Local students, at both Krueger and Barker Middle Schools will be completing activities to help encourage young people to not start smoking as part of the nation-wide, Kick Butts Day program.
Both schools will have a movable graffiti wall, where students can write their name and message to remain smoke free. Also, to replicate the national selfie campaign of “I am not a replacement, I am a _________”, students will receive signs and are able to take selfies, which will be posted on social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook. Finally, students will be cleaning up the school campus of all cigarette butts.
The events will be student-led, with adult support. VOICE, a group run by Safe Harbor's after school program, is dedicated to advocating on behalf of youth against the marketing practices of the tobacco industry. There is also activity geared at helping youth remain smoke-free. VOICE is currently a program available at both middle schools with roughly 18 youth participating weekly.
“We have been developing ideas for our Kick Butts Day for several months now and we will feel strongly that these activities will encourage students to stay away from tobacco,” said VOICE facilitator, Kristi Brosmer. “We will be giving information to the youth participating to allow them to be aware of the tobacco industry's constant marketing geared at them and younger children. We are not here to chastise smokers but to give our students a chance at a bright future.”
The Kick Butts Day events will take place at Krueger Middle School on Wednesday, March 18, which is the national Kick Butts Day during the lunch-time hours. On Monday, March 23, the same events will take place at Barker Middle School.
The Safe Harbor VOICE organization received a grant from the national Kick Butts Day organization to help purchase supplies for the event. The $250 award will allow the organization to serve refreshments and give out small prizes during the event. Many organizations applied for the grant and the local VOICE group are one of the few who received it.
“We are very proud of our work. I was so happy to see our kids win the grant! They were extremely excited,” Brosmer stated.