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GASP Pittsburgh Introduces New Youth Education Initiative ‘Fresh Voices for Clean Air’

The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) is seeking Allegheny County students in grades 9, 10, and 11 who are interested in becoming environmental game-changers. If that’s you or someone you know, we invite you to apply today for an innovative new program called Fresh Voices for Clean Air. 

GASP is partnering on this unique opportunity with Greater-Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution (GASP), a non-profit organization working in the greater-Birmingham area in Alabama that works to advance healthy air & environmental justice through education, advocacy, and organizing. 

They strive to reduce air pollution, to educate the public on the health risks associated with poor air quality and to encourage community leaders to serve as role models for clean air and clean energy development. 

“We are so excited to partner with GASP in Birmingham on this project and to see what the students come up with,” GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini said. “While our organizations are unrelated, our commitment to clean air is unbreakable.”

Sound interesting? Here’s how Fresh Voices for Clean Air works:

GASP will pair a small group of high school students in Allegheny County with a group of their peers in Birmingham, Ala. for a year-long collaborative partnership. 

Throughout 2021, the cohorts in each city will meet virtually to participate in discussions with each other and with guest speakers. The team will learn more about air quality while building the skills necessary to become effective environmental advocates.

By the end of the program year, the team will have created, developed, and executed an air quality-related project of their own choosing, with the support of adult mentors in both Pittsburgh and Birmingham. Bonus: Upon successful completion of the program year, participants will earn a $250 award.

“This new partnership between air quality-focused non-profit organizations in Pittsburgh and Birmingham reflects our cities’ similar industrial and environmental history,” said Michael Hansen, executive director of the Greater-Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution. “A century ago, Birmingham was nicknamed the ‘Pittsburgh of the South.’ The two cities have experienced some of the worst air quality in the nation, and residents have been fighting back for decades.”

GASP Air Quality Educator Laura Kuster agreed:

“Discovering and discussing the similarities and differences between experiences in these two regions will be a key component of the collaboration,” she said.

The program will run from March through December 2021 and is open to students in grades 9, 10,and 11 who attend school in either Allegheny County, PA or Jefferson County, Ala. To be considered, students must be willing and able to participate in Fresh Voices for Clean Air until the end of 2021. Please note that the program spans two academic years and includes the summer in between.

Those interested in participating will need access to a laptop or desktop computer, tablet or smartphone to participate in virtual meetings, as well as written consent from a parent or guardian.

The deadline to apply is Feb. 19. You can apply here

Have some questions or need a little more information before committing to the program? Learn more and get a chance to introduce yourself to program advisors starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16. You can register here.

The Fresh Voices for Clean Air initiative was made possible by funding through the Grable Foundation.   

The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), a non-profit founded in 1969, works to improve air quality in southwestern Pennsylvania in order to safeguard human, environmental, and economic health. GASP is a diligent watchdog, educator, litigator and policy-maker on a variety of air quality issues impacting our region. 

Greater-Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution (GASP), a non-profit organization working in the greater-Birmingham area in Alabama, advances healthy air & environmental justice through education, advocacy, and organizing. They strive to reduce air pollution, to educate the public on the health risks associated with poor air quality and to encourage community leaders to serve as role models for clean air and clean energy development.

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