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ReTHINK = Climate Education + Community Action

At BPS, community outreach happens with a tailored approach to engage community groups in their own neighborhoods. This winter, BPS’ ReTHINK program partnered with the Portland Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, owners of the June Key Delta Community Center (JKDCC). They were selected because of the organization’s long history of community involvement and leadership within Portland’s African American community.

The ReTHINK program partners with host organizations to provide sustainability and climate change education through a series of three workshops. Hosts are selected for their ability to reach diverse and/or  low-income residents and to engage their members in a community action project. The goal of the program is to empower communities with both the information and the resources to make meaningful progress in reducing carbon emissions.

This past year, the ReTHINK program was expanded to include a small grant for the host organization to implement a community action project related to climate change.
      
Additionally, JKDCC is on its way to achieving the highest green building certification of a Living Building, reflecting the organization’s commitment to sustainability. They applied to ReTHINK to inspire their members and community to engage in practices that would support the goals and values of the Center and that can be applied at home.

On Saturday, April 21, 2012, community members gathered for an array of workshops and family friendly Earth Day activities at the Center. The theme for JKDCC’s Earth Day event was “Healthy People, Healthy Planet”, emphasizing that what is good for the community is good for the planet, and vice versa. Workshops included composting, gardening, nutrition, and DIY energy conservation.

“We remain committed to educating our members and the surrounding community on the impacts of climate change and opportunities to make a difference. Earth Day participants continue to discuss and practice the lessons learned during the event, we anticipate that the impact of these lessons will multiply throughout the community.” Vera Pool, President of the Portland Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

The ReTHINK program will continue this spring at Self Enhancement Inc. If you are interested in the ReTHINK program for your community group, contact Desiree Williams-Rajee at desiree.williams-rajee@portlandoregon.gov.

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