Sustainable learning

How the Mayors Summer Rain Barrel program brings youth, residents, and rain barrels together.


2017 Rain Barrel program

Summer time in Cleveland; a long awaited break from the snow, and time for fun in sun. For many Cleveland residents, a traditional summer activity includes planting a wonderful garden in their yards and watching it prosper throughout the summer months. One downside of a beautiful garden that all gardeners experience is an increased water bill. What if there was a way to decrease your summer water bill while doing something healthy for the environment? Well, it just so happens that the City of Cleveland Mayor's Office of Sustainability wants to help you do just that.


 Every summer for the past 10 years the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, in partnership with the Northeast Ohio Sewer District (NEORSD) and the Cleveland Division of Water (CWD), has teamed up with Youth Opportunities Unlimited to educate Cleveland youth and residents of the importance of storm water management. Through Mayor Frank G. Jackson’s Summer Youth Employment Program, youth are tasked with constructing hundreds of rain barrels, distributing free rain barrels to residents, and conducting workshops to educate residents on how to use their rain barrel.


This year we saw a tremendous amount of hard work from the youth as they were eager to learn all they could about the sustainable use of rain barrels. With help from supervisors Rhiannon and Taylor, 17 Cleveland high school youth, aged 14-18, successfully completed 417 rain barrels and held 11 community workshops, all with in an 8-week program.


The rain barrel workshops were put on with help from various community development corporations (CDC’s) across Cleveland. The Mayor's Office of Sustainability is committed to engaging residents in positive sustainability efforts that can not only benefit their daily lives but also benefit the environment and their community as well. Through these initiatives, the youth gained a variety of new skills that can be used both in school and their future professional lives. These skills include public speaking, research tactics, how to make professional phone calls, workplace safety, and how to construct a rain barrel,  to name a few. Under the guidance of the YOU supervisors, youth participating in the Summer Rain Barrel Program were successful in advancing their knowledge of sustainable practices in the City of Cleveland.


For more information on the Summer Rain Barrel Program or to sign up for notifications about the 2018 program, visit:


Follow the links below for more information on NEORSD’s Stormwater Management Program, including how to obtain the individual residential property credit on the Stormwater Management Fee:


 For upcoming build-your-own rain barrel workshops hosted by the Cuyahoga County Soil and Water Conservation District, visit:



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