Fostering self-reliant families and healthy, sustainable communities.
October 2020
Dear Friend,

Last week, I started a new era at Isles, becoming our second CEO. 

For forty years, Marty Johnson led Isles with a unique vision and personal commitment. He built a dynamic, compassionate organization that created and tested new ways to meet an audacious mission - family self-reliance and healthy, sustainable communities. 
Our guiding principles that successfully shaped Isles’ work over the years will not change in this new era. We’ll train and educate youth and adults through Isles Youth Institute and our Center for Energy and Environmental Training. We’ll make homes healthy and efficient, support families working to build wealth, grow gardens and work alongside communities to plan smart, livable, and healthy communities.
This year has certainly tested all of us. For those we serve, especially so. COVID-19 deeply impacts health, jobs, homes and incomes. Gun violence still grips many neighborhoods as continued frustration with unequal criminal justice and broken institutions generate protest and anger. 
How does Isles lead in these turbulent times? 
First, we continue and adapt on-the-ground work that bolsters family self-reliance and community. This work ensures safer streets, homes, and workplaces that are threatened by virus, violence, or systemic racism. 
Second, we keep listening and evolving. What do families and communities need and want today? We honor those demands by bringing both the research on what works, as well as the resources, training, and connections useful for those we serve.
Third, we grow our influence. After forty years, we’ve learned a lot from the wisdom of the grassroots and research. As a result, we have an obligation and opportunity to take a place at the table with policymakers, fellow community organizations in statewide efforts. With Isles’ Social Profit Center opening this Fall, we’ll expand our efforts to bring groups and leaders together to collaborate and lead.
I’m so excited to join this seasoned, impressive team to guide the next generation of Isles. We stand on the broad shoulders of those who built Isles from the ground up, with valuable allies and supporters from across the region and beyond.  We couldn’t be here without this large village, and we’ll need you by our side in the years to come. Join us as we re-think how community building work is done in today’s New Jersey. 
Let’s go!  
Chief Executive Officer
Isles Youth Institute
Congratulations to the new Isles Youth Institute students who completed Mental Toughness last month! During Mental Toughness, students learned about IYI’s core values and their responsibilities, participated in (safe, physically distanced) team building activities, and received training in basic construction. We look forward to sharing updates during the new school year.
Over the past five years Isles Youth Institute students have worked to beautify Trenton's City Hall atrium. They've recently started planting fall flowers as well as helped maintain and landscape the area. This year, our students aren't the only ones pitching in! City Hall staff and maintenance crew are joining in the upkeep of the garden. From cleaning up litter to watering plants, our combined efforts have created a communal and nurturing space for people to enjoy.
NJ Lead Elimination

Last month New Jersey took another important step towards eliminating lead poisoning of our children. The Senate Committee on Economic Growth passed S-1147, a bill that will treat toxic lead like toxic radon, requiring inspections for lead paint hazards in both rental units and before a home is sold. Click here to learn more.
Important Updates
We're excited to share the East Trenton Neighborhood Brownfields Area-Wide Plan (AWP.) The AWP is intended to provide context for and guide development of a number of contaminated vacant lots in East Trenton - where many of Trenton's successful rubber and porcelain factories were once located. Read the plan here.
Isles Financial Solutions hosted its virtual workshop, Making Money Choices During COVID-19, about how to manage finances with a reduced income. Joining the webinar were members of Central New Jersey Legal Services alongside nonprofit Arm in Arm. Watch the webinar presentation on our YouTube page.
Urban Agriculture

This summer Isles partnered with Trenton Health Team, Inc. and Reinas Y Diamantes as part of the Transforming Communities Initiative for a virtual camp teaching families and youth about healthy nutrition, including weekly cooking demos lead by Isles' staff. Here's a pic from the camp's graduation ceremony hosted at our Tucker Street garden, and congrats to all the new chefs!
Other News
Thank you to all our walking, running and biking enthusiasts who participated in Miles For Isles: 5K My Way! We loved seeing your routes and photos, and appreciate your support of our efforts to build healthy communities. Check out highlights on our facebook group.
Now leasing at the Social Profit Center! Join nonprofits, social impact businesses and artists in a unique, historic textile mill in central New Jersey. Check out our video walkthrough and email to learn more.