Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ) is a place-based nonprofit organization which for eighteen years has strengthened at-risk communities and the natural environment in Southeast San Francisco, with an emphasis on engagement with children and youth. Our work has ranged from campaigns to address food deserts in the Bayview/Hunters Point District, to organizing grassroots momentum to close polluting energy plants, to development of San Francisco's first LEED Platinum-Certified green building, and spearheading a major infrastructure and habitat improvement project for Candlestick Point State Recreation Area on the SF Bay Shore. LEJ links extensively with public agency, non-profit, grassroots community, and corporate partners. We received an Environmental Justice award from the US EPA in 2011, among other awards and recognition.
But our core activities have always revolved around connecting marginalized youth and other San Franciscans with nature by getting their 'hands on the land' through experiential environmental education, service-learning, 'green-collar' workforce development, habitat stewardship, and outdoor recreation. Under the rubrick of our Candlestick Point Eco-Stewards Program, LEJ provides an experience of 'nature in the city' and environmental learning to upwards of 1,000 mainly low-income youth of-color annually; operates our Bay Youth for the Environment job training program for close to 20 youth and transition-age adults each year; engages hundreds of Southeast San Francisco community residents in parks planning & development decision-making as well as in hands-on open-space stewardship and recreation; and hosts other environmental, corporate, civic, and faith-based service organizations in the restoration of San Francisco's environmental legacy.