The McKenzie Patrice Croom Flint Community Lab will provide free water testing of lead and other pollutants.
Flint, Michigan celebrated the grand opening of a free water testing lab in Flint.
The lab intends to foster STEM education, job-skill training and trust in the community amid the Flint water crisis, reported Booth Newspapers.
The McKenzie Patrice Croom Flint Community Lab, known as the Flint Community Lab, was celebrated in-person and virtually with a ribbon cutting on Oct. 9. The space inside the Flint Development Center will provide a community-based laboratory for Flint residents for free water testing of lead and other pollutants, according to lab officials, reported Booth Newspapers.
The community-built and operated lab that will provide free water testing to 21,000 households in Flint over the course of three years and is a joint-collaboration between the Flint Development Center (FDC) and Freshwater Future (FF).
The Flint Community Lab was named in honor of McKenzie Patrice Croom. Croom’s father Juwan Croom is a lifelong Flint resident and the son of Sharon Reeves and Michael Harris, a founding partner of Flint Development Center. McKenzie Croom was born with seizures that were complicated by exposure to Flint’s drinking water, reported Booth Newspapers.
The lab will be a service to the community of Flint and a learning opportunity for impoverished youth and college students who study STEM, according to Executive Director for the Flint Development Center Shelly Sparks.
“The basis of the lab is to inspire youth, impoverished youth in underserved communities, to dream and desire a career as a chemist, as a biologist, a data analyst,” said Sparks. “Anything along that nature because we don’t have enough people of color, or impoverished, to represent communities of color. So, it’s important to us to show them that they can be these things.”
A team of trained high school students work in the lab, going door-to-door and using social media to raise awareness about the lab’s services and water-testing program.