FLINT – The United Way of Genesee County on Tuesday announced a joint effort made by General Motors and the United Auto Workers (UAW) to donate $3 million to support the increased health and education needs for the children of Flint who have been impacted by lead-contaminated water, according to a press release.
The five-year grant will address immediate, ongoing and growing needs of Flint children affected by lead.
“This crisis has impacted every Flint resident, most specifically children under the age of six who face a long road to recovery,” said Jamie Gaskin, CEO of the United Way of Genesee County. “We’re outlining a framework that will support these children with things like at-home care, nutritional assistance and early childhood and supplemental education so they can continue to learn and grow.”
Experts agree that providing children with developmental and nutritional programs are the best ways to mitigate the long-term effects of lead in the body. Even more specialized attention must be given to the youngest ones.
“GM’s support to this community is unwavering,” said Jeff Lamarche, Complex Director, GM Flint Manufacturing Operations. “Our efforts with the UAW and United Way will support a spectrum of care for the children of Flint and will fluctuate year-to-year as we determine the greatest needs moving forward.”
This initiative is a comprehensive effort and will include early literature programs, support for preschool, nutritional needs, school nursing, before and after-school programming, increased special education capacity and increased social, emotional and behavioral health school counselors.
“It is important that we focus on the steps we can take for the children of Flint. We know that this crisis requires longterm commitment that focuses on those things that Flint families can do to mitigate their exposure to tainted water. Whether it is filters, medical care, educational resources or nutritional resources this partnership can have a lasting impact,” said Cindy Estrada, Vice President of the UAW GM Department.
Gerald Kariem, UAW Region 1D director, reinforced the UAW’s community commitment.
“Flint is home to hundreds of UAW members, their families and friends,” Kariem said. “Our unified, multi-year grant will strengthen this community as these families work to rebuild.”
For information about how to get involved or make a financial contribution to the United Way of Genesee County, visit www.unitedwaygenesee.org.