The Sustainability InstituteThe Sustainability Institute

Category : Energy Conservation Corps

By Katherine Richards

Homeowner – Mabel Graham

Mabel Graham

Upon entering her house, you can feel nothing but welcomed as a menagerie of colorful art and memories greets you in the decorated den. And of course the homeowner herself, Mabel, was no different. As the first homeowner to be interviewed by the Sustainability Institute, Mabel graciously sat down with us to tell her story. As told through the colors of Mabel’s roots seen throughout the den, Jamaica was her original home address. As the world-traveler that she is, her life’s work as a nurse eventually brought her to London where she met her husband, a Charleston native. In 1968, Mabel and her husband moved to Charleston and bought their first house. With three bedrooms and almost 50 years of memories, that house has been a home ever since.

While she had not heard of the Sustainability Institute prior to a friend from a local Baptist church recommending the Energy Conservation Corps, Mabel has been nothing but pleased with the work that the ECC members have done thus far. Her warm smile tells it all. In the week that they have been there, they have been working on insulating the roof and exposed areas such as windows and doors. Keeping Mabel in the loop with what they are working on, she has nothing but good things to say about them; “good manners and good men, a 10/10 job”. Excited and grateful to the members of the ECC, Mabel looks forward to her newly insulated home where she plans to continue adding to her years of memories.

By Katherine Richards

Veteran – Vincent, Marine Corps

Vincent

Marine Corps, 1998-2005

A Baltimore boy with a big heart – meet Vincent. As a Marine Corps Vet, Vincent’s job took him all over the world; from North Carolina to Iraq, Japan, and Pennsylvania. Post service, he had a smooth transition back into everyday life, “they were two separate worlds with two separate sets of rules”. As most veterans hope to, Vincent returned home with a new sense of discipline, patience, and the ability to lead boldly. However, after a few temporary jobs and a period of homelessness Vincent was left dry of the drive he had when came home. And that’s when he found the Sustainability Institute. The VCC provided Vincent with exactly what it provides all its members, an opportunity. 

Not only does working as a representative of AmeriCorps give him a sense of pride, but every single skill he has learned with the VCC has been a new one. These newly acquired skills have scored Vincent an upcoming apprenticeship with local company, Energy One. New to the energy field but rapidly becoming a valuable asset to it, Vincent defines sustainability as “using the least amount of resources to make a large impact, being frugal, and being able to reach a plateau in life and maintain it”. And if that’s not a plateau enough, the VCC has enhanced this already humanitarian’s desire to volunteer and interact with the community more. “There’s a sense of fulfillment when you see a smile on a homeowner’s face”. To Vincent, helping others, mentoring youth, and empowering people isn’t a just pastime, it’s a passion. And if your heart is still intact in a solid state, hearing him express his love of children and his work with the Big Brother/Sister program will undoubtedly melt it. 

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