Enviromysteries: Inside Stories

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What’s the Story?


What’s the Story?

What is Reps?

Reps is a fitness center that serves the community in many ways. Maggie Rumber owns it. It has always been her dream to have a place where the neighborhood children could spend their spare time. Maggie also hires people from the neighborhood to work at Reps. And some neighborhood people also come to Reps to get their hair done, get a manicure, tan, or just stop and talk. Reps has become a real community center.

And that makes Maggie happy. Ever since she was a child in Barbados, she wanted to open a place like this. It was here dream.

But now it looks like her dream is turning into a nightmare. Why?

Who works at Reps?

Maggie has tried to hire people from the neighborhood to work at Reps. It's just another way she "gives back" to the community. Her crew is young, vibrant, and committed to carrying out her dream to build a community center where everyone feels at home.

Amie runs the tanning booths at Reps, a job that seems just perfect for someone like her who loves to tan. Maggie helped her get the special training she needed for the job.

Roommates Thomas and Frankie also work at Reps. Thomas is a Kung Fu expert and loves to help the neighborhood kids learn about this martial art and the discipline it brings into their lives. Frankie is a personal trainer at the community center. Lately, he has been making his "world-famous" smoothies for the folks who visit Reps, enlisting kids from the neighborhood to help him.

There are other people from the neighborhood who work at Reps, but their stories are not included here. Maggie's best friend Gerri is a hair stylist there and Tiki, who has lived in the neighborhood forever, comes in from time to time to sell jewelry. Their environmental health stories are ones that you can create for yourselves.

What is going on at Reps?

Reps is located in a neighborhood shopping center — a small group of stores that people are trying to bring back. Maggie purchased a former day spa and turned it into a community and fitness center. The stores were all built in the 1930s. The shopping center hadn’t been used for a long time, but, with help from people like Maggie, it was beginning to turn around.

But Reps was still in an old building. And old buildings sometimes have problems. Their paint may contain lead. Their pipes may be dripping, causing mold to grow. These problems can affect your health. Because the problems are part of the environment, or the space and buildings around you, they are called environmental health problems.

Old buildings are not the only potential causes of health problems. Everything around you — the air, the sunlight, chemicals, even beauty products — affects you. Sometimes, their effect can cause health problems.

How can I help?

In each story, you can help the people who are having environmental health problems by learning as much about their problem as you can and offering your advice. Remember to read any information (booklets, letters, news articles, etc.) that you come across. The facts in these resources can help you understand more about the problem.

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