ForestrCleans: Keep the East Bay Beautiful

Every Saturday morning, high-schoolers, Luca Dito, Yhzekel Kahsai, and 5-10 of their friends, walk the highways of Castro Valley, California, bagging up waste that hardly anyone else wants to touch.
 
 
 
 
ForestRCleans
The two teens are part of a program of Forestr.org, a San Francisco East Bay nonprofit devoted to cleaning, greening, and feeding local communities. The ForestR cleaning program started out conducting litter abatement with the county's Adopt-a-Highway program. In 2021, ForestRCleans collected over 250 bags of litter, as well as a great many large, unbaggable items like truck tires and mattresses. The program is growing fast: this year's results represent an increase of over 50% of the 2020 collection rate.
 
 
 
 
Deep Green
At ForestR, we believe beauty is beneath the surface. Because we think deeply about how to amplify the impacts of what we do, our program has evolved in innovative ways that are not typical for highway cleanups. We are cleaning and greening. Our efforts include wildfire mitigation, land restoration, and a green gigs program. Our teams apply permaculture practices to build soils and plant communities, provide job training and leadership opportunities for teens, and empower unhoused neighbors to collect litter for weekly pay. We have cut dead shrubs and branches, and cleared the grounds of potential fuel for wildfires. We are using mycelium and leaf litter as natural fertilizers for the soil, and creating swales to filter, direct, and store water. In this way, ForestR is modeling how, with just a little more big picture thinking, highway cleanup programs can be leveraged into regenerative land management and green jobs programs.
 
 
 
 
Green Jobs and Gigs
Some of the ForestRs, like Luca and Yhzekel, are saving for college. Some are parents who bring their teens along to model community service and spend time outdoors. And some are neighbors without houses, paid $5/bag for helping to clean up Castro Valley.
 
 
 
 
EveryoneCleans
EveryoneCleans is the brainchild of 17-year-old Castro Valley High School student, Luca Dito, who has been volunteering for the ForestRCleans program since May, 2021.
 
 
EveryoneCleans encourages those in our neighborhood without homes to participate in the beautification of our communities and receive benefits for each bag collected. It has been an instant success, collecting 24 bags in the last 3 weeks, which is a little over a bag a day. Luca says, "This allows them to be appreciated and rewarded for helping to clean up the environment, just like everyone else."
 
 
Future Plans
In 2022, ForestR plans to add more ForestRCleans and EveryoneCleans teams in more communities. We plan to form partnerships with local governments, businesses, and community service groups to make larger and more permanent improvements on shared lands, and create scalable, replicable models for integrating environmental and social regeneration.
 
 
Support ForestRCleans
This #GivingTuesday and Holiday Season, invest your gratitude, generosity, and spirit of giving in cleaning and greening Eden Area communities in the San Francisco East Bay. Please donate to ForestRCleans, and help us beautify and restore our shared spaces while providing green jobs to youth and the underemployed.
 
Your Tax Deductible Donation Supports
$5 gets a bag of litter off the ground and puts a fiver in the pocket of an unhoused neighbor
$30 hires a young person’s for a 2-hour Saturday cleaning and greening session
$50 buys life essentials for a team of unhoused neighbors who collect 10 bags of trash
$100 supports a ForestRCleans team leader stipend for a week
$300 pays a full team of 10 for their 2-hour Saturday cleanup event
$1,000 underwrites the development of a training program to create deep green cleaning teams in other East Bay communities.
 
Thank you!
Donations made to this GoFundMe are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law and are processed in U.S. dollars. ForestR is a U.S. nonprofit, tax-exempt, charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. EIN: 84-3405350. ForestR has the Guidestar bronze seal of transparency. 

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