the most efficient of platforms as possible.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Earth Force has been a part of my life since before I had braces. As an adult board member I've seen the organization in a number of its iterations and I am still proud to say that it is an organization which I strongly support. Earthforce began engaging youth in classrooms and through educators to bring their voices to bear on the environmental and social issues relevant to them. It has grown to strategically and systematically mobilize multiple stakeholders in creating an environment in which youth and their voices are able to thrive.

Charles O.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have worked with dozens of youth service organizations closely, so I can confidently affirm Earth Force's unparalleled leadership around thinking two steps ahead of problems. Earth Force knows that being collaborative is the crux of community changemaking. Earth Force is an organization that's not in this industry for fame, but rather to truly be an organization that thinks about transforming communities and empowering youth as leaders as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

Earth Force is the most innovative non-profit I know. We are flexible to change and know how to do it best so that the vision of our organization is still protected. Innovation is what makes the best non-profits.

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1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Asia D.

Board Member

Rating: 5

From the many years that I have spent working with Earth Force I can honestly say I've watched and experienced the organization grow from a good thing, to a pilliar of excellence in the field youth leadership and environmental education. I watched with awe the tenacity, grace, and agility employed in restructuring the organization. I also saw the care and empathy used in communicating and working with the staff members around the changes. As a board member I can say that the leadership made very difficult decisions that ultimately steered the ship towards bold innovations and success. Earth Force wouldn't be the organization that it is without that type of dynamic and sensitive leadership. And the people who would loose the most are the students whose lives are positively impacted by that marvelous six step process.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I started with EarthForce in the 3rd grade, my first service project was on community recycling and this project was presented to an audotorim filled with proud parents from the best low-income neighborhood in the world; the Five-Points community in Denver, Colorado. I continued with Earthforce engaging in a number of other service projects eventaully becoming a class room assistant at both Swansea Elementary and Columbine Elementary schools. I assisted some of the best kids I ever met in their own, youth driven service learning process. At a young age, these experiences challenged my understanding of environmental thought as it applied to poverty, youth activism and community education and engagement. During my last high school years I worked at the FrontRange Earth Force office and served as a local board member and eventually as a national board member. Having the ability to learn from and engage with these intelligent, progressive, and down-to-earth individuals ultimately helped to shape my relationship to the professional world and at the same time keep me grounded in what meant the most to me. Creating active and empowered individuals from all walks of life, building stronger more sustainable communities, and bringing everyone to the table in discussions about environmental action.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a former Earth Force youth and current Board Member, I can attest to the life-changing impact this organization has on young people. When I was in fifth grade, Earth Force began its programming in my elementary school. Using its "youth voice" model, the organization asked my peers and I what we thought about environmental issues rather than telling us what to think or do. This model that empowers youth indeed encourages them to take life long leadership roles in forming the types of communities they want to see. Earth Force encouraged my involvement in different environmentally focused projects throughout my youth, including my involvement in the USDA Forest Service's Centennial Congress and my participation in the International Conference "Let's Take Care of the Planet." I so believe in this organization that my involvement continues today through service on the board of directors and financial support. I cannot recommend this organization more highly.

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

Earth Force is a wonderful organization that investing in our nation's youth. Earth Force gives youth the tools they need to make a change in thier communtiies. Earth Force does a wonderful job with working with teachers, students, schools, and other organizations ro bring environmental education to thousands.