Sustain-A-Raisers is G.A.L.A.’s most popular program that conducts sustainable home & yard makeovers. including the installation of raised garden beds, solar hot water systems, clotheslines (or “solar clothes dryers!”), rain barrels, compost bins, and cold frames for extending the growing season. G.A.L.A. works with volunteers of all ages to offer these services on a sliding scale bases for homes, businesses, nonprofits, institutions, or apartment complexes.
The program is inspired by and modeled after the concept of barn raising – the original neighbor-helping-neighbor work party most popular among the Amish population in the early 1800s. G.A.L.A. applies this same model by mobilizing and training volunteers to work together to help communities take important steps to conserve energy, save money, increase food security, and protect vulnerable ecosystems. The program also provides a platform to strengthen teamwork, develop green collar job skills, and deepen a sense of place and pride among community members.
Read a blog entry about Sustain-A-Raisers on the Starbucks website here.
Sustain-A-Raisers dispels the common excuses that say sustainable living is either too expensive or too much work. Creativity and collaboration transform expensive and laborious chores into enriching youth-managed sustainable home/yard retrofits and services that are affordable and fun. As a result, Sustain-A-Raisers has a unique triple return – a) reducing our community’s ecological footprint while increasing self-sufficiency, b) building social capital, and c) developing entrepreneurial skills among youth.
To learn more about how Sustain-A-Raisers work, click here.
To learn about volunteering for a Sustain-A-Raisers, click here.
Benefits of the Solar Raiser program are many! But here is a glimpse:
Green Job Economy: Each Solar-Raiser offers experiential learning opportunities that give young adults and local tradesmen an advantage within the green job economy. Each Solar-Raiser offers important job training that will prepare tradesmen and students to pursue a career in the green job economy. Participants learn all technicalities of solar-hot-water installation, including safety while working on a roof, electrical tie-in, water temperature control, and how to fill out and submit paperwork for state and federal solar rebate programs. This training experience will be suitable for a veteran contractor looking to add solar installations to his/her existing repertoire, or for a beginner carpenter looking to define his/her career path with green technology.
Resource Conservation: The importance of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and learning how to harness renewable energy is no secret in this day and age. The Solar-Raiser program stands out, however, for its relatively easy duplication and immediate environmental benefits. Not only will each Solar Raiser reduce our community’s dependence on fossil fuels, but it will also educate participants about the importance of energy conservation, efficiency, and renewable generation.
Community: Hosting a Solar Raiser may not be the most “efficient” way to install solar hot water, but that is not the point. One of this most important benefits of using the barn-raising model is its ability to build a sense of community.