November 2022

November Newsletter

What’s New With Sustaining Way?

From partnering with the Poor People’s Campaign to get out the vote, to determining that our most recent Energy Home Visit saved the homeowner over 50%, to the restarting of our Steward Education program post-COVID, to receiving funding to establish resiliency hubs in our partner communities, it’s been a busy and exciting month! 

Additionally, we continue to grow to support our ambitious strategic plan. We are excited to welcome Stacia Lomax as our Community Engagement VISTA.  She will be supporting our Community Engagement Coordinator, Oscar Bennett, to engage community members in our programs and assist with volunteer engagement. By early 2023, we will have a total of eight Americorp VISTAs supporting our community efforts around food security, energy burden reduction, sustainability education, and community health.

We count all of you among our many blessings. Thank you for your continued support. Have a safe and wonderful holiday season, and we look forward to all the exciting things that we will accomplish together in 2023.

We are excited to announce our participation in this year’s Giving Tuesday on November 29th! This global day of giving back is very important to us because it presents the opportunity for us as a nonprofit organization and community to come together and raise funds during one 24-hour period and push to reach our goals as we near the end of 2022.

On Giving Tuesday, we are aiming to reach 34 total Sustainers** and raise $5,000. This will significantly catalyze our fundraising efforts to reach 50 Sustainers** and $15,000 raised by the end of the year.

Follow along on our Instagram and Facebook to track our progress throughout the day and see how you can contribute!

**See the bottom of the newsletter or our website for more information on what a Sustainer is and how to become one!

Meet Our Newest Staff Member!

Stacia Lomax

Stacia Lomax will serve as our Community Engagement VISTA member for the 2022-2023 year. She is a native of Greenville County, the oldest of three, and the mother of one daughter, Faith. Stacia is an Associate Minister in her local church, Storehouse of Faith Ministry Church. Stacia graduated with her Bachelors of Arts Degree in Sociology from Barber-Scotia College. She went on to earn her Masters of Arts Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from SC State University in December 1994, in what would be SCSU’s 1st Fall Convocation. Stacia is passionate about meeting people where they are and assessing their needs or desires while working on a plan to get them where they want to be. Stacia believes honesty is not only the best policy, but the only po

Available Positions at Sustaining Way

Come and join the Sustaining Way Team! Below are the current openings – you can always browse them on the Careers page of our website and apply through the Indeed job posting.

Energy and Energy Efficiency VISTA. The Energy VISTA will help improve Sustaining Way’s efficiency and effectiveness in energy-related programs in Nicholtown and other marginalized communities. The VISTA project will accomplish this by increasing resident participation in the Energy Home Visit (EHV) programs and activities, developing and implementing energy-related impact measures, developing and organizing processes and procedures for SW energy programs, increasing energy efficiency educational offerings, and increasing volunteer engagement in energy efficiency related initiatives.

Sustainability Education Intern. The Sustainability Education Intern will support the staff in coordinating activities related to our Steward Youth program. Roles and responsibilities include creating lesson plans, assisting the after-school programs, helping to teach classes, coordinating/scheduling expert teachers, and helping to establish and strengthen connections/partnerships with other local non-profits, businesses, and schools.

Marketing and Engagement Intern. The Marketing and Engagement Intern will assist the staff in marketing and maintaining social media accounts. Experience with graphic design, social media management, and videography is preferred. 

Part-Time Videographer. The Videographer will assist staff in capturing and editing video for use on our various marketing and social media platforms. Experience with photography, videography, and storytelling is preferred.

Part-Time Storyteller. The Storyteller will assist staff in capturing stories pertaining to the various programs at Sustaining Way and those who have been involved in or impacted by them.

Program and Community Updates

Garden Updates:

Remember to sustainably dispose of your old Halloween pumpkins! You can compost them, bury them, leave them for wildlife, feed them to chickens, harvest their seeds for an awesome oven-baked snack, make pumpkin puree, make a pumpkin planter, and more! The Annie’s House garden staff can help you with any composting or chicken-feeding needs! Just bring by your old produce (without any stickers on them) during any of our volunteering hours and we can help you sustainably dispose of them!

The month of October brought some great conditions for our collards to start growing in the Annie’s House garden! They’re really starting to thrive and show off their beautiful green color.

Our garden at Upstate Circle of Friends has also had a plethora of harvests recently including green peppers, collards, spinach, and more!

Our volunteer gardening work days have seen some new faces this past month, which is always exciting! Everyone is always welcome to come and garden with us. We encourage you to bring a friend as well!

Community Updates:

First for some big community news! The current Nicholtown Association President, Alan Mitchell, was elected to county council and will be representing our community come 2023! We are so excited and happy for Mr. Mitchell.

Last month, Sustaining Way participated in two community Halloween “Trunk or Treat” events. One was at The Love Center (of the Nicholtown Missionary Baptist Church) and one was at the Nicholtown Community Center. Community members of all ages came to hang out and get into the Halloween spirit. We had so much fun spending time with everyone and enjoying the Halloween season!

Next month, we will be partnering with The Love Center and the Nicholtown Community Center to host a free Christmas event. It will be on December 17th at the Nicholtown Community Center to spread the holiday cheer! There will be food, drink, and fun games for all. 

Program Updates:

During the last month of election season, Sustaining Way staff and volunteers canvassed around the Nicholtown community to get out the vote. We helped educate individuals to know what resources are available about their voting precinct, who to contact about their voting status, and how to make a voting plan.

This month we started our Baseline Community partnership back up. On November 17th we met with nonprofits, local politicians, and community organizations to strengthen our outreach in the Nicholtown area and broader Greenville community.

Additionally, we have recently been working on strengthening our relationship with schools and community youth programs to help return Steward Education to pre-COVID levels. We are starting these efforts by visiting the Nicholtown Community Center youth every Tuesday to administer mini-lessons on sustainability topics. Once a month, we are also hosting the Community Center youth on-site for educational offerings. We are in the process of partnering with other organizations to provide similar programs for youth education. 

We are redeveloping Annie’s House as a field trip venue for local schools. We kicked this off by hosting all 3rd graders from the Sterling School for an on-site field trip. Across November 16-18, we hosted a total of 120 students at Annie’s House. We had three stations for the students to rotate through — healthy eating, seed growth, and a tour of our garden. For the healthy eating station, students learned about how different colored vegetables and fruits have different health benefits. At the seed growth station, students learned about seeds and got the opportunity to paint pots and plant their owns seeds. At the garden tour station, students learned about everything that’s happening in our garden from the chicken coop to our compost. Students even had the opportunity to separate their waste from lunch into recyclables, compost, and trash. We had a blast!

As mentioned in the previous newsletter, we have been working closely with a Nicholtown community member, Ms. Byers, to improve the energy efficiency of her home and repair her rooftop solar panel system. We recently did an analysis of her energy bills from the three months following our final intervention in June 2022 compared to the same three months from the prior year. So far, her energy consumption has been reduced by 56%!

Volunteer Opportunities and Giveaways

We deeply appreciate all of our volunteers at Sustaining Way and cannot thank them enough for coming to our various events. Looking to volunteer with us? Check out the ways that you can get involved. We offer many opportunities to get your hands dirty and make a difference in the community.

We hold Work and Learns every Tuesday from 3:00-6:00 p.m., Wednesday from 4:30-6:00 p.m., and Friday from 8:00-10:00 a.m. at Annie’s House. (The times may be shifting soon due to daylight saving time; stay tuned for a confirmation of that. Additionally, they are always weather-dependent.) These are excellent opportunities to volunteer in the Annie’s House garden while also getting all your gardening, composting, and sustainability questions answered by our amazing staff. We also hold Service Days every 3rd Saturday from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Volunteers are always welcome at any of our events. We hope to see you in the garden soon!

We hold additional virtual/remote volunteer opportunities if you are not located in the area or if gardening isn’t your thing. Our volunteer interest form contains all of the categories of opportunities that we have.

Get Involved

Volunteer of the Month:
Each month, we enter in all of our volunteers from that month into a randomized raffle for gifts generously donated by local businesses. Our most recent winner of the month is Ian! Ian is a new volunteer to Sustaining Way but has already come out to help with the garden workdays on numerous occasions in the past month after volunteer onboarding with us. We appreciate all he does for Sustaining Way and are proud to have given him some generously donated REI merchandise.

Do you want to win a volunteer prize? All you have to do is come out to volunteer with us! We’d always love to have you!

We are endlessly thankful for all of our supporters and know that without your help, we would not be able to serve as many people as we do nor help to make this world one where all people, neighborhoods, and nature thrive. This season of giving thanks has us feeling especially thankful for you all, but know that we appreciate you year-round!

Become a Sustainer Today!

Become a Sustainer of Sustaining Way! By giving any monthly amount, whether $5 or $500, you will be providing essential support for our life-changing programs, and provide us consistent income so we can better focus our efforts on our mission. These monthly donations make a huge difference to us and can gain you benefits like a produce card to use at our garden on site, reusable and sustainable goodies, or even a free energy home visit!

We always appreciate any donations, and similar to monthly sustainer donations, any donation amount helps to back our programs and initiatives, and ultimately our mission to use education, collaboration and advocacy to create sustainable, caring, and equitable communities for current and future generations.

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