Conservation, Health, Marine and Coastal Areas, Poverty, Urban Environment
Summary of Achievements:
Sharon Fuller is the founder and executive director of Ma'at Youth Academy. Born and raised in Richmond, California Ms. Fuller is concerned with the low educational attainment of youth in the area and the environmental hazards present in a community which is home to one the largest oil refineries in the nation and a county that has more refineries than any other county in California. She earned a BS degree in Conservation and Resource Students from UC Berkeley and a MS degree in Environmental Education from CSU Hayward.
A disproportionate number of toxic sites and polluting industries are located in communities of color and low income areas. More than 245 million pounds of industrial air pollutions were emitted near schools in California. The children attending schools in the heavily industrialized predominantly African American community of Richmond are within a one-mile radius of 355 toxic emitting facilities within the city's 56 square miles.
High infant mortality rates, respiratory illnesses and cancer plague the city. MYA is concerned with both the low educational attainment of youth and the environmental hazards in the area. The mission of MYA is to improve public and environmental health in urban areas by developing and modeling educational programs for youth encompassing the broader definition of environment beyond the traditional wilderness` areas and wildlife focus. MYA uses environmental education to improve the quality of life in communities of color and low-income areas by linking learning and action with a curriculum that connects urban ecology to global issues. Students use the local environment and community as a framework to construct their own learning. MYA teaches its students the importance of improving all ecological relationships, those between humanity and nature as well as those between people. MYA's goal is to nurture a new generation of environmental leaders more reflective of the world's population. Current initiatives are Reducing Women and Children's Exposure to Mercury through Fish Consumption and Increasing Graduation Rates and College Attendance of African American and Latino students.
Sharon Fuller Society & Envirnment, UC Berkeley Founder and Former Director Ma'at Youth Academy