In April of 2014, Flint Michigan decided to change its water source to the Flint River. The new water corroded the existing pipes causing the city’s drinking water to become contaminated with lead. Flint’s 100,000 residents are now exposed to dangerous levels of lead. It’s estimated that between 6,000 to 12,000 children are at risk of serious health problems.
When Centric’s Jay Yawn learned about the crisis, he knew he could not sit on the sidelines. Jay started working with Columbus4Flint, a group dedicated to assisting the residents of Flint during this devastating water crisis. To date, they have donated approximately 100,000 bottles of water.
During Centric’s 2016 Spring meeting, Centric sat down with Jay to learn more about his work with Columbus4Flint and the impact he is making in Flint, Michigan.
Centric: How did you get interested in delivering water to Flint, Michigan?
Jay: “The story and imagery of people suffering initially spurred me to learn more about the conditions in Flint. In reading further and researching I discovered that not only is Flint, just three hours away from Columbus, but the conditions were far worse than what was reported. The residents of Flint did not do anything to cause their water to be poisoned, yet they will be living with the consequences for generations to come. If I were living there, I would hope someone would reach out to lend a hand.
In high school, I organized a team of students and administrators that raised just under $6,000 for the Red Cross in support of their relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2006. Like Katrina, there was something about Flint that made me want to immediately get involved.”
Centric: How many trips have you taken and what have you delivered so far?
Jay: “I have made 3 trips so far. I’m currently planning my fourth. This will be the third trip as a contributor to Columbus4Flint. The first and second trip were in January. With the third trip in March, we expanded our collection drives to include common household items that would aid in the conservation of water. ”
We have donated approximately 2,600 cases, 500 single gallon jugs and 150 care packages. Making the grand total close to 100,000 water bottles.”
Centric: When is your next trip planned?
Jay: “Our next trip is planned for July 30th. Anyone interested in helping can check out the Columbus4Flint Facebook page for more details and like us on Facebook to stay up to date.”
Centric: For those who are interested in helping the cause what can they do?
Jay: “For those that would like to donate, we are in need of hand sanitizer, paper plates, plastic basins for washing, plastic ware, water (bottled or gallons) and wet wipes. Donations can be dropped off weekdays between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. at Traxler Custom Printing located at 3029 Silver Drive in Columbus, Ohio, 43224.”
“Since I’ve been an employee at Centric, we’ve always emphasized the importance of unmatched client experience. I think for me, this was a representation of that in my personal life. I am at a loss for words at how grateful I am for Centric Columbus and Centric as a whole really taking an interest. Not being forced into giving, and not only reading up on what’s happening and gaining more awareness but to continue the dialogue of how we, as a unit, can be more active and how we can be part of the solution. There’s something really cool about that. Something I will be forever grateful for because you don’t see that every day.” -Jay Yawn
Jay Yawn is a senior consultant with Centric Columbus. He began his professional career in government affairs. Jay has been with the firm for three years, focusing primarily in business analysis and project management.