Layla program ambassadors Jaiyah Pierce, left, and Nadia Thomas facilitate discussion about the lead paint problem in Syracuse. Photo by Michelle Gabel | Central Current Credit: Photo by Michelle Gabel

Community voting is set to start next week on four proposals intended to increase lead testing for children in Syracuse. 

The voting is part of a participatory budgeting program run by the Central New York Community Foundation. Residents can vote on four proposals designed after eight months of community meetings. More than 150 community members have turned up at the meetings to discuss Syracuse’s lead crisis. 

Four organizations and nonprofits created proposals based on feedback from the community members who attended. The winner will get $150,000 to implement their plan to increase lead testing in the city. 

Final proposals were initially announced at a March 7 meeting, though organizations were allowed to tweak their final proposals based on community feedback. The new proposals are listed below. 

Block to block project: An initiative to increase lead testing for children, by Baby B.A.C.K. Inc.

Baby B.A.C.K. Inc. plans to create a messaging campaign and use canvassing, billboards and social media to increase screening of children who should have their blood lead levels tested. 

The organization also plans to have street-to-street lead testing events that target 7,800 households in the 13205 zip code, which is located in Syracuse’s south side. 

Lead the way: Mobilizing resident leaders to increase lead testing in Syracuse, by the Syracuse Peacemaking Project and PEACE, Inc.

Syracuse Peacemaking Project and PEACE, Inc., initially pitched separate projects. In a revised pitch, they laid out a four-step plan: 

  1. Provide trainings to staff and community leaders on lead poisoning, barriers to care for lead poisoning and advocacy. 
  2. Screen families’ risk for lead poisoning. 
  3. Connect families to lead testing and aftercare services. 
  4. Empower residents to lead engagement efforts. 

Get your child tested for lead, Lyft 4 free, by United Way of Central New York

The United Way of CNY pitched a plan to partner with Lyft to provide rides for 1,533 households with children up to 6 years old to get tested for lead poisoning. The rides would be targeted to areas where there are extensive barriers to children being tested for lead poisoning. 

Sankofa community-based doula care and lead awareness expansion project, by Doula 4 a Queen, zenG Wellness and Cafe Sankofa

This project would fund local doulas who would engage with families on lead poisoning awareness and prevention during prepartum and postpartum programming. 

Full pitches from the organizations can be viewed here.

Voting for those who attended the meetings has already started. They can vote from now until 9 p.m. on May 2. Community voting will open up at 9 a.m. on May 2 and last through 9 p.m. The winner will be revealed at a celebration party in Salt City Market’s community room. That party will last from 6 p.m. through 9 p.m.

read more coverage of Syracuse’s lead crisis

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Chris Libonati covers government, accountability and equity. Have a tip? Contact Chris at 585-290-0718 or