A televised segment of Bill Moyer’s Journal on PBS impressed the HFF with the work of The Earth Conservation Corps. First broadcast in January 2004, “Endangered Species” tells a story of urban blight and community faith. One of America’s gleaming symbols of freedom and prosperity, Washington, DC is also home to one of the most impoverished and polluted neighborhoods in America. On the banks of the Anacostia River, the Southeast section of the nation’s capital has been an environmental disaster area and a home for violence. But now a non-profit group called the Earth Conservation Corps (ECC), composed of young adults from under-resourced communities, is bringing hope to this neighborhood under siege.
Since 1989, the Earth Conservation Corps has graduated hundreds of Corps members who have led tens of thousands of citizens in environmental service projects. The ECC success rate is inspiring. Eighty-five percent of Corps members have gone on to higher education, are gainfully employed, or remain involved in their community. Through ECC, members learn to protect the environment and gain skills they need to improve their lives. Corps members are supported in numerous ways, including helping them earn their high school equivalency diplomas (GEDs), teaching environmental science, and job training skills.
Inspired by the dedication of Corp members who are taking responsibility for cleaning up our environment and the outreach they extend within the community, The HFF made a contribution to the future River of Hope Academy for the more than 2,000 Anacostia youth who the city of Washington, D.C. deems the ‘hardest to reach and most severely disadvantaged’. We encourage others to find out more about The Earth Conservation Corps at www.ecc1.org.