This summer, SISE helped launch YMCA's first Green Creation Crew program by mentoring 17 Chicago youth engaged in sustainability studies. This new YMCA initiative is aimed at teaching high school youth the basics of ecology, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and community engagement. Through the process, the Y 'Crew' planned, built and/or restored several community gardens throughout Chicago, incorporating sustainable elements such as water conservation, mycofiltration, composting, solar PV and nutrient retention with biochar. The program was instructed by a 2014 SISE alum, which helped establish the collaboration between the Y and UIC. Both groups toured Argonne National Lab together and developed community improvement plans during a mentoring session at UIC. With its inaugural success,The Green Creation Crew will continue throughout the school year, hoping to further its involvement with UIC through additional programs. This new collaboration brings real-life sustainability issues from the streets into the classroom, while helping empower youth to become informed agents of change in their own communities.