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Rhode Island Law Firm Receives $20,000 Environmental Justice Grant

Release Date: 03/26/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918_1017

(Boston, Mass. – March 26, 2009) – Rhode Island Legal Services is one of four community-based organizations to receive a $20,000 grant from EPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grants Program for its work on the “Green Teenz Video Learning Project.”

The “Green Teenz Video Learning Project” will host a ten-week class for 15 youth from the Hartford Park Public Housing Project in Providence, R.I. During the class, the youth will create two 30-second public service announcement videos that will focus on the health risks associated with common household cleaning products (one in English and one in Spanish), and another 5-minute video that will focus on the correlation between solid waste and trash and poor living and health conditions in low-income neighborhoods.

“This grant money will give a boost to dedicated young people to learn some important skills, and in turn help their community take steps to protect their health,” said Ira. W. Leighton, acting regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.

Rhode Island Legal Services, Inc. (RILS) is the state’s primary law firm for low-income people with civil legal problems, ranging from family matters, housing, employment, government benefits and consumer disputes. RILS’ major priorities are to ensure that low-income people have food, shelter, income, medical care, and freedom from domestic violence. In order to reach its goals, RILS provides a full range of legal assistance, including advice and brief service, investigation, negotiation, and litigation in all state and federal trial and appellate courts. RILS also provides community legal education services to its client community.

Steven Fischbach, the project’s team leader said, “We have been very lucky to receive EPA funding for our environmental justice work for many years now, but this particular grant will enable us to go in a completely different direction than we usual do. Our goal is to engage youth who live in public housing and who have very little opportunities to participate in afterschool programs because of budget cuts in the school systems and get them involved in environmental work that will teach them the importance of participating in civic life.”

The Environmental Justice Small Grants Program is designed to help communities understand and address their exposure to multiple environmental hazards and risks. Since the pilot project was released in 1994, EPA has supplied thousands of community-based organizations with over $31 million for the continued improvement of local environments and quality of life of their residents.

More Information:
EPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grants Program