Corps Member Olin Witt on the Green Festival and Ford Community Grant

July 30, 2012  |   Posted by :   |   Blog   |   Comments Off on Corps Member Olin Witt on the Green Festival and Ford Community Grant»

By Olin Witt, Winter 2012 Clean Energy Corps Member

Olin Witt, Winter 2012 Clean Energy Corps Member

This past Sunday at the NYC Green Festival, my fellow Corps Members and I helped Green City Force to win the Ford Community Green Grant by encouraging people to vote for GCF. The grant will help GCF to train Corps Members on a new community farm at Red Hook Houses.

GCF had a table with fliers and a big boot covered with Cool Roofs paint. A lot of people were flocking to our table, asking what GCF was. I told them the type of service that we do – such as helping small business owners, NYCHA residents, and homeowners to lower their energy bills, and doing gardening and farming. I told them that we receive money for college at the end of the program, and that GCF helps us to find employment and stay employed for at least three years. Whoever I spoke to, old or young, their eyes lit up, like “wow, that’s incredible!” When I talked about service, they would end the conversation by saying “thank you.” Everybody seemed to be a fan of Green City Force.

We were at the table for hours. Then we heard that our Team Leader, Lawrence, had set up a time for us to meet Russell Simmons and take a picture with him. While we were waiting, we spoke with the contractor who’s in charge of the whole SBDI (Small Buildings Direct Installation) project. One man was giving out free samples of an energy drink, and he gave GCF Corps Members entire bottles instead of cups, saying, “These guys are the future. These are the guys who are going to help us.”

When it was voting time, we were standing by the booth, talking to anyone who looked at the GCF flier. Apparently we spoke to some major people in the green industry; I didn’t realize it, but afterwards people would say, “Do you know who just spoke to?”

At the end of the day, one of the men I had spoken to at our table said, “Alright everybody, it’s time to announce the winner!” Everybody in the area gathered around – from Girl Scouts to high school students to other contestants for the grant. The man said it was close, but GCF was the winner! I thought that it would just be GCF Corps Members who were hyped about it, but everyone I spoke to was hyped that GCF won. They gave us a check for $5,000, a good 6 feet long, and we posed with it and took pictures. One Corps Member was about to cry tears of joy. The whole time he had said, “We need to win this, we’re going to win this! I’m going to make sure that we win this.” So we all did what we could to make that happen. And while we were finding out the winner, another Corps Member, Ellizier, had stayed at our table the whole time talking to people about GCF. He was still there, and he found out that we had won when he saw the check that we carried back with us.

Clean Energy Corps Members receive Ford Community Green Grant Award

Another Corps Member and I carried around the check for the rest of the day, showing it to everybody. Another person gave us free samples because we won the grant. I think we got the message out to a lot of people, and apparently everyone liked GCF and what it’s about.

I’m proud to know that I had something to with winning the Ford Community Green Grant. I know Green City Force will make the most of the grant – we wouldn’t be able to have these uniforms, these MetroCards, if they didn’t send the money to all the right places. I know that I and my fellow Corps Members played a big part in helping to better Green City Force.

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