High schoolers teach younger kids dangers of smoking
A group of Carson High School students spent Wednesday teaching their younger peers to kick butts.
“We want to set a good example so little kids don’t make bad choices,” explained Jennifer Hood, 14.
As a member of Teens Against Tobacco Use, Hood teamed with other members of her club and student council members to mentor Fremont Elementary School students as part of the annual “Kick Butts Day,” designed to curb smoking amongst youth.
“It helps dismiss the preconceived notion that teenagers are bad,” said club advisor Misty Harris. “When you ask kids, they think most teens smoke. This helps set a social standard that that’s not true.”
Stephanie Camacho, 7, got the idea.
“It’s a bad idea to smoke,” she warned. “The smoke gets in your lungs and you could die.”
The students spent the first part of the morning getting acquainted and forming into teams, designating names for themselves such as, “Da Nachos” and “Hot Chicks.”
After lunch, they donned plastic gloves and squashed-cigarette hats, to pick up discarded cigarette butts out of Mills Park.
“You’re helping the community,” explained McKenna Mitchell, 7. “When you help the community, you get a better world.”
Sarah Ragsdale, 18, wants to create a display from the butts for the smoke-free night club she’s planning for Saturday night.
“My goal is to collect 4,000 butts to represent the 4,000 chemicals found in a cigarette,” she said.
Ragsdale is organizing the night club as part of her senior project. It will be held in Senator Square at the high school Saturday night and is open to all middle school students.
“We’ve really been hitting publicity hard this week,” Ragsdale said. “We set up a boom box and lawn chairs at the middle schools and handed out fliers at the movies and bowling alley.
“We got pretty creative. The kids have the buzz.”
And there is evidence children listen to advice from older kids.
“I like teenagers because they’re really cool,” said Austin Kendall, 8. “They’re big and they have better homework. They get way smarter.”
Contact Teri Vance at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 881-1272.