Since 2011, Confluence Environmental Center had offered volunteer opportunities for AmeriCorps members, mostly young professionals or people in career transition, in community environmental education and conservation. Program Director Lara Jones wanted to transform the program based on values of equity and justice, center the experience and vision of communities of color and low-income communities, and build meaningful, respectful partnerships with people who have been historically excluded from the environmental movement.
Collaborating with Lara, Kaleidoscope Consulting designed a training program for AmeriCorps members on community-driven development, a process that emphasizes communities’ inherent assets, leadership capacities, and solutions. The four-part workshop series combined historical context, theoretical frameworks, and practical activities for members to apply their learning in specific situations.
“This was a great series, and I’m glad I have some clarity on how to go about future and current projects.”—AmeriCorp workshop participant
We also coached members on designing and implementing “change agent projects” with community representatives so community members feel a sense of ownership and can use a range of tools to sustain their efforts after AmeriCorps members finish their service. Members’ change agent projects are required to incorporate community-driven development practices, and the organization is recognized as a respected ally in the fight for social and environmental justice.