October 18, 2017

StoryCorps Interviews PYC Members On Tuesday, October 10, three members of the Paterson Youth Council (PYC), NJCDC's year-long leadership development program for Paterson teens, were interviewed by StoryCorps. StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit organization that records, preserves, and shares the oral histories of everyday people living in this country. All of StoryCorps' recordings are archived at the Library of Congress and some are broadcast weekly on NPR.

StoryCorps producers discovered the story of PYC members Mikayla Carter, Miguel Ruiz, and T'Ziah Weaver, who led an initiative to conduct safe water tests throughout homes in Paterson earlier this year, through an article published on

StoryCorps Interviews PYC Members Through an initiative generously funded by a $100,000 grant from State Farm's Youth Advisory Board, the PYC members tested water in over 100 local homes and found that over two-thirds of them contained levels of lead that are considered the "action" level by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Mikayla, Miguel and T'ziah then presented their findings at the monthly meeting of the Passaic Valley Water Commission in May. The data that the students delivered to the commissioners suggested that the lead problem in Paterson is even more pervasive than anyone had previously thought.

StoryCorps Interviews PYC MembersNext, the PYC created and implemented a comprehensive public education campaign about eradicating the lead threat--in English, Spanish, and Bengali, the most commonly spoken languages in the neighborhood NJCDC serves.

On October 10, the students were interviewed by StoryCorps for over two hours regarding the water initiative, and also about being active youth leaders in Paterson. In four to six weeks, Mikayla, Miguel and T'ziah will each receive their own copy of the interview that they are able to share at their discretion. Mikayla said, "Being interviewed by StoryCorps was easy and laid back. It was super fun." Miguel agreed, saying, "Having an opportunity to be interviewed by StoryCorps was a unique experience that I can't wait to share in the future!"

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