It may be a new organization, but it’s already making waves.

Lents Youth Initiative (LYI) was launched this year as a branch of ROSE (Revitalizing Outer Southeast). And like it’s mother organization, Lents Youth Initiative strives to cultivate community connections, environmental awareness and raise awareness of Lents’ livability. The difference is that LYI is geared towards youth ages 13-21.

With the bigger dream of reinvigorating Southeast Portland in mind, LYI starts small by training young, aspiring community leaders. They facilitate this by placing them in hands-on internships. This year alone LYI sponsored 12 interns who collectively contributed over 1,200 hours of service to Portland.

These interns worked with neighborhood partners of LYI on various projects, tackling social justice and environmental challenges. Each intern had a unique project to chip away at, including recycling initiatives, depaving a 1,260 square foot parking lot for a new bioswale, organizing activities the Lents Street Fair, collecting pollinator data and harvesting food.

Along with arming these young people with leadership skills, the summer internships resulted in other, immediate community benefits, including the harvesting of 645 pounds of local organic produce, the completion of 208 neighborhood survey and bringing hundreds of Lents’ community members together for fun educational activities.

This week at Portland Radio Project we featured Lents Youth Initative as part of our award-winning Community Voices series. Select interviews with members of the organization  including three interns – can be found below.

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