Tobacco prevention grant awarded to RBHS
By Brandi Miller for the FCT
It is no big secret that using tobacco, in any form, is harmful to one’s health. Despite warnings from doctors, surgeons and many healthcare professionals, tobacco use is still seen among teenagers.
Unfortunately, the habits that are started in the teenage years can have deadly repercussions as adults. This is one reason grant money has been dedicated to help prevent teenagers from ever beginning this deadly habit. Recently Red Bay High School received grant money for a tobacco prevention program with the hopes of seeing the use of tobacco decrease significantly among the students of RBHS.
The Youth Tobacco Prevention Grant is sponsored by the Alabama Department of Public Health, and Dr. Kay Hargett and Dr. Jacqueline Parsons, both teachers at RBHS, wrote the grant and submitted it for approval. Hargett and Parsons was awarded the grant valued at approximately $35,000 to be used for advertising, collecting data and hiring a coordinator to oversee the program.
“We found out about the grant through a Coalition for a Tobacco Free Alabama,” said coordinator Christopher Hargett. “The grant is interesting because it provides an opportunity for the SADD chapter at RBHS to work collaboratively with HOSA and the community in various school and community activities to increase awareness to deter at-risk behaviors of using tobacco products.”
Christopher Hargett will be serving as the coordinator, and he will be required to perform a variety of responsibilities to implement the grant. He will be responsible for establishing new programs as identified by coordinating school and community needs and assessments and analyzing services provided. He will educate and promote community and school tobacco prevention and cessation education by preparing press releases and giving lectures, formal presentations, and in-services to organizations, community committees and coalitions to assure strong community outreach.
“I am thankful that we were able to receive this grant,” said RBHS principal Kenny Sparks. “I believe this will be an asset to our school and our community. I thank Dr. Hargett and Dr. Parsons for writing the grant and look forward to seeing what Christopher Hargett does as the coordinator.”
Upcoming events scheduled for the Tobacco Grant program include a float that will provide information about tobacco prevention from the American Cancer Society. In January, public service announcements will be released five times a week in the mornings to help educate students about the many dangers of tobacco use. Guest speakers and community/school rallies are also planned for some time in the future.
The tobacco grant coordinator job will be good for one year. The position is available from October 2016 to September 2017.