Research shows that placing youth in positions of leadership reinforces
healthy decision-making, including the decision not to use tobacco products.
The activities of the initiative include sponsoring youth leadership
conferences and other activities that create opportunities for young
people to influence their peers to choose a healthy lifestyle.
Our activities so far have included hosting two conferences, the development
and production of "Welcome to Another Smokefree Place" decals and the
coordination with the Tobacco Action Coalition to produce a smoking
cessation website for youth.
We have also recently developed a 25-minute musical comedy revue entitled,
"Hey Kids - It's Time to Butt-Out!" Youth ranging in age from
12 to 19 have performed the show all over Suffolk County. The script
and soundtrack are available for schools and agencies to replicate.
On October 10, 2003 Eastern Suffolk BOCES sponsored a "Middle School
Peer Mediator Recognition Day". In attendance were 175 Suffolk County
students representing twelve schools from ten districts. The conference,
which was held at Southaven Park, was created to recognize student leaders
for their hard work and featured outdoor activities to help young people
improve leadership skills, enhance problem-solving techniques and reinforce
team-building. In addition, students had an opportunity to network with
peer mediators from other districts in order to develop ideas that would
enhance their existing peer mediation programs. Participating districts
included Bay Shore, Brentwood, Copiague, Harborfields, Longwood, Riverhead,
Sayville, South Huntington, Southold, and Westhampton Beach. View
information regarding this year's conference.
A "Youth Empowerment and Recognition Day" was held on December 12, 2003
for high school students. Students from SADD clubs, Student Government
organizations, Peer Leadership groups, Peer Mediation clubs and other
leadership organizations were invited. The conference was held at St.
Joseph's College and featured presenter and founder of 10 Seconds, Inc.,
Bobby Petrocelli as the keynote speaker. Mr. Petrocelli is a motivational
speaker who shares with youth the power of their decisions and how to
build a strong foundation for their lives. His coaching background and
expertise with youth have made him one of the top communicators in his
field. Other organizations participating in the day's conference and
facilitating workshops for the students were: the Colette Coyne Foundation
on sun damage and skin cancer prevention; Bias Help Long Island on prejudice
reduction; VIBES (Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk) on date rape
prevention; Sayville High School students speaking about suicide prevention;
BOCES Brookhaven Technical and Academic Center youth speaking about
Teens as Teachers, a tobacco prevention program; Tom Burger presenting
on Sexual Harassment; and Northport High School youth on HIV/AIDS prevention.
Additionally, Felicia Schneberg, New York State SADD Coordinator, spoke
with advisors on developing and/or strengthening existing SADD clubs.
regarding this year's conference.
In addition, we have been developing "Youth Tobacco Councils" in schools
where teachers have been trained in HealthSmart or in districts that
are otherwise open to participating in tobacco prevention programs.
To date, we have been working to establish groups in Westhampton High
School, Northport High School, Islip High School, Longwood Junior High
School, Sachem North High School and the BOCES Brookhaven Technical
and Academic Center. The purpose of these Councils is to develop a grassroots
movement of youth who are interested in creating tobacco-free schools
and communities. Tasks include posting of the "Welcome to Another Smokefree
Place" decals in locker rooms, bathrooms and other places where teens
typically smoke as well as cigarette butt clean-ups. Other plans include
holding a mock trial where students pose as litigants recreating lawsuits
against tobacco companies. This exercise can be videotaped and then
shown to community organizations, businesses, PTA's, etc. for the purpose
of getting the word out about the school health education initiative.
It is hoped that spreading the word in the broader community will support
the school's efforts in changing norms and reducing the acceptance of
As part of the School Health Education Initiative, Eastern Suffolk BOCES
sponsors all of these events free of charge. For further information,
please contact Martha