Local high school students recently helped bring awareness to the dangers of tobacco use for national Kick Butts Day for their senior project.
National Kick Butts Day is March 20 and is a day for youth to speak out against tobacco companies.
William “BJ” Patterson, a senior at Leak Street High School, and Aikeem Anderson, a senior at Richmond Senior High School, shadowed Brenda David and Emily Nicholson, who works in substance abuse prevention for Alcohol and Drug Services. David said that Patterson and Anderson want to be involved in substance abuse prevention and shadowed David and Nicholson for more information on that particular career.
With the boys help, David and Nicholson set up displays and prepared a scavenger hunt in the cafeteria of Leak Street High for students to learn about tobacco and the dangers it poses.
The displays showed students the ingredients in cigarettes, such as formaldehyde and ammonia, and also what their mouth could look like if they choose to chew tobacco. The students also received a goodie bag filled with pencils, pens, candy, a balloon and a bracelet, if they answered certain questions correctly.
David said that every year, for Nation Kick Butts Day, the Alcohol and Drug Services goes to Leak Street High and sets up educational information about tobacco use for students.
“A lot of kids don’t know what they are putting in their mouths when they decide to smoke,” David said.
David also said Patterson and Anderson also helped with the Easter egg hunt at the Dobbins Heights Community Park on April 1. The two helped hide eggs and also helped the children locate the eggs, David said.
She said it was good for the two boys to see another side of the substance abuse prevention program. “It’s good they can see that we do more than just teach classes. We’re out in the community … ” David said.
“We can be fun as well as educational,” David said.
Many teachers, students and health advocates organize events to raise awareness of the dangers of tobacco use, encourage the youth to stay tobacco-free and urge elected officials to put measure in place to protect children from tobacco.
The awareness day is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and sponsored by the United Health Foundation. The first Kick Butts Day was held in 1996.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a non-profit organization that accepts no government or tobacco industry funding. The organization relies on contributions from individuals, philanthropic foundations, corporations and other non-profit organizations.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.