Education is a large part of the GRID Alternatives mission. Last year, we created the Solar Spring Break program. We host groups of college students around the country and give them an opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills, get involved in community service and have fun! The students can choose any of our offices yet the interest in San Diego remains high and we are expecting this to be a growing program.
The two dozen volunteers from University of Michigan and Claremont McKenna College visited us this spring. Each volunteering on a build for the Mesa Grande Tribe! A rich cultural experience in the midst of learning about and installing solar power.
The leader of the U. of M. team, Julia Goodhart, said of her expectations: “GRID has a unique model of operation that we all find attractive: renewable energy with permission from the community. This can be life changing. The group is excited to gain practical knowledge that can be used towards their future careers.” Julia, a Junior, is studying environmental issues and is passionate about the outdoors.
Her co-leader Jeff Pitch, a senior studying Social Innovation and Environmental Issues described himself as “super passionate about sustainability.”
Their week involved orientation which included learning about GRID operations, working with the outreach team to canvas underserved neighborhoods, and, of course, 2 days of solar installation. As celebration and thanks for their hard work, the week ended with a potluck hosted by the homeowners.
Our goal to educate the public does not stop with those in college. Everyone deserves a chance at an education. One of the communities in San Diego that often misses out on this chance is the large military population. Thus far, we have not been able to make a large impact into this segment of the community. However, through Operation: Solar for San Diego Troops, we are making strides to do so.
To start off Operation: Solar for San Diego Troops and families, we identified our first veteran homeowner who could use our help. Carlson Rodney, who is an electrician by trade, was so happy with GRID Alternatives that he has offered his services as a volunteer on future installations! He wants to help train the new people coming up and give back to his brother and sister veterans.
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We form a bond as we “educate and serve;” giving people free access to “doing” helps them experience what was only theory or a concept.
One of our homeowners had this Marlo Thomas quote in her signature line, “What if the cure for cancer is trapped inside the mind of someone who cannot afford an education?”
Made us think and reflect and be grateful we can share this experience with many. Whether it is a college student trying to figure out their focus, a veteran in need of a job, or just someone lost without the means to find their way, we want to help.
To read another One More Campaign story, CLICK HERE!