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DIY Air Filters Event-RESPIRAR: Breathing Life into Communities

Updated: May 8

In a heartening display of community engagement, our recent DIY Air Filters Event illuminated the multifaceted approach of "RESPIRAR," a collaboration between the University of Maryland, the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) from Salisbury University, and the CATA team in Maryland. Held at a public school, the event surpassed all expectations. It not only showcased the effectiveness of DIY air filters but also acted as a vibrant platform for spreading awareness about respiratory health and the mission of RESPIRAR.

Excitement in the Air: Connecting Communities through Clean Air

From the moment we set up our RESPIRAR table, the response was overwhelming. Parents and children alike eagerly flocked to our station, turning down other activities just to join the line for the DIY air filters. The enthusiasm was palpable, with families expressing genuine excitement about the prospect of cleaner, healthier air in their homes.

It was a sight to behold; what began as a single line soon branched into four different queues. The demand for DIY air filters was so high that, despite bringing materials for 40 filters, it was insufficient to meet the community's appetite for this hands-on, educational activity.

Tape Color Conundrum: A Lesson in Adaptability

Amidst the success, a lighthearted challenge emerged during the event. As we provided an array of tape colors for sealing the filters, the children's unanimous preference for certain colors led to a delightful tape shortage. Despite the minor hiccup, the event remained upbeat, and the variety of tape colors turned out to be a whimsical touch to the DIY air filters.

Key takeaways from the activity included the filters' simplicity, cost-effectiveness, pathogen-trapping efficiency, and the crucial role they play in promoting clean air within households.

A Breath of Awareness: Uniting Communities for Respiratory Health

The success of the event wasn't just confined to the joyous atmosphere. It acted as a catalyst for raising awareness about RESPIRAR and its vital mission. The diverse crowd, representing Hispanics, Haitians, Americans, and more, eagerly sought information on setting up the filters and their significance in combating respiratory diseases.

Parents and community members were particularly interested in understanding the broader role of RESPIRAR, appreciating its commitment to listening to underserved voices, addressing structural inequalities, and improving living conditions for migrant workers.

Laughter, Lessons, and Life: Anecdotes from the Event

Among the memorable moments, a humorous yet insightful incident unfolded when a child, determined to be self-reliant, refused help from his parents in sealing the filters. The scene drew laughs from the crowd as the child, with a dash of attitude, insisted on managing the tape independently. It served as a reminder of the independent spirit that events like these can inspire in children.

RESPIRAR: Breathing Life into Communities

As we navigate the road ahead, our RESPIRAR project continues to be a beacon of change. From assessing air quality in seasonal worker housing to combating structural inequalities, we remain dedicated to empowering communities and enhancing respiratory health.

Stay tuned for upcoming milestones in 2024. Together, we're breathing life into communities through initiatives that extend beyond the mere construction of air filters.

For more information on RESPIRAR and details on how to participate or collaborate, please contact Jean-Frandy Philogene at or read this blog: CATA - Participation in Project RESPIRAR to Assess Migrant Farmworker Environmental Health.

Join us on the journey towards healthier communities. The road to a cleaner, safer future is one we all walk together.

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