The International Green Apple Day of Service, an initiative launched by the Center of Green Schools, is marked every September as a day when students, teachers, parents, businesses and entire communities come together in support of healthy, sustainable schools by taking action in their communities. Last year nearly 50 countries reported holding Green Apple Day events. The Green Apple Day of Service this year will take place on Saturday, September 27, 2014.
In the past two years, Global Communities mobilized 6,000 volunteers and 8 corporate partners to support improvements and environmental awareness in 40 schools in seven countries. Volunteers planted trees, beautified school grounds, organized recycling and clean-up campaigns, conducted energy audits and pledged to continue to work together for the longer term to green their schools. This year Global Communities is planning projects in Kenya, India, the West Bank and near its headquarters in Washington, DC.
In Kenya, Global Communities and Web Ltd., a founding member of the Kenya Green Building Society, are rallying businesses, organizations and community members to improve the conditions of seven schools around the Mathare informal settlements in Nairobi. Most of these schools are in dire need of support to provide a safer, healthier learning environment. Some lack proper handwashing facilities and toilets. Some do not have proper sanitation disposal or electricity. Most of the schools do not have perimeter walls to keep the children safe. Through the generous support of local companies like AON and Web Ltd., Global Communities hopes to help these schools to provide better environments for their students.
In India, Global Communities is planning activities with students from nearly 30 different schools from primary grades to college in Bangalore and Pune. Activities will include parades and street rallies, health presentations, educational competitions, tree planting, school beautification projects and visits to recycling and composting centers.
In Palestine, this year’s activities will center around Aqqaba village in the West Bank, where Global Communities has designed and plans to construct a school that qualifies for green building certification. Working with students, teachers and the Ministry of Education, Global Communities will mobilize volunteers to clean up some of the public places that are used by the entire community helping to build a sense of ownership and responsibility. The planned activities include reusing materials like tires and wooden pallets to make new seating for the park, repairing and maintain existing fixtures, and creating a mural near the entrance of the park.
Near our headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, Global Communities will be returning to work with Broad Acres Elementary School in Silver Spring, one of the schools with the highest rates of poverty in Montgomery County. In partnership with IMPACT Silver Spring and Silver Spring Green, volunteers from Global Communities headquarters will be helping to clean up the school grounds and a neighboring park and continue to make improvements to the interior courtyard. Started on previous service days, the courtyard now boasts a vegetable garden and pollinators garden and is a living classroom.
As a founding member of the Global Coalition for Green Schools, Global Communities is committed to the goal of healthy, safe and environmentally-friendly schools.