Our activities for the summer of 2022 encompassed everything from citizen science to health justice. From making zines, to meeting with local government. Here are some of the amazing highlights. Enjoy.
Our campers collected data from the areas we visited including water quality. By measuring and comparing the water in the East River before and after rainfall, we found that that the river has e.coli, bacteria in the water as a result of the overflow of the sewer system.
We discussed how East Harlem heat causes 3 main things to people: older people die, there are more mental health problems, and more violence. We did temperature checks throughout places we visited where there was shade and no shade. We found about a 20 degree different between the two.
We also learned about noise pollution with Luz Guel and tested the noise levels in places where there were trees and no trees. We found that places with trees blocked out noise. This is important because noise affects everyone and disrupts sleep and learning.
In addition to monitoring noise we measured air quality by traffic counts on 106th street between 1st to Lexington Ave.
We visited Pleasant Village to explore the herbs and livestock and help create a mini library of arts and crafts. We learned about microorganisms coexisting with nature and urban farming with composting.
Through creating expression activities, our campers were inspired to create their ideal environment via their own zines. The zines addressed issues about climate change and local neighborhood blocks and streets.
We learned about the history of East Harlem’s advocating for equitable resources via the People’s Church that the Young Lords occupied in 1969. They provided free breakfast to the community among other services. We also visited Taller Boricua, a printmaking studio that produced media concerning the Puerto Rican community around the same time as the Young Lords.
We visited the Community Cafe with Dr. Louis Hernandez and Angela Donadelle with our parents to discuss empowering families and accomplishing their goals. We did team building activities and met a representative from the Harlem Empowerment Project to discuss employment opportunities for our parents. We also visited a Credit Union to open family accounts. We believe children can’t become champions of change (against Social Determinants of Health) unless their families are also supported and empowered.
We proposed a solution for more TREES to improve noise, air, water, heat and quality of life. This could be one way to close the gap between The Upper East Side and East Harlem.
We met with Councilwoman Diana Ayala from the 8th District of East Harlem and the Bronx. In her office, the counselors and campers discussed our findings and the data we surveyed. Some of her recommendations were tree maps and council meetings of local government.