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Peace Inc. pitches train-the-trainer model to address childhood lead poisoning

A group of people sit at a round table. A woman with a marker stands at an easel that says "Peace" at the top.
Katie Zilcosky
People discussed what they liked and didn't like about proposals presented to them on ways to increase testing for lead poisoning in children. March 2023.

Peace Inc. presented their plans for the $150,000 up for grabs Wednesday evening in the basement of the Northside Learning Center. More than two dozen people gathered to hear this and other proposals.

A total of three non-profit organizations presented their ideas to community members on how to increase screening for lead poisoning in children this week. It’s part of the Central New York Community Foundation’s participatory budgeting processfor childhood lead poisoning testing efforts, in which residents discuss and vote on how to best to use funds.

Peace Inc. Grants coordinator Lucy Totino said their plan includes three parts.

"The first being a partnership led and formal training for interested staff and community members to become lead ambassadors. Two an advocacy and media-based campaign to continue that work. And three, an advocacy and testing events at childhood centers and community centers throughout the city," Totino said.

Peace Inc.’s proposal is in partnership with Families For Lead Freedom Now. Oceanna Fair serves as the Southside Branch leader for the organization. She said they’re working with Syracuse University to develop an educational model to train lead ambassadors. Those who receive training will then be able to use their skills to help increase capacity.

"Those trainers should be able to go out and train any other staff member or community member within that organization to be a lead ambassador," Fair said.

Peace’s proposal aims to train 20 lead ambassadors, screen 1,00 families for lead poisoning, and test 100 youth.

Those who have attended a participatory budget meeting over the past 9 months will be able to cast votes for this proposal and others starting April 18. Voting opens to the entire community on May 2.

Katie Zilcosky is WAER’s All Things Considered host and features reporter. She also co-hosts WAER’s public affairs show Syracuse Speaks. As a reporter, she focuses on technology, economy, and identity.