Air Quality Thru Tech
We have partnered with RecTech, an internship program with Seattle Parks and Recreation, that trains students through technology to better prepare them for college. The program helps students gain not only job skills but also life skills, from learning how to create a story board to the script, and how to work together and ensure all of the project is complete. One of the main principles of the program is to understand that all people are not the same--the way they work may be different from the way you work--so respecting other viewpoints is a cornerstone of the program.
While learning critical life and job skills, students will also learn about air quality, the health impacts of pollution, and environmental justice--how pollution adversely impacts certain communities and communities of color. They will showcase their air quality knowledge via graphic design and videography projects. The program culminates with the students creating digital posters, flyers, and videos about our programming.
We visited the community center recently to teach the students a little about our work, how pollution is an environmental justice issue, and some of the science behind air quality. Graeme Carvlin, one of our Air Monitoring Specialists, led students through a walk around the South Park Community Center with portable air monitors so they could see for themselves how particles are monitored and converted to data. The students were able to see how the monitor readings change depending on their environment--how close they were to the a roadway, if there was a truck or bus driving by, or if they were standing near trees or greenery. The students were very engaged and surprised by how quickly the monitoring readings can change.
"I want the youth to leave our internship feeling confident in themselves and to be proud of the work they have accomplished. I believe this experience is important to our youth because if they are not exposed to these types of things they will be lost in the world trying to find a way to make it. I believe the time they spend with us will give them a jump start on not only finding out who they are as young adults but will also provide a jump start in the career of their choice", says Marcel Jones, Program Manager of the South Park RecTech Program.
We are looking forward to the what the students create through graphic design and videography with their new knowledge of air quality and technology. We hope the students gain knowledge of air quality and environmental justice but also feel engaged to make a difference for their community.
You can learn more about the RecTech program here.
By Joanna Gangi, Equity + Community Engagement Communications Specialist