A local community group near and dear to my heart will be represented at a national event next week. The executive director of Indy’s own KI EcoCenter, also known as Kheprw Institute, will be among the presenters at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs 2013 Conference in Washington, D.C.
About KI: When I first visited, I learned that “Kheprw” is a reference to an Egyptian god represented by a man with a scarab beetle head. The scarab beetle was a symbol of rebirth in ancient Egypt.
It seems a fitting title for this community empowerment center, which works at the intersection of social justice and environmental stewardship in the heart of an economically distressed neighborhood. Here it’s all about nurturing an ecologically sound way of life while creating economic opportunity through community engagement. The programming includes an eco-film series, job creation panels, open mic nights, youth empowerment events, and so much more.
I’ve met many of KI’s children and young adults and they’re not just tomorrow’s leaders—they’re today’s. They know firsthand that with the help of your community, your creativity, and your drive, you can make something from nothing. They’ve built garden beds and aquaponics tanks. They’ve started a paint store, a web services/graphic design enterprise, and a fair trade coffee shop. KI’s work has inculcated in them the confidence and skills they need to navigate the relationship-based economy—whether the goal is a money-maker or a service project or, better yet, both at once.
About the Conference: The theme for the three-day conference is “Let’s Get to Work: Climate Change, Infrastructure and Innovation.” Over 80 workshops will illuminate the possibilities of job creation through green infrastructure. (How refreshing: You mean we don’t have to unleash holy hell in the form of Canadian tar sands in the name of “job creation”?)
KI’s director Imhotep Adisa is a panelist for a workshop highlighting successful sustainable water infrastructure projects. He’ll share KI’s experience in the green economy and its latest social enterprise, Express Yourself Rainbarrels. (I absolutely love this project: The KI crew will customize a rainbarrel with your logo, design, or photograph. I can’t wait to see mine!)
I’ve written a piece for Indiana Living Green about the center that will be out next month. In the meantime, check out this video featuring their work. (Start at minute 3:50 for the segment on KI).