Kim Gaddy, a West Ward resident and mother of three asth matic children, organized the UEI program using funds from the New Jersey Environmental Federation, Clean Water Fund and Quest Ink! Inc.
“After seeing some of the air quality studies that were coming out about the area, we just had to establish a leadership program to address these issues,” Gaddy said. “It’s just not right that our city is so polluted.”
Gaddy, an experienced lobbyist for the New Jersey Environmental Federation, wants to create the next generation of grassroots activists through the institute. The first class consists of 12 diverse Newark residents from all five wards, ranging from 19 to 35 years old.
UEI students claimed Newark is one of the most polluted cities in the nation and that one in four of its children suffer asthma or other respiratory illnesses — double the national average.