Students Teach Students ‘Say No to Tobacco!’

Students Teach Students ‘Say No to Tobacco!’

00:00 AM - November 09, 2017

Union Mine High School Leadership Student present Tobacco Prevention Training to Mountain Creek middle schoolers

To reach students on a peer-to-peer level about the dangers of tobacco use, Union Mine High School Leadership students spent a day as teachers at Pleasant Valley School this October. Dressed professionally, these young adults taught 7th and 8th-graders using curriculum from Stanford University’s Tobacco Prevention Toolkit. Lessons were delivered through ice-breaker activities, PowerPoint presentations, and were focused on long-term effects and the marketing methods used to entice children to become addicted to tobacco. A busload of Mountain Creek students also benefitted from the experience which took place in half a dozen classrooms.

Gold Oak Union School District Superintendent, Meg Enns, expressed, “We feel very fortunate that Pleasant Valley students had the opportunity to hear an important message about the dangers of smoking and vaping from their peers. I feel that too often adolescents tune out the messages when presented by adults, but they listen to what is “cool” and “not cool” from their peers. The Union Mine students did an outstanding job and made a real impact on the middle school students. The kids at the middle school were talking for days afterward about what they learned.”

Randie Zeiter-Smith teaches this high school leadership class and noted, “These students are amazing. It is a good group of individuals who represent a cross-section of student groups on campus. They were enthusiastic about their work here today, and it showed as they were preparing their lessons – even considering which clothes to wear!”

This program was made possible by Tobacco Use and Prevention funds through the state of California. Gigi Marchini, Director of Program and District Support at the El Dorado County Office of Education (EDCOE), coordinated the effort and explained, “This innovative program was inspired by several school administrators and crucial partners at Marshall Medical’s Cancer Resource Center and the El Dorado County Health and Human Services - Public Health Department. Together, over the last two years, we examined other exemplary programs and designed this inclusive method of instruction that would not only resonate with those in middle school but empower and educate high school students about the same material. This program would not have been possible without the continuous support from our partners, and we are very grateful.”

County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ed Manansala, noted, “Thank you to Gigi, Randie, and our community partners who thoughtfully brought this program to fruition. This innovative model empowers young leaders to help students make the right choices about their health.”

Plans are in place this school year for additional El Dorado County high school programs to visit other middle schools. “We hope to expand this program in the future, because it will make the greatest impact when consistent messages are delivered more frequently to students at different age levels. Our student teachers were amazed at some of the facts they learned during the process, such as 88 percent of smokers begin before the age of 18,” Gigi added.