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Project Summary
Waste Transfer Stations
Transportation and Traffic
Asthma and Air Pollution
Air Quality
Water Quality
Youth Participation and Leadership Program

The Youth Participation and Leadership Program was designed as part of the outreach efforts of the South Bronx Environmental Health and Policy Study. Its objective is to involve high-school students from the area in the project by training them in environmental science, policy and health and by offering them a chance to work directly with scientists and policy experts in these areas. Having gained skills in these areas, the students will help to disseminate the findings of the project to other community leaders and residents. In addition, the youth participants gain an opportunity to explore career opportunities within the fields of public health and environmental sciences and research.

The Youth Participation and Leadership Program takes place three times a year. Each term runs for 8 weeks. Students meet with instructors and guest lecturers twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 3:30 and 7:00 PM. The program trains 12 high-school students each term for a total of 36 students per year. Students receive training in environmental science and policy each term, although the focus of the activities and student projects will change each term. The fall session concentrates on environmental science, while the spring session concentrates on environmental health issues, with a special emphasis on asthma. The summer session focuses on community education and awareness. Students receive a stipend for their participation. In addition, one of the goals of the program is for the students to receive high-school credit for their participation. In order to participate in the program, students are required to demonstrate proficiency and interest in science and environmental issues. Classes take place at Hostos Community College. Students are also given the opportunity to apply for internships at agencies and non-profit organizations working on environmental issues to further develop their skills.

In the area of environmental science and policy, the program uses educational materials developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their Project A.I.R.E.1 and “Air Pollution: What’s the Solution?” programs.2 Students also work on developing skills in library and internet research, data analysis and interpretation, and communications. In addition, the program provides instruction in environmental health issues such as asthma. This part of the program relies on educational materials developed by the American Lung Association3 and other institutions working in this area. In the area of community education and awareness, the program relies on the experiences of the participating community groups and area activists for educational material development.

In the fall 2003 term the students attended a career panel where guests from the U.S. EPA, NYU’s Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine (NIEM) and Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, Inc. (YMPJ) talked about their educational and professional experiences. The culminating event for the students was a mock Senate hearing. The topic discussed at the hearing was whether it is necessary to reduce the current 24-hour average particulate matter (PM2.5) standard. Four students were asked to play the role of experts in one of the following fields: atmospheric science, epidemiology, environmental engineering and environmental economics. Their presentations to the Senate committee focused on PM2.5 trends, health effects of PM2.5, technologies to reduce PM2.5 emissions, and the costs and benefits of reducing PM2.5 emissions. The students were asked to make their presentations using PowerPoint. The other four students in the program were asked to play the roles of aides to specific senators. The senators were played by other project participants from the NYU Office of Federal Policy, The Sports Foundation and YMPJ. Feedback from the students indicates that they really enjoyed and valued this experience.

Click here to see the Fall 2003 Schedule.
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2This is a collaborative program between EPA, NESCAUM and CIESE. See:

Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems
Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
New York University
411 Lafayette Street. Suite 300
New York, NY 10003