Over the last year, the LA Conservation Corps has partnered with EMA to build eight school gardens in the greater Los Angeles area as part of EMA’s School Garden Program. The latest garden was built in January in downtown LA at Metropolitan High School, the largest alternative high school in the district. Ten raised garden beds were installed to function as an outdoor laboratory for the school’s new horticulture class.
The LA Corps is a 25 year-old nonprofit that provides job skills training, paid work experience and educational opportunities for under-served youth, ages 14 – 24 years old. Corps members in the Young Adult program are working towards their high school diploma while gaining marketable skills and providing valuable service to the community. In addition to building gardens, the corps members plant trees, remove graffiti, clean-up trash and debris from the community and the Los Angeles River, build hiking trails, remove invasive vegetation to restore habitats and mitigate fires, rescue sea life in Redondo Beach, and install water efficient landscaping and rainwater catchment systems.
They can also receive additional training and hands-on experience in solar panel installation, hazardous material mitigation and energy efficiency audits for small businesses and low-income homes.
Last year, over 500 young people participated in the Young Adult program and 1,000 students participated in Clean & Green, a program for 14 – 18 year old students. Together, they removed 2 million square feet of graffiti, planted more than 8,000 trees and recycled 300 tons of beverage containers, among other accomplishments.
The LA Corps also provides scholarships for its participants to continue their education, either through vocational training, community college or a four-year college or university. To learn more about the LA Corps and how to support its programs, please visit www.lacorps.org.