About the Service Corps

Green City Force’s Flagship Program: The Service Corps

Love Where You Live Challenge Team performing energy outreach in a NYCHA development.

Green City Force’s Clean Energy Corps, an AmeriCorps program based in New York City, combines national service and workforce development to reduce carbon emissions while providing urban young adults with training and leadership opportunities related to greening the economy.

The Clean Energy Corps is a six- or 10-month full-time program. Our three core elements:

  • Service. Four days per week, AmeriCorps Members are out in the field performing service projects in teams under the supervision of a Team Leader to improve community environmental health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Past projects have included: outreach and education on free energy efficiency programs to low-income communities, performing energy audits in low-income homes, engaging in urban agriculture and horticulture, and coating rooftops as part of the NYC oCoolRoofs campaign.
  • Training. One day per week, Corps Members participate in Green City Academy, a rigorous academic and technical training program that prepares Corps Members for college and leads to certification for entry-level work in energy efficiency and urban agriculture. GCF’s training model is employer-driven, designed to expand fields related to clean energy and sustainability, with an emphasis on transferable skills.
  • Support. Corps Members receive a monthly stipend, transportation, support services, job placement, and follow-up services.

GCF’s Clean Energy Corps is a rigorous experience that requires a full-time commitment from participants. Learn more about the major elements of GCF’s Clean Energy Corps program, Green Service and Green Jobs Training, before applying to the Corps here.

Ray & Terrell

Corps Members Reinarldo and Terrell move soil into a garden bed during the build-out of the Red Hook NYCHA Farm in spring 2013.


Green Service

Corps Members conduct outreach for the Love Where You Live Challenge in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Photo credit: Robin Dahlberg

Corps Members conduct outreach for the Love Where You Live Challenge in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Photo credit: Robin Dahlberg

Green City Force’s AmeriCorps Members perform environmental service throughout NYC, reducing New York’s carbon footprint and promoting sustainable practices. Our service work falls primarily into two categories: promoting Energy Efficiency and Conservation, and Stewarding Public Lands and Green Spaces.

AmeriCorps Members on our Love Where You Live teams serve six month terms, during which they help low-income families save energy, money and have healthier homes through energy audits, education and retrofits.

GCF also has 10-month AmeriCorps teams, sponsored in part by The Corps Network’s Opportunity Youth Service Initiative (OYSI), which perform land stewardship, increase access to green space and healthy foods for low-income New Yorkers, and promote energy efficiency through education.

Service Projects: Energy Efficiency

Corps Members Mark Arroyo and Stephanie Santiago perform a Multi-Family Health and Safety audit. Credit: Marina Villela Photography.

GCF Corps Members Mark Arroyo and Stephanie Santiago reading Carbon Monoxide levels for an EmPower NY audit.

Love Where You Live Challenge

In 2012, GCF, in partnership with NYCHA’s Department of Energy Finance and Sustainability Management, launched the Love Where You Live Challenge. By performing energy assessments, teaching residents energy-saving practices, and—with a friendly building-to-building competition—encouraging residents to lower their energy consumption, Corps Members achieved a greenhouse gas emissions savings comparable to taking 26.2 cars off the road per year and significant savings to the housing authority.

The Challenge has been replicated each year since its 2012 launch in NYCHA developments throughout the five boroughs, providing energy education and savings to more than 20,000 public housing residents.


Cool Roofs (past service project)

During the 2010 NYC oCoolRoofs campaign, GCF Corps Members cleaned or coated several roofs a day, starting early in the morning and traveling to different locations around the city. By cleaning or coating over 1 million square feet of rooftop, Corps Members lowered costs by cooling the buildings they coated up to 10 degrees. In turn, they reduced building energy use by up to 18%—saving money and lowering CO2 emissions.

Service Projects: Land Stewardship

Farm-based learning led by Corps Members

Corps Members in our sixth cohort lead a lesson on the six plant parts at the Red Hook NYCHA Farm.

Farms at NYCHA, is part of Building Healthy Communities (BHC), a city-wide partnership designed to improve health outcomes in 12 neighborhoods in New York City. Through the initiative, young public housing residents are building and maintaining farms on public housing properties across the city to serve fellow residents, with local partners. The Farms expand healthy food access, provide youth workforce and leadership development, and promote sustainable and connected public housing communities. Learn more about Farms at NYCHA.

In 2013, GCF’s Corps Members worked with NYCHA and Added Value to build the first large-scale urban farm on NYC public housing property at Red Hook West Houses. In the first growing season on this 1.1 acre farm, Corps Members grew 1.7 tons of vegetables for Red Hook’s 7,000 public housing residents and engaged 375 school children in an underserved community through experiential learning about food, gardening and wellness. Current GCF Corps Members continue to maintain the farm, engage residents in volunteering and educational programming, and distribute each harvest to NYCHA residents and local food pantries. The farm has enhanced the beauty and safety of a space that was once an empty lot.

Planters Grove

In partnership with NYCHA, Planters, and The Corps Network, GCF built Planters Grove—a sustainable park located at NYCHA’s Lillian Wald development on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Since The Grove’s opening in 2011, GCF Corps Members and Alumni continue to maintain it and engage residents as volunteers at the site. In building this park, GCF and partners unlocked the potential of nearly one acre of green space that was previously inaccessible to thousands of residents while also creating a sink for wastewater runoff in a flood-prone neighborhood.

Community Composting

In partnership with Added Value’s community composting program, GCF Corps Members have helped divert hundreds of tons of food waste from landfills while simultaneously creating healthy soil amendments that support the sustainable growth of the Red Hook NYCHA Farm and the Red Hook Community Farm.

Corps Members built raised beds for a resident garden at NYCHA's Ingersoll development in Brooklyn.

Corps Members built raised beds for a resident garden at NYCHA’s Ingersoll development in Brooklyn.

NYCHA Gardening & Greening

Corps Members support NYCHA’s Garden & Greening program by helping to build, maintain and engage residents in resident gardens, and assist with the launch and facilitation of Resident Green Committees (RGCs). Two GCF graduates have founded RGCs in their own developments. Corps Members volunteer at RGC and Garden & Greening Conferences. NYCHA recognized GCF in 2012 with a certificate of appreciation for GCF’s “valuable contributions to NYCHA’s Garden & Greening Program and NYCHA’s residents”.



Green Job Training

Anthony Alexander of Solar One teaches GCF Corps Members the Building Performance Building Analyst curriculum.

Anthony Alexander of Solar One teaches GCF Corps Members the Building Performance Building Analyst curriculum.

One day a week, Corps Members take part in Green City Academy, the classroom and community-building component of Green City Force (GCF). Green City Academy is an important part of the Corps Member experience and a valuable tool in preparing Corps Members to be successful in their service and future employment.

Green City Academy

Areas of study include:

  • Job readiness: Corps Members develop key components of professionalism, including attendance, punctuality, attitude, performance, and human and environmental values.
  • Educational development: Corps Members works towards educational gains in math and literacy, with weekly reading and writing assignments and math tutoring. Corps Members prepare for success on the City University of NY (CUNY) Assessment Test (CAT).
  • Career development: Career counseling, individual career plans, and guest speakers.
  • Eco-literacy training: GCF teaches the Roots of Success Eco-literacy curriculum and introduces all Corps Members to a comprehensive green living system, which teaches them about sustainability, their symbiotic relationship to the natural world, environmental injustice, and how to live green.
  • Technical Training: We prepare all Corps Members for Urban Green Council‘s GPRO Green Professional Building Skills Training Certificate. A subset of Corps Members receive Building Performance Institute certification (Building Analyst level) which prepares graduates for work as energy efficiency auditors, solar panel installation training provided by GRID Alternatives, and basic culinary skills training from The Sylvia Center, based on their employment and training track.
    GCF Corps Members listen to GCF Job Readiness Instructors

    GCF Corps Members listen to GCF Job Readiness Instructors

    If you are interested in applying to be a Green City Force Corps Member please visit Join the Corps then Apply!


Website Design by Manifesto Communications