Lights. Water. Action!
Applied Mentorship Program for Sustainability (AMPS)
The Applied Mentorship Program for Sustainability-Atlanta (AMPS-Atlanta) chapter is a mentorship and pre-weatherization training program for underprivileged youth. In it’s pilot year during the summer of 2009, the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency (AWDA) teamed up with the Department of Watershed Management and the Let’s Retrofit A Million Project (LRAM) to provide thousands of energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs as well as water-saving kits to modest means communities across the Atlanta metropolitan area.
The distribution of these conservation devices managed to save city residents $2.5 million on their electricity and water bills. Renters and property managers of Mozley park, Chappel Forest, Overlook Atlanta, Ashby Park, Magnolia Park, Lincoln Park, and Flipper Temple were very pleased to receive these services free of charge. In 2010, the AMPS-Atlanta team continued to distribute these conservation items at no cost to residents in the neighborhoods of Browns Mill, Cleveland Ave, Mt. Zion, Mechanicsville, and Donnelly Garden. For 2011, AMPS-Atlanta built an maintained a ¾ acre urban garden in the heart of West End Atlanta with assistance from the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance. True to the LRAM model, AMPS-Atlanta is staffed by the efforts of a modest team of local college students and fortified by the addition of City of Atlanta high school students representing the Mayor’s Youth Program at AWDA. The EcoTerns as the AMPS-Atlanta employees affectionately call them, are not only educated on the installation of conservation devices, but also on the importance of improving the environmental intelligence within their communities. The AMPS-Atlanta staff places a special emphasis on mentorship for the EcoTerns, providing them with extensive training to help with community engagement as well as education on the importance of personal responsibility, developing future goals, and understanding on-the-job professionalism.
AMPS-Atlanta is Atlanta’s premier pre-weatherization training program for youth. This recession-proof team is not only stimulating the local economy by providing jobs, it is also bringing the environmental conversation down to the community level. Environmental research shows that airborne and waterborne pollutants disproportionately affect areas of modest means. The people most affected by these problems have been without a voice for entirely too long. In focusing on mentorship, community engagement, and leadership training for the city’s youth, AMPS-Atlanta is illuminating the need for community engagement in sustainability and addressing the problems encompassing environmental justice. Additionally, AMPS-Atlanta is committed to training a new generation of Agtivists by providing healthy fresh food for residents through the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance Outdoor Activity Center.