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UPROSE (United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park) is a community-based, multi-cultural youth organization dedicated to addressing environmental and social injustices. Their ATL (At the Table Leadership) Institute engages young people in a seven-week training full of cultural, political and environmental exploration. Through hands-on learning and field trips, youth develop their leadership skills and knowledge in social and environmental justice issues in Sunset Park and NYC. The youth have the opportunity to initiate their own campaigns and become involved in current citywide campaigns. They learn how to: foster and strengthen inter-generational and indigenous leadership; facilitate community-inclusive practices & policies in environmental and land use decisions; address environmental neglect and mitigate environmental harms; enhance environmental amenities; advocate and bolster sustainable and just development; address and mitigate social inequities; promote and preserve the diverse cultures and traditions of Sunset Park residents; and increase government accountability and transparency.

In the past, ATL Institutes members have learned the science of soil and combined sewage overflow at “Brooklyn College Environmental Sciences Analytical Center”; learned how to plant, compost, and harvest at “Freedom Farm in Mt. Hope, NY”; helped organize the “NYC-wide Climate Justice Youth Summit” with over 300 in attendance; facilitated community meetings on tap water testing; among experiencing other enriching trips and learning opportunities. Youth Justice Leaders have been recognized for their organizing work by the community and elected officials, as well as have been connected to scholarship and internship opportunities. UPROSE’s Youth Justice program members all go on to college with most of them receiving scholarships to continue their higher education. Notable scholarships that our youth leaders have received include: the “Dr. Antonia Pantoja Scholarship”, “The Posse Scholarship”, “The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Internship/Scholarship”, “Drum Major Institute for Public Policy Scholarship”, “HACU Scholarship” and the “HSF Scholarship”.

UPROSE also offers leadership training, mentoring, and a comprehensive internship program for high school students, undergraduates, graduate, and law students. Their interns have developed educational literature, conducted workshops, testified at hearings, mapped Brownfield sites and environmental burdens and researched land use issues.

This year, UPROSE plans on sending 40 members to college; however, due to the economic downturn, there have been significant cutbacks from their funders. Therefore, UPROSE is now asking for the public’s help to send these well-deserving leaders to college.

Please watch this video clip created by some of the UPROSE youth members: http://youtu.be/_C4cyGj3MHg

To learn more about UPROSE and/or donate, go to: www.uprose.org

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