Welcome to Youth Challenge America’s office space in New York City! This is Green Spaces, “where social change happens.” Green Spaces is an incubator of socially and environmentally conscious non-profits and entrepreneurs based on the edge of TriBeCa. I am in the first photo on the Green Spaces website –the desk on the far right!
Just south of the knockoff squad hawking their wares at Canal and Broadway lies Green Spaces Manhattan (the founders have gone on to open Green Spaces Colorado and are planning to open a Green Spaces LA in the near future). Similar to the Center of Social Innovation for those located in Toronto, Green Spaces is a hub of dynamic individuals tackling the social, environmental, economic and cultural challenges of today.
Green Spaces is a mélange of desks with a eco-chique décor. Local artists display their work and host gallery openings in the space and local eco-friendly designers showcase their jewelry in the huge windows that span from floor to ceiling at the front of the office.
Tenants at Green Spaces range from a company that will repair your favourite pair of old jeans to green technology firms. YCA fits in somewhere in the middle. The environment has been a strong component of a number of our projects, particularly projects based in Costa Rica. We’ve provided youth from around the world with basic education and training opportunities that focus on sustainable environmental practices. Youth are also engaged in tangible local projects such as ecotourism, potable water and fair trade farming initiatives.
Green Spaces has had a fair amount of press in recent past: BBC world news, the New York Times and NY1, to name a few. But what does it really mean to be a “Green Spacer”? We have a communal friendly atmosphere to conduct our work, our neighbours act as sounding boards, and we have connections to all sorts of businesses and non-profits. We’re all working towards environmental or social causes; everyone knows someone you should talk to! Sharing resources and ideas—the up and coming trend of Social Incubators—is one I hope to see grow exponentially. And if you are starting up a business or non-profit it’s a great way to gain access to knowledge and valuable tips on how to succeed.
-Jane Baldwin, Program Development Manager, Youth Challenge America