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Lawrence, Mass. Organization Gets Grant to Help Reduce Health Risks to Elderly

Release Date: 03/09/2005
Contact Information: Contact: Sheryl Rosner, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1865 Elizabeth Sweeney, Family Service, Inc. (978) 683-9505 ext. 37

For Immediate Release: March 9, 2005; Release # sr050303

A Lawrence, Mass. organization has received $18,882 from the US Environmental Protection Agency for a program to help citizens better understand how to reduce the environmental health hazards associated with older people.

Family Service Inc. in Lawrence received the Aging Initiative Grant for its Segunda Edad Saludable program, which will recruit and train older adults from the city to be "community leaders" to help reduce environmental health hazards to older individuals. In this program, leaders will be trained by Family Service Inc. in collaboration with the Toxic Use Reduction Institute at UMASS, Lowell.

"Programs like this one in Lawrence allow citizens to play a part in their own environment and well-being," said Robert Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England office. "This grant should allow the organization to continue their good work in training older residents as environmental leaders."

The Lawrence organization was one of 19 recipients in the country and two in New England that received a total of $492,187.

Trained leaders in Lawrence will host neighborhood-based meetings and attend community-wide events where older adults can learn about environmental hazards that may hurt their health and meaningful steps they can take to reduce their exposure.

The project will teach five older adults to be trainers for 30 to 45 adults over the age of 60, reaching 190 older adults. Another 200 residents caring for older adults will be targeted for instruction at community events and festivals about strategies to reduce risks from exposure to environmental health hazards. Community leaders will fill out questionnaires on their capacity for becoming environmental health leaders. After, learners will be asked to complete a questionnaire to assess their knowledge in identifying hazards and strategies to reduce them.

"This grant program provides Family Service with a wonderful opportunity to address environmental issues in our community and to do so in a way that targets an often overlooked and vulnerable population" says Kay Berthold Frishman, Family Service Executive Director. "In our community, elders play a significant role in their families, so this project will be helpful to them as well as their family members."

Award recipients across the country include state and local health and environmental offices, government agencies, universities and community colleges, a community foundation and non-profit organizations. Each recipient received between 18,900 and $25,000 over a one-year period.

The other New England grant went to LifeWise Community Projects in Hampton, NH, for its "Future Water Guardians of New Hampshire" project. This grant will let the organization recruit and train older adults to increase the number of environmental education teams and to broaden the coverage of elementary and middle schools in New Hampshire.

These grants, given this year for the first time, are part of EPA's larger effort to protect the health of older adults who may be more susceptible to environmental hazards, through its Aging Initiative. This initiative encourages citizens to recognize and reduce environmental hazards in their communities.

A complete list of the award winners and more information on the initiative is available at (EPA HQ)

Related Information:
Aging Initiative: Winners of the Grant Competition (EPA HQ)