Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sharon Fuller of Ma'at Youth Academy Honored as 2004 Woman of the Year for State of California's 14th Assembly District

Sharon Fuller of Ma'at Youth Academy Honored as 2004 Woman of the Year for State of California's 14th Assembly District

East Bay native and environmentalist Sharon Fuller chosen as California's 14th assembly district's "Woman of the Year."

Richmond, CA (PRWEB) March 24, 2004

East Bay native and environmentalist Sharon Fuller was honored by Lieutenant Governor Cruz M. Bustamante as California's 14th Assembly District's "Woman of the Year" during an awards ceremony at the State Capitol in Sacramento last Monday. Bustamante cited Fuller's "Exemplary work in the Golden State's greater communityÂ…with appreciation and respect for (her) tremendous achievements as one of the extraordinary women of California."

Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, who represents the East Bay in the State Assembly, nominated Fuller for this special commendation for her achievements and community service resulting from her ongoing youth advocacy in the community and her work as the founder and director of the MaÂ’at Youth Academy (MYA). MYA is a community-based environmental organization in Richmond dedicated to a safer, cleaner, healthier environment for children and youth which ultimately seeks to build community capacity in communities of color and low-income areas to significantly reduce public exposure to environmental hazards.

Assemblywoman Hancock commented, "I was very pleased to select Sharon Fuller as my nominee for Woman of the Year. She stands out as a unique educator because her innovative program accomplishes so many different things. Not only is she training the next generation to help make our communities healthier and safer, but she is also ensuring that more of our urban youth finish high school well-prepared for college level science and math courses. Her students gain a full appreciation for the complex environmental issues low-income areas and communities of color face and she empowers them with the knowledge to create solutions."

In response to receiving this coveted award, Fuller remarked “I am extremely honored by this award and appreciative of the recognition of my efforts and environmental education and advocacy programs that, in concert with environmental initiatives championed by Assemblymember Loni Hancock, strive to improve the quality of life in all communities.”

Currently under Fuller’s direction, MYA high school interns are conducting the Fish Consumption Study for Women and Children designed to investigate the health effects of consuming San Francisco Bay fish contaminated with elevated levels of methlymercury. According to Fuller, "While environmentally-related illnesses are increasing, the harmful physical and mental effects of these illnesses are often overlooked in discussions on education and social inequality. A correlation between developmental problems and where a child lives, learns and plays does exist and exposure to mercury, a neurotoxin, is a major concern for our community which has a large subsistence fishing population.”

Established by Fuller in 1994, MYA helps empower communities by actively involving youth and residents in local investigations and community workshops, developing and disseminating culturally relevant educational material, and partnering with school district, universities, governmental agencies, community-based organizations and residents. This nationally recognized Academy brings curricula that focus on urban ecology and environmental health to public schools in communities of color and low-income areas throughout Contra Costa and Alameda counties. As part of its mission, MYA links urban high school students to hands-on environmental education and community action.

Fuller, a life-long resident of Richmond, earned a B. S. degree in Conservation and Resource Studies from UC Berkeley and a M. S. degree in Environmental Education from CSU Hayward. She is a Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Commissioner and a member of the Point Molate Restoration Advisory Board. Fuller dedicates her award in memory of her mother Dolores S. Jackson, a retiree from the West Contra Costa Unified School District, who devoted her life to ensuring all children have access to quality education.

Photo available upon request

Ma'at Youth Academy is a project of Earth Island Institute.

445 Valley View Road

Suite D

Richmond, CA 94803 USA

Phone: (510) 222-6594 · Fax: (510) 222-0274

E-mail: mya@maatyouthacademy. org

Www. maatyouthacademy. org