Heartland Coalition 2015 Director’s Letter
While the poverty and joblessness we encountered over the past decade will most likely continue well into 2015 and beyond, Heartland has made a difference and has made people and communities better in California, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska and Illinois. This New Year will see us redoubling our efforts to restore homes, create jobs, conduct seminars & trainings, and start incubator businesses.
In keeping with our mission, Heartland continues to acquire, renovate (energy improvements), and sell houses in California, Arizona, Nevada and Illinois to first time moderate and low income buyers. In addition, we are writing grants to fund job training in weatherization techniques and solar thermal and solar electric installation. We want to prepare high-risk youth and veterans for a variety of career choices. To support this educational goal, we recently started year 2 of our YouthBuild Charter School in the City Heights area of San Diego for underprivileged youth seeking a GED and/or vocational training.. The school opened its doors in fall of 2013 and has doubled in size ever since. Our second graduation will take place this June.
One of Heartland’s key activities this upcoming year is Project GreenSmart, a project designed to train people for jobs and business operations in green industries. (e.g., green buildings, weatherization, solarization, wind energy, ethanol production from fire hazardous brush and electric vehicle production.)
We are especially proud of our long term partnership with East County Magazine (ECM), a component of Heartland’s Project Awareness. ECM continues to publish its weekly paper and has received numerous awards from the San Diego Press Club. KSNJ Radio also operates and broadcasts from Heartland’s East County Magazine office.
Heartland has completed construction on Triple H Ranch, which will serve Project Achieve students, foster youth, and returning veterans with horsemanship and wilderness experiences. The ranch is also available to assist disaster survivors with horse boarding and storage of personal items until the survivors can re-establish their businesses and residences. Heartland Alaska has taken Project Achieve to a new level with its “Mushing for Minors” program which assists youth with improving academic performance and learning how to operate dog sled teams as an extracurricular learning and motivational activity. This program has received national media attention.
Heartland’s goals for 2015 include:
1. Secure and Distribute Scholarships to High School Seniors
2. Provide Valuable Educational Resources for Disadvantaged San Diego Youth through the on-going expansion and development of the Heartland YouthBuild Charter High School
3. Retrain at least 8 Veterans in Weatherization and/or Solar Power Installation
4. Host at least 20 Veterans and Foster Youth at Triple H Ranch
5. Rebuild 8 Energy Efficient Houses in the States Served by the Heartland Coalition
6. Sponsor the Green Retrofit of at least 1 Commercial Office Building
7. Open the GreenSmart Technical Center
8. Continue Sponsoring Neighborhood GreenSmart Clean-up Events
9. Expand the Job Training and Job Development Opportunities at Canyon Coachworks and EVCentric
10.Launch a Variety of Housing Resources and Economic Development Services in
San Diego and Chicago
To the many interns and volunteers who have assisted us in the past, we thank you. We extend a special thanks to Wells Fargo, Toyota of El Cajon, Hybrid Haven, Turner Construction, UPS, SDG&E, People’s Foods, Urban League of San Diego County, LMI of San Diego, Car 2 Go, UCSD, San Diego State University, Thoryk Architecture, Iberdrola Renewables and all of our partners and sponsors for our community revitalization projects and our community events.
Mark Hanson, Ph.D.
President & Executive Director, Heartland Coalition