Penelope Amadali is a long-term resident of the neighborhood who has worked actively to establish the first “Drug free Zones” there.
While Penelope lives alone, many neighborhood youth consider her house a second home. She often works as a substitute teacher and has grown comfortable in her role as a mentor to the many youth struggling to get onto their own feet. Adopting solar and having her system installed by local YouthBuildstudents is just another way Penelope is serving her community. Having retired from 32 years in the aerospace industry, she knows well the importance of advancing the adoption of important technology. “Communities need to generate their own energy,” Penelope explains.
Rita Simmerbach is a retired, long-term resident of the Oak Park community.
Twenty years ago, when she first moved into her home, her son visited her and was distressed by the drug traffic in the street. Over the years, she has been very active with other residents in the neighborhood association that is largely credited with cleaning up the community. Early on, her son told her that she needed to move. Rita said “Where could I go? This is all I can afford. I am not going to get out. They need to get out.”
Having worked hard all her life, Rita never thought she would accept such a valuable charitable gift as solar. With GRID Alternatives program, however, Rita sees more than a social service for a low-income homeowner. She sees her system as being a part of a movement to create access to renewable energy for communities that would never believe they could benefit from it. An avid nature lover and hiker, Rita recognizes solar as a benefit to the environment as well. When asked what she would do with the savings her eyes lit up, “More hikes,” she said. “I give money to the carpool drivers.”