Week 2 at LETS GO!


My name is Marlon English. I’m a Chicago native originally from the south side.I currently  live on the northside of Chicago in Rogers Park. I’m familiar with community organizing, but the work I’ve done prior to this type of work is around juvenile justice and health care\equity in the southside’s Woodlawn neighborhood.

I found out about Summer of Solutions through a few friends that worked in the program last year and it caught my attention to learn solutions for storm water and living more sustainably. Every person in our Summer Of Solutions was given choices on project groups that strike their interest. Out of 3 groups(Green business pilot,Yardshare,and Children’s Garden), I chose Green Business Pilot, which is a worker cooperative development project. As a worker cooperative we will all have shared resources and shared power/authority. I decided to join the co-op project  not only tobecome more business savvy, but to learn more about stormwater solutions and being hands on in a worker owned business.

During week 2 of Summer Of Solutions Green Business Pilot has been planning marketing strategies. We all did some research on prices for rain barrel parts,preferably buying supplies in bulk for inexpensive prices.We meet for 3 and a half hours everyday to work on our project area and we all made a commitment of taking on several tasks.Toward the end of the week we did site analysis at a few houses we plan on installing rain barrels at. We got measurements on a number of downspouts per house.I intend to become more knowledgeable about gardening and worker cooperatives during our Summer Of Solutions program. My experience in  S.O.S so far has been very positive and I enjoy all the exercises.Both the leaders and participants have positive attitudes that make even some of the more tedious work more enjoyable.Weekly 1on1 sessions are very effective to give an analysis on our participation . I’m very excited to see our progress next week  being more hands on in our Green Business Pilot project area.

Alumni Spotlight: Ethan Viets-Vanlear

Cross-posted from Solutionaries.net, the national blog of Grand Aspirations

Application deadline for Summer of Solutions is 4/14  Apply here!

My name is Ethan Viets-Vanlear, I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois where I am currently a student, activist, poet, and organizer. I started Summer of Solutions in the summer of 2012 through Let’s Go Chicago.

My initial motive for joining SoS was to spend more of my time outside building tangible solutions to some of the issues I noticed around me. I was also excited to spend my time growing food.  I think the biggest thing that I got from SoS was the notion that any problem has a solution that I can take part into making happen.  SoS really taught me a way to help a community without being part of various systems of oppression and control that dominate most organizations and institutions in our society. My favorite memories from SoS would have to be our various trips offsite to places like a farm, or spending time with all the participants around a campfire. 1

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Alumni Spotlight: Ashley Trull

This article is cross-posted from Solutionaries.net, the national blog of Grand Aspirations and the Summer of Solutions. While Ashley didn’t participate in the Chicago program, her account is a very good testimony of what a Summer of Solutions experience can be like in any location.

It’s that time of the year. I can feel my bones stirring, getting ready for new beginnings. It’s that wintery feeling that comes when we get ready for the spring and summer to warm us up and get us out into the world again. In SoS terms, it’s the “January Gathering” time of year when we get together to plan our projects and programs for Summer of Solutions and all of our solutionary endeavors. And though I didn’t go to the January Gatherings this year, I still feel that sense of stirring, beginnings, and excitement. It is time to connect with people around us, to share ideas, dream up new possibilities, and get ready to grow in new directions.

As Solutionaries around the country organize and prepare for their Summer of Solutions programs, I’m getting ready for a new Solutionary launch of my own. Continue reading