A RIVER OF HOPE
Gearing Towards Our Newest Phase of Environmental Service & Stewardship Through the Power of Partnership
Former Earth Conservation Corps & Americorps graduate, Robert West with one our Eagles during President Obama's Inaguration in 2008.
To watch a video of Mr. West & Former President Obama...
The River of Hope is an under-resourced youth engagement model that connects the rising generation of Wards 6, 7, & 8 by harnessing local and national partnerships to create future STEM Leaders.
RIVER OF HOPE MISSION
The River of Hope Partnership is dedicated to restoring our country’s most threatened natural resources—our environment and our under-resourced young people. Since Earth Conservation Corps’ formation in 1989 as a White House initiative and launch in 1992, and the subsequent formation of the River of Hope Partnership in 1994; we have grown from an inspired dream to a national model for service-learning initiatives. The idea was simple: give people a chance to transform their lives by reviving their watershed communities. Our lasting model of the creative adaptive reuse of dilapidated buildings into environmental youth engagement centers, positions the River of Hope Partnership for a new level of service-learning.
While water and youth still remain as some of our most precious resources, the River of Hope Partnership is now expanding into STEM focused tracks to equip our youth with the tools not only to succeed personally, but to also become problem solvers for the increasingly urgent threats of climate change. Our three campus coalition of; the Monique Johnson Anacostia River Center, the Matthew Henson Earth Conservation Center, and the Wings Campus symbiotically educate our youth and surrounding Washington, D.C. communities while protecting and studying our natural environment. By creating future STEM leaders today, we can install the most effective model of sustainability that enables the success of our youth and our environment.
“The Anacostia River’s condition and the condition of the neighborhoods that lie along its banks are inextricably connected. The Earth Conservation Corps’ programs are a link between the resource and the community.”
- Brenda Richardson, Earth Conservation Corps Founding Board Member
From first outdoor experience to scientist, River of Hope’s cyclical peer model will create STEM career pathways through boots on the ground and laboratory exposure for underserved youth.
Our nation’s capital is experiencing exponential infrastructure growth; once life-threatening streets of Southeast D.C. are now bubbling with new apartments, cafes, and widespread amenities. Over the past 29 years, the River of Hope Partnership has maintained its position at the historic capitol pumphouse, and later down the street at the Matthew Henson Earth Conservation Center -- which are now in the backyards of two of D.C.’s largest stadiums -- the Washington Nationals and D.C. United.
As a new bridge runs across the Anacostia, connecting our communities by transport, the River of Hope Partnership seeks to address the still-lasting disparities across our river by bridging our communities. With a 10 year difference in life expectancy across the Anacostia River, and a 12.8% unemployment rate disparity between Ward 8 (16.8%) and Ward 2 (4.0%) as of February 2021 according to the Department of Employment Services (DOES); the River of Hope Partnership is working to close this disparity by creating STEM pathways for under-resourced youth.
River of Hope’s lasting model of revitalizing our environment and community enters its newest phase to team with our partners The DYRS New Beginnings Campus and Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe Academy.
As River of Hope focuses on cultivating STEM Leaders, it is imperative to bring our third location, the Wings Campus, to the cadets at Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Laurel, MD -- 90% of whom are under-served youth from Wards 6,7 & 8. The River of Hope Partnership is installing a virtuous closed loop cycle by engaging these high school dropouts turned Capital Guardian cadets with raptor rehabilitation. Upon their graduation, these cadets will have the opportunity to apply to become corps members with Earth Conservation Corps and engage in a year of service that includes them pursuing their interests in STEM based subjects as well as applying to college. Upon the completion of their service year with us, our corps members will continue on as college-bound leaders, ready to tackle the growing threats of climate change to our environment and our communities.
By addressing the inextricable link between environment and community, the River of Hope Partnership steps forward into 2021 alongside many of our long term partners who have made the past 29 years possible. With billions of dollars of economic activity generated since the first Earth Conservation Corps crew strapped on their waders and cleaned up the Anacostia River in 1992, and over 1 million hours of service logged, the River of Hope Partnership is ready to enter our third decade of service.
As anthropogenic threats are not only on the horizon but at our front doors, we must tap into our most precious resource -- our youth. By bridging the gap between our Washington, D.C. communities and developing many of our under-resourced youth’s interest, confidence, and pathways in STEM subjects; the River of Hope Partnership is demonstrating our leading model of sustainability by repurposing abandoned industrial buildings into an interconnected campus. Our cities’ youth are mentored by leading scientists in the deployment of cutting edge science tools as they restore the Anacostia River biodiversity and gain the tools to be the leaders in facing the looming challenges of climate change.
MAP OF THE RIVER OF HOPE
The Three Campuses & Restoration Areas
1520 First St SE, Washington, DC 20003
2000 Half Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024
3) Wings Campus
Currently under construction with the help from Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe Academy and the Fresh Start project.
3190 Oak Hill Drive, Laurel, MD 20724
Adjacent to the Monique Johnson Anacostia River Center
To learn specifics about each River of Hope Campus you can either click on the names above, or visit them by the listed tabs under 'A River of Hope.'
Watch this video by Earth Conservation Corps member Ronny Rice on our River of Hope.