Oct 30, 2020 at 12:16 PM
FORREST — Everyone deserves clean air and safe spaces — this was the argument made by the Prairie Central High School’s health advocacy group, "Taking Down Tobacco," in the early months of 2020.
The group, led by PCHS’s health education teacher Scott Willi and Livingston County Health Department’s Health Education & Marketing Director Erin Fogarty met regularly to learn how to civically engage in their community and effectively advocate for policies for which they felt strongly. The focus of their efforts was to advocate for a tobacco-free policy for Forrest’s public parks.
"Taking Down Tobacco" participated in a number of activities, including cleaning up tobacco-related garbage in Forrest parks, collecting signatures and letters of support, interviewing on local radio station 98.9 WJEZ, and attending several Forrest Village Board meetings, in an effort to achieve their goal.
"It was neat seeing the kids learn about local government and how to make change in a civil, mature manner," said Willi.
On March 9, the Forrest Village Board passed a smoke-free/vape-free parks ordinance after listening to representatives of "Taking Down Tobacco" present their advocacy work. Smoke-free/vape-free signage was recently posted in Forrest parks this fall.
"We are very proud of the efforts made by PCHS’s ‘Taking Down Tobacco,’" stated Fogarty. "They demonstrated that young people can and should have an active voice in local government in order to help influence positive change in their community."
The project, including signage posted in Forrest parks, was funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
via Pontiac Daily Leader – Pontiac, IL
October 30, 2020 at 03:56PM