A Collective Letter
CFET’s summer youth program has finally come to a close. They youth had a great season with us helping to maintain our neighborhood community garden, harvesting food from our urban farm, and running our weekly farm stand.
Our program had a special focus this year on environmental justice. Every week the youth participated in a workshop consisting of either a local environmental history lesson, or a writing reflection. After the teens developed a foundation of knowledge on the subject, we tasked them with conducting interviews with community members in order to gain a deeper understanding about the experience of living in Camden. The community elders that were interviewed shared stories about how Camden has changed over time from a thriving industrial port city to its current post industrial and polluted state.
A photojournalist from Philadelphia volunteered their time to give a lesson on telling a story with photography. The youth then used the insights learned and went out into the neighborhood to document some of the industry and pollution affecting the area. We reconvened a few weeks later and reviewed the photos taken by our youth along with some of our community elders. We were all impressed with the artistic expression and attention to detail displayed by our youth.
The culmination of our efforts was a collective advocacy letter, compiled and edited with contributions from every teen in our program. The letter outlines the unjust levels of pollution faced by the community and recounts some of the stories shared by community elders in their interviews. The letter is going to be shared with our city council representative and the Mayor. We are so proud of what the youth have accomplished in such a short time!
About the Grantee
The Center for Environmental Transformation (CFET) in Camden, New Jersey engages, educates, and inspires people to practice a more environmentally responsible way of living on the planet.