Women Auto Know, a not for profit that promotes education, environmental responsibility and employment opportunities for veterans and those with disabilities, announced its alignment with Maryhaven Center of Hope in Yaphank, Long Island and the Northport Veterans Association.
The two organizations will be responsible for the manufacturing and fulfillment of products made by Women Auto Know from recycled tires. Audra Fordin, Founder and Executive Director of Women Auto Know, developed the program as a conscious statement to address the problems the environment faces with discarded tires. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent data, an estimated 27 million scrap tires are put in landfills annually.
Prompted to make a change, Fordin realized she could take the discarded tires and turn them into practical accessories while simultaneously helping the environment and helping those not easily employed. Fordin, a recognized Girl Scout Great, first took the idea to the Girl Scouts as part of her mission to introduce girls to the auto industry. Women make up 1.2% of the auto industry and it is Fordin’s goal to bring more women into the field.
As a fourth generation owner/operator of one of America’s most successful auto franchises, Great Bear, Fordin used her Flushing location to not only become a leader in the industry but a mentor for all women. By teaching the girl scouts to make fashionable belts as well as pet leashes out of tires, Fordin was able to expose the girls to tires in a user friendly way.
“If you can wear a tire, you can fix or change a tire” explained Fordin.
The environmental impact alone is well worth the commitment to this project. Tire piles in landfills are breeding grounds for mosquitoes and disease carrying rodents as well as a high risk for fires. Tire fires can burn for extended periods of time and emit a thick black smoke and an oily residue which pollutes the air, the soil and ground water. Fordin hopes that making a fashion statement will also male an environmental one. Fordin believes that “If we can stop putting tires in landfills we can truly make a difference.”