Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey Counties sponsors Stand Tall teams in 4 high schools and one middle school in the Lyon County School District. The young leaders in Stand Tall work to promote health and wellness within their schools and communities. This year they have an ambitious schedule of training, advocacy and community education planned. Following are some highlights of their 2017 schedule.
The Empathy Challenge: During the entire month of February, Stand Tall teams in high schools in Lyon County will be participating in the Empathy Challenge being sponsored by Nevada Department of Education’s Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment. Suggested activities, posted on Nevada Department of Education’s social media sites, are designed to help build empathy, show empathy and infuse the world with more kindness. Some of the challenges are simple activities students can do on their own, while others will require students to interact with others. Tammy Sutton, Healthy Communities Coalition’s Drug Use Prevention Coordinator, explained, “The Stand Tall teams focus a lot on the prevention of alcohol, tobacco, prescription and other drug use, but these students have so much heart and care about their peers so much that they jumped at the opportunity to also do the Empathy Challenge this year.”
Speaking with Legislators about Tobacco: On February 28th, a group of 10 to 15 youth will be heading to Nevada Legislative Building in Carson City. The American Lung Association has asked Stand Tall teams to share the day with them, speaking with legislators about amending the Nevada Clean Indoor Act (NCIA) so that it includes electronic cigarettes. Currently the NCIA only covers traditional cigarettes. The teens will also be speaking with legislators about Tobacco 21 and and fees for retailers’ tobacco licenses. Tobacco 21 is a campaign that aims to raise the legal minimum tobacco sales age to 21 because early exposure permanently alters neuro-receptors in the brain that then manifests as ongoing craving or addiction. Preventing that early inoculation requires a concerted strategy including school-based education, reduced media exposure, counter-marketing, smoke free homes and public areas, and restricted access to tobacco for youth.
Kick Butts Day is an annual tobacco use prevention event. This year it takes place on March 15th. The Stand Tall teams in Lyon County – located in Fernley, Yerington, Dayton and Silver Springs – decided to sponsor a 10 ‘ x 5’ Kick Butts Day traveling wall that will bring a tobacco prevention message school district-wide (Home Depot Store 3309 in Carson City donated all of the building supplies, paint, brushes and plastic wrap for the wall, and Denis McIntosh is lending his trailer to transport the wall.) Stand Tall students and Silver Stage Food Pantry volunteers will help build the wall. The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids awarded Stand Tall teams $500 to help with additional funding needed for the project. Seventeen Lyon County schools are being invited to participate by giving students opportunities to sign pledges stating that they will not use tobacco. The pledges will match the team color for each school and will be affixed to the traveling wall. The wall will travel to each school collecting pledges for 2 weeks prior to March 15th, with the final stop at the School District Main Office where administrators will be invited to sign pledges.
Legislation Day: On April 4th, Stand Tall teams will partner with community coalitions and the Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition, touring the Nevada state capital and speaking further with legislators about tobacco use prevention and a possible amendment to the Nevada Clean Indoor Act to include e-cigarettes.
Leadership Out Loud Camp, August 2nd-4th: For over a decade, Stand Tall teams from across the Northwestern Nevada region have attended an annual Healthy Communities Coalition sponsored summer camp at Lake Tahoe. The camp is the central training event for Stand Tall teams, and also includes lots of swimming, canoeing, good food and fun games. Typically, during the 3-day camp, about sixty students from the Lyon, Storey, Churchill, Douglas and Carson region are trained in evidence-based strategies for preventing use of tobacco, alcohol, prescription and other drugs in their communities, as well as in strategies for promoting good nutrition, mental health, and fitness in their schools and towns. Youth also practice leadership, teamwork, and public speaking skills. In addition, they learn how the Nevada Legislature works, and how to advocate for health and wellness in their communities.
Presentations on the Health Effects of Tobacco: In April and March, each of the Stand Tall teams in Lyon County will give presentations about the health effects of tobacco use to middle school students.
For more information about Stand Tall, contact Tammy Sutton, Healthy Communities Coalition’s Drug Use Prevention Coordinator at 246-7550.