malloryBy: Mallory Johnson,
AmeriCorps VISTA

As an AmeriCorps VISTA member, I have committed a year of service to help individuals and communities in Central Kentucky move out of poverty. One of the projects I am working on at Bluegrass Greensource is a series of three sustainability workshops. This series will take place from the fall through spring and will include one workshop on each of the following topics: Energy Efficiency, General Sustainability, and Urban Gardening. Though the workshops are open to the general public, I am hoping to reach at least 100 low-income individuals or families. Each workshop will include information on how the topic can help participants save money, while also creating needed environmental benefits.

The first workshop in the series is focused on Energy Efficiency and will be held at Embrace Church on December 7th from 6-8pm. Rather than listening passively to a presentation, the workshop will be hands-on so that participants get to practice the techniques, use the tools, and receive feedback from experts.

We are so happy and fortunate to partner with Chris Woolery and Rachel Norton from the How$martKY program, a residential energy efficiency initiative run by the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED). Chris and Rachel will lead the workshop, sharing their years of experience implementing energy efficiency measures in homes and apartments. Our friends at the Central Kentucky Chapter of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth are helping us survey residents in the North Side and East End neighborhoods to recruit attendees for the workshop and to help build our understanding of the energy needs our friends and neighbors in Lexington have. We will also provide a free dinner for attendees, as well as child care and energy-related educational activities for children ages four and up. Best of all, through the hands-on learning of the workshop, we will also be helping the good folks at Embrace Church weatherize the parts of their building that get the most use, thus helping them increase comfort this winter and save money, which they can redirect into the community outreach programs they offer.

If you are or someone you know would like to attend the workshop, please sign up at the link below, or call our office at 859-266-1572. The information is available in both Spanish and English:

Whether helping a family become more comfortable in their own homes this winter by saving energy, or helping people set up a garden next spring, my main focus through this series is to bring people hope and connect them with the tools and resources they need to take action. It is MY hope that these workshops will empower others to make small changes in their everyday lives that will have a big impact in our local environment.