New Jersey, March 29, 2016 – The NJ Tree Foundation is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of our Green Streets Program this week as Green Streets kicks off their spring tree planting season.
Green Streets operates as the for-profit arm of the NJ Tree Foundation to increase recurring income for our nonprofit programs. Through our nonprofit programs, we plant trees in cities of need and educate the public about urban forestry. Through Green Streets, we train and hire men under parole supervision to plant and maintain trees through contracts.
Cities and towns throughout New Jersey are positively impacted by Green Streets as the Program provides high quality, affordable tree planting and green infrastructure installations. But the people most impacted by the Green Streets Program are the crewmembers hired.
The men hired for Green Streets are trying to get back on their feet. This is difficult to accomplish with a criminal record and little to no work experience. But the NJ Tree Foundation prepares the men for work with a landscaping company, tree trimming service, urban forestry crew, or other similar green industry position. The men immediately put their training to use planting trees and installing rain gardens with the NJ Tree Foundation, while earning an income that can support them as they transition back into society.
In its 10-year history, Green Streets has employed almost 80 men. Rafael, a 2013 Green Streets graduate, explained how the Program impacted him, “I’ve learned so many things that I actually thought myself to be a professional. For the first time in my life it felt good doing something I loved doing. Thank you to the NJ Tree Foundation for giving me the chance no one else would.”
John, another Green Streets graduate, checked in with the NJ Tree Foundation and told them, “I am doing good, the best I’ve ever done in my life – going to meetings, church, helping others. I have a foundation and am strong in my space. The NJ Tree Foundation was the best program I ever worked for. It helped me in so many ways. The best thing is that I set up my own bank account and saved my money, something I couldn’t do when I was on the streets.”
The NJ Tree Foundation believes that Green Streets has seen 10 years of success for simple reasons. Lisa Simms, NJ Tree Foundation Executive Director, explains, “We treat them with respect. They work hard and do the job well. Our Crew Supervisor is a Green Streets graduate. Not only can he sympathize with where these guys are coming from, but he also serves as an inspiration for where they can go.”
The NJ Tree Foundation’s Green Streets Program has run in the same pickup truck since it started in 2006. The truck has done a great job but it is ready to retire. Please make a donation help Green Streets get a new truck for next season so that the Program can continue to green our state and provide opportunities for men trying to get back on their feet.