In our nation's capital, the Sierra Club often spars within the political sphere. But many don't realize that elsewhere in the District, the Club has had a different role for many years, connecting countless disadvantaged kids to the outdoors.
Inner City Outings consists of 50 volunteer-run groups across the country that collectively put together more than 800 outings every year and for about 14,000 kids. Many youth involved with ICO deal with the daily challenges of living in neighborhoods with drugs and gangs. ICO trips take them out of that environment and into nature, where they see a world they rarely get to enjoy. Like other ICO programs, the D.C. group relies on partnerships with other community-based agencies and organizations to reach kids in tough neighborhoods.
D.C. Chair Kris Unger said that the program has now landed two new partnerships -- with Groundwork Anacostia and Unity Health Care -- that will help grow the D.C. program into five fully functioning groups. Having a community agency as a partner has its advantages because they already have the ability to organize the kids, publicize outings -- and because "they have their pulse on the community," Kris said.