With initial funding from the City of Santa Fe, the Verde Community Project is focused on tackling poverty in Santa Fe while addressing the impact of climate change.

“We’re proud to partner to leverage our strengths for the benefit of Santa Fe’s families and children.”

Melynn Schuyler, YouthWorks Executive Director

Led by YouthWorks, nearly a dozen local organizations are working together to help “at-risk” young people develop job skills and give them the opportunity to participate in meaningful work that will improve life for others in the Santa Fe community.

Scroll down to see the efforts underway with our Verde Project partners.

Verde Project Wins National Honors

The YouthWorks Verde Project was recognized nationally by the Corps Network, an organization that advances programs to transform young people’s lives and communities through career development, conservation, and civic engagement.

This prestigious award is given annually to select organizations for projects that have undertaken especially influential or innovative endeavors.

Projects of the Year are noteworthy for their ability to provide both a positive experience for Corpsmembers and meaningful improvements to the community.

Read about the Corps Network award here. Watch a three-minute video and read all about the Verde Community Project here.

Retrofitting Team Gets High Marks

The YouthWorks crew got high praise for their work  doing energy retrofits on 220 apartment units at La Ventana in Albuquerque.

After their first day on the job, Jeremiah Weil, the onsite project manager for the International Center for Appropriate & Sustainable Technology had this to say:

I want to compliment you, your supervisors, and the youth! Today’s staff and their ability to get things done was above and beyond my expectations! Everyone was eager to get the job done in a timely manner. More importantly, the quality of work was flawless!!!

The retrofitting includes wrapping water heaters and insulating water lines, replacing high-flush toilets with low-flush units, replacing manual thermostats with NEST smart thermostats, installing low-flow showerheads and faucet taps, and changing out lightbulbs with LEDs.

Firefighting Training Scheduled

Now that the monsoon rains make it safe to carry out wildfire mitigation work, the YouthWorks crew is heading once again to the woods.

Training launches in September that will lead to national certification in S130/190 Basic Wildland Firefighting Red Card Training.

The Verde Project was one of eight community partners selected to participate in work funded by a $350,000 grant from the Collaborative Forest Restoration Program, which is administered by the USDA Forest Service.

The funding will support programming at YouthWorks for forest wildfire mitigation, youth education, and on-the-job training.

Other grant partners include:

Chris’s Tree Service
Forest Stewards Guild
Institute for Applied Ecology
Lockwood Forestry & Excavation
Morris Surveying/Engineering
New Mexico Recycling Coalition
Wildfire Network

Energy Efficiency Training Underway

YouthWorks is expanding its partnership with the International Center for Appropriate & Sustainable Technology (ICAST).

ICAST is working in conjunction with the Energy Smart Academy at Santa Fe Community College to offer training in the leading-edge field of energy efficiency.

One YouthWorks crew member has already been selected to participate in advanced solar photovoltaic training. And an entire cohort of youth will be taking the online course “Energy Efficiency and Weatherization 2018.”

Verde Featured in the Daily Yonder

Santa Fe’s Verde Community Project made the national online news.

The Daily Yonder quoted YouthWorks staffer Kineret Yardina in coverage of the Verde Community Project as an example of how organizations are tackling the big issues facing small communities.


“More and more, the solutions to our community’s greatest challenges — re-connecting our most vulnerable youth, improving food security, and addressing the unknown effects of what we call climate change — are asking us to work together across sectors, across the city.”

Kineret Yardena


For more of the coverage, click here.

Wildland Fire Training Session Scheduled

Hank Blackwell, former Santa Fe County fire marshal, will lead a training session on April 9, from 9 am to 2 pm, for young people at YouthWorks interested in joining the wildland firefighting crew.

According to Blackwell, “The training will be scientifically sound and put participants ahead ahead of the curve in performing assessments and providing recommendations to residents regarding wildfire and structure ignition.”

For more information, or to sign up, call Devin Baldwin or Kineret Yardena at (505) 989-1855.

Reduce Fire Risk and Help At-Risk Youth

As part of the Verde Community Project, young people from YouthWorks are training with Wildfire Network in various aspects of forestry and fire prevention.

The crew has completed projects for the Santa Fe Institute and for local Santa Fe homeowners to reduce fire danger by clearing property of dead and downed wood.

The material they clear is then turned into compost by YouthWorks crews at Reunity Resources and used to grow vegetables for an after-school meal program managed by the Food Depot for disadvantaged elementary school children. Meals for 1400 students per week are prepared by the YouthWorks catering team under the direction of Chef Carmen Rodriguez.

You can support this program by hiring our crew to thin your property in Santa Fe or East Mountain and surrounding areas.

For a free home assessment and information about rates, call 505-780-1082 or email verde@wildfirenetwork.org.

The Verde Project Launches MoGro

The Verde Community Project has launched MoGro at the sites served by the Verde after-school meal program.

On Wednesdays, parents picking up their children can purchase a box of fresh fruits and vegetables, for healthier meals at home.

Each box contains eight different kinds of fruits and vegetables, most of them local and organically grown. For details, see below.

En Espanol

Weatherization Training Completed

As part of the Verde Community Project, an effort with initial funding by the City of Santa Fe, young people from YouthWorks are learning how to weatherize homes.

Training was held last week, December 6-8, at Santa Fe Community College and included a tour of the EnergySmart Academy Lab and Manufactured Home.

Students got an introduction to the tools and materials used in weatherization and instruction in on-the-job safety. During the course of their training, they got demonstrations and gained experience in hands-on installation in these areas:

  • Measuring electricity consumption
  • Carbon Monoxide and smoke alarms
  • Sealing air leaks with caulk and spray foam, weather-stripping
  • Water heaters – general operation and insulating electric and gas units
  • Calculating water flow
  • Installing low-flow show heads
  • Insulating water pipes
  • Installing window insulator kits

Following completion of the training, these young people will be working in teams under the supervision of crew leaders from Proscape, a local landscaping and maintenance business that has volunteered its supervisory services as a way of contributing to the community.

The crews will focus on weatherizing forty homes of local residents who cannot afford to take these energy-saving steps on their own.

YouthWorks Crew Featured in NFPA Blog

The YouthWorks wildfire crew was featured in the National Fire Protection Association blog for making an “incredible difference” in the wildfire safety of our community while at the same time learning basic forestry skills.

To read the full blog post, click here.

Verde Project Wildfire Crew Featured

The YouthWorks crew working with Wildfire Network as part of the Verde Community Project received more publicity this week.

The crew was featured in the United Way’s Center for Nonprofit Excellence blog. Click here to read more.

YouthWorks Honored by City of Santa Fe

The City of Santa Fe and the Mayor’s Sustainability Commission have just announced the winners of the 2017 Mayor’s Sustainability Awards. 

The YouthWorks Verde Community Project is being honored as the runner-up in the “Triple Bottom Line” category for creating a unique set of partnerships to address issues at the intersection of climate change and poverty alleviation.

Mayor Gonzales Comes to Visit

Mayor Gonzales and City Councilors Peter Ives, Sig Lindell, and Renee Villareal visited the Verde Community Project kitchen this week to meet the culinary team from YouthWorks.

These young people, who are enrolled in culinary training at YouthWorks, are using their newly learned job skills to prepare healthy meals for low-income children at after-school programs in local elementary schools and Boys and Girls Clubs.

Verde Wildfire Crew Continues Cleanup

The Verde Wildfire crew members continue their work at the Santa Fe Institute’s Tesuque site. They’re clearing dead and downed wood to mitigate the possibility of wildfires, work that  will eventually cover more than 100 acres around Santa Fe.

Approximately 1600 tons of dead and down wood will be recycled as biomass, or firewood, or mulch or become healthy compost.

Verde Crew Adds Another Greenhouse

Crews from the Verde Community Project erect another greenhouse at Reunity Resources. The fresh vegetables grown here will be used in meals delivered to after-school programs at local schools and social services organizations like the Boys and Girls Club.

Verde After-School Meals on the Way

YouthWorks, in collaboration with the Food Depot, launched the Verde Community Project’s after-school meal program on Monday, October 16.

This program, which is partially funded by the City of Santa Fe’s Verde Fund, will provide fresh, nutritious meals to elementary school children at risk of not having enough to eat.

Young people enrolled in the YouthWorks culinary job-training program prepare the meals, which are then delivered each day to local elementary schools and Boys and Girls Clubs.

YW Partners with the Food Depot

Developing Culinary Skills to Feed Hungry Children

YouthWorks culinary students work in the Verde kitchen, preparing nutritious meals for the after-school meal program.

This effort, a collaboration between the Food Depot and YouthWorks, will feed children who might otherwise not have enough to eat after the end of the school day.

YW Partners with Reunity Resources

Growing Produce for After-School Meal Program

Ian and Denysse gather produce at the Reunity Resources greenhouse and compost yard to deliver to the Verde kitchen for the after-school meal program that serves children who might otherwise not have enough to eat after the end of the school day.

YW Partners with Wildfire Network

Training to Protect the Forest and Fight Wildfires

As part of the Verde Community Project, young people from YouthWorks train with experts from the Wildfire Network to learn ecological monitoring, erosion control techniques, and basic wildland firefighting.

Wildfire Network Briefs Youth on Jobs

On Friday, August 25, Krys Nystrom of the Wildfire Network briefed a young audience at YouthWorks about training opportunities in ecological monitoring, erosion control techniques, and basic wildland firefighting.

These positions are funded by the Verde Community Project, an initiative partially funded by the City of Santa Fe.

Young people, ages 18 through 25, can contact Devin Baldwin at (505) 989-1855 or stop by YouthWorks for more information about participating in this program.

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