Corpsmember Success Story: Christopher Morgan

(Chris – left – working with his Crew Leader, Kenta Darley-Usmar)

Chris Morgan loves learning about sustainability and how to be eco-friendly. He only wishes someone had taught him about the environment when he was younger.

“I just started learning about going green. I want to inform everybody; my little sisters and my family and my friends and everybody else that there are ways to lower carbon emissions and reduce the climate change in the world with little things,” said Chris. “It all starts with one person.”

Chris’s recent interest in the environment can be attributed to Green City Force; a Brooklyn-based Youth Corps program that engages disadvantaged New York City youth in service and conservation projects and helps prepare them for work and college. Chris might not have known much about the environment before joining Green City Force, but – more significantly – he also did not know what he wanted to do with his life.

Chris grew up in public housing in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn. He graduated from high school and started taking college classes, but he had to drop out for financial reasons. Chris ended up working at McDonald’s and held a series of other unsatisfying jobs. Then, as someone living in a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) property, Chris received an email about Green City Force. The Corps’ offer of a stipend, metro card, and the chance to learn valuable job skills seemed like a great opportunity. Chris went through the application process and ended up being one of 40 young adults selected for the Corps out of the hundreds who applied.

Chris still has a few months left before the end of the 6-month-long Green City Force program, yet he already has his eyes set on going back to college. He knows he wants to study somewhere in New York so he can be close to his two children (a 5-year-old daughter and a 5-month-old baby) and he knows he wants to pursue an education that could further prepare him for a green job.

“I’m taking everything that I’ve learned and I want to progress with this, I don’t want to look back,” said Chris. “So I feel like if I’m in [Green City Force] now and I’m learning about these things – there are opportunities and there are going to be 7 million jobs in the green economy, why not take advantage of that?”

Chris says that if a green job presents itself before he goes back to school, he may take that opportunity over college. Whatever his future holds, however, he is determined to succeed.

“Instead of struggling at McDonald’s or at Papa John’s delivering pizza – I don’t want to do anything like that. I want a career, maybe start my own business in the green field,” said Chris. “I know a lot of people from Brooklyn don’t have a lot of opportunities and I just want to take advantage and really embrace what [Green City Force] is letting me do.”

Chris currently serves as a Green City Force Junior Team Leader.