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Thursday January 20th 2022

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Summer of Solutions Workers Listening, Responding, and Supporting

by Martha Pskowski and Nalatlie Camplair

At the beginning of June, six members of Summer of Solutions (SoS) moved into a house in Midtown Phillips. This summer residence serves as headquarters for the SoS program, a grassroots youth leadership program that focuses on building capacity and potential in communities to address social and environmental injustices. There are 15 full-time SoS members in the Twin Cities. Summer of Solutions, hosted by the non-profit Grand Aspirations, was formed by Macalester College students in 2008 and is now made up of young people from around Minnesota and the U.S.

Participants will work on bike access, urban agriculture, energy efficiency and green manufacturing. Summer of Solutions will support existing local organizations that already work in these project areas and support them with their time and energy. For example, participants will be working with a variety of urban farms this summer, including several in East Phillips.  SoS is also working on creating networks of urban farmers to create jobs and keep “food dollars” in our communities. Another partnership with a for-profit co-op, Cooperative Energy Futures, seeks to create jobs and build community by capturing the savings from energy efficiency projects. CEF is working with Karen Clark to pursue the solution of improved energy efficiency in Phillips as a strong argument against constructing the Xcel transmission lines.

CEF, urban agriculture and all the projects of SoS attempt to create new models to replace those that aren”'t working for employees, the natural world and our health. Redefining the priorities of both business and charitable work to build potential in communities is primary goal of Summer of Solutions.

In all its work, Summer of Solutions tries to listen and respond to the needs and concerns of community members. The members are excited to be in the Phillips neighborhood and be a part of its rich tradition of organizing. The program runs until the end of July but many members will continue to work on local projects throughout the rest of the year.

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