In many communities, poor air quality remains an invisible threat. Sustainable Silicon Valley (SSV) is on a mission to change this through their Youth Air Quality Advocates (YAQA) program. This initiative, funded by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), is a vital step towards addressing air pollution and its profound impact on communities. In this article, we’ll explore how the YAQA program is empowering students and educators to make a difference in their local air quality.
The Air Quality Conundrum
Air quality is often overlooked because it’s not something we can easily see or smell. However, this doesn’t make it any less harmful. Poor air quality can develop gradually over years, quietly impacting the health, quality of life, and economic prosperity of communities. YAQA seeks to address this conundrum by bringing air quality issues to the forefront and engaging the youth to be part of the solution.
The YAQA Program in Action
The YAQA program continues to provide educators in the East Side Union High School District (ESUHSD) with the tools they need to educate students about air pollution. Here’s how the program works:
YAQA Accomplishments in Year 1
In its first year, the YAQA program achieved significant milestones:
ESUHSD Teacher Quotes:
“This is a great way to talk about the chemistry of air quality and how it affects everybody”
“The labs are really cool and engaging and fit right in”
“The materials are a valuable resource. They offer interactive and engaging activities to help students grasp complex concepts in subjects like chemistry”
YAQA Goals for Year 2
In the second year of the program, YAQA has set ambitious goals for further evolution and broadening its impact:
The Youth Air Quality Advocates program is a beacon of hope for communities impacted by poor air quality. By educating and empowering the next generation, Sustainable Silicon Valley is not only improving the quality of life today but also ensuring a sustainable, healthier future for all. Building upon the YAQA program successes in year 1 and setting ambitious goals for year 2, young minds are becoming the catalysts for change, transforming air quality from an abstract concern into a tangible, solvable problem.
Interested in Getting Involved?
SSV is looking for volunteers to help expand the program. Specifically, we need additional YAQA program facilitators who can assist teachers as they prepare and conduct their air quality experiments, observations and analysis.
If you are a chemistry/biology/physics or environmental science/studies high school senior or college student (or graduate) who is interested in training and supporting our YAQA teachers, contact Drew Clark at [email protected].