TATU makes April a drug-free month

ARLINGTON The Arlington School Districts Teens Against Tobacco Use commemorated the drug free month of April through a series of anti-drug programs.
Haller and Post Middle School TATU members conducted rallies April 8 and 11, respectively, and the middle school members visited Presidents Elementary School April 24, to provide tobacco prevention education to fifth-grade students.
While the visit to Presidents Elementary included interactive demonstrations with pig lungs, the Haller and Post rallies relied on posters and recitations of facts from the students.
The purpose of TATU in our school community is for the student members to use their commitment and skills as tobacco-free teens with younger children, so they will make the healthy choice to stay tobacco-free and be advocates for tobacco control in our community, said Cimbal Irwin-Rainey, the prevention and intervention specialist for the Arlington School District.
TATU was created as a youth tobacco prevention project under former Surgeon General Everett Koops direction. Beginning in 1988 as the Smoke Free Class of 2000, it was intended to provide tobacco prevention education to youth from kindergarten through high school, thus encouraging tobacco-free teens at graduation. The American Lung Association has since modified and improved the program to become TATU, which is implemented in schools and communities throughout the country.
The American Lung Association of Washington maintains the program in the state, through funding provided by Washington States Department of Health Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. Collaboratively these two agencies work to implement and evaluate TATU across the state.
In the state of Washington, approximately 2,000 teens are trained to be TATU teachers each year. In turn, they reach over 30,000 younger students with the anti-tobacco message.
This year, our middle schools adopted this program and have spread tobacco-free awareness and prevention, Irwin-Rainey said. Our teens have enjoyed taking a stance and being teen leaders in their community.

Post Middle School TATU members:
Emily Levesque
Destiny Lucas
Ashlee Stormo
Christine Serica
Reina Quimzon
Brea Steffensmeier

Haller Middle School TATU members:
Ashley Fitzhugh
Kaine Falkenstein
Samantha Susott
Kelsy Faux
Bjork Del Riego
Elizabeth Kunard

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