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PowerUp: GRID Alternatives and Just in Time for Foster Youth partner to empower San Diego

The Kmoch family has owned and lived in their modest San Diego neighborhood since 1987. They enjoy the quiet, pleasant atmosphere of the community and always have been thoughtful about the environment. Mr. Kmoch considered the cost of installing solar many years ago, but the expense was out of reach.

Now, thanks to San Diego nonprofit GRID Alternatives, what once seemed impossible has become an empowering reality, while at the same time, benefiting Just in Time for Foster Youth (www.jitfosteryouth.org), and organization that engages a caring community to help transitioning foster youth ages 18-26 achieve self-sufficiency and well-being.

 GRID Alternatives San Diego is working to provide solar power from San Ysidro to Escondido, Barrio Logan to Julian, by bringing the power of solar electricity to low-income families, rooftop by rooftop, at the rate of about two homes a week. And they do it all with the help of community volunteers and job trainees, who can use the experience to help them get jobs in the rapidly growing solar industry.

The power of GRID Alternative has also extended to San Diego’s community of transitioning youth.    Last year, a handful of young men began to participate in solar installations through Just in Time for Foster Youth’s Bridges to Success program.  The experience was so successful that the organization decided to form a formal partnership, launching in May (Foster care Month) with three objectives in mind for Summer 2014:

* Provide solar energy for 30 low and moderate income homes in San Diego neighborhoods

* Raise awareness of solar energy with the general public to generate additional support

* Connect transitioning foster youth to a meaningful job and career in the solar industry

Don Wells, Executive Director of Just in Time for Foster Youth, stated, “This is a tremendous opportunity for the young men and women in our program. A dozen have already begun the necessary training for the two-day installations, with the goal of having those with the aptitude and interest proceeding to get full NABCEP certification and employment opportunities.”  Wells noted that as a bonus, two transitioning youth are also becoming Green Ambassadors to provide information and education to their peers and target communities. 

“GRID Alternatives and Just in Time agree with Elena Kmoch,” said Wells.  “We truly believe that the power of each of us working together makes a positive impact.”

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