Friday, July 23, 2010

SAFE Home Pledges!

The SAFE Coalition has begun their annual SAFE Home Pledge program, and this year they are including elementary parents as well. Members of the organization are asking parents to sign a SAFE Home pledge.
The pledge for middle and high school states that the parents will not provide alcohol to minors in their home. It also states that the parents are open to communication with other parents about the alcohol use of their children. For elementary the pledge asks parents to talk to their kids about drugs, alcohol and tobacco use, set rules and take an active role in their lives.

A directory of all parents who have signed a SAFE Home Pledge will be produced and provided to parents after the start of the school year. An updated directory will also be available on the SAFE website at

If you are interested in having a SAFE home and signing a SAFE Home Pledge there are a number of things you can do:
1) Sign the pledge during back-to-school registration
2) Contact the SAFE coalition at 319-293-6412
3) Visit the SAFE website and sign an online pledge (middle and high school only)

For more information on the SAFE Home Pledge or the SAFE Coalition you can call 319-293-6412 or email Information about the pledge and all SAFE Coalition activities are available on the SAFE website located at:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Van Buren JEL Teens Helped “Break the Connection”

Pella, Iowa – July 8, 2010 – Five Van Buren County JEL/YLC members and nearly 200 teens from across the state gathered to learn new strategies to fight Big Tobacco at the 10th Annual “Break the Connection” (JEL) Summit, June 17-19 at Central College. Alicia Schalla (Executive Council Member), Carson Schuck, Drew Nolting, Tyler Runyon, and Cassie Johnson represented Van Buren County at the Summit.

The 3-day for-JEL-teens-by-JEL-teens event is designed to educate teens about the health effects of tobacco use, secondhand smoke and the methods tobacco companies are using to get teens hooked on their products. The youth were not taught this from adults, however. They taught the tracks and learned from each other.

Each Summit attendee participated in a variety of learning sessions ranging from general tobacco information. to media advocacy. to how to organize JEL events in their home towns. The JEL Executive Council, the youth leaders of the program, led these sessions.

“We want youth to know that they can be a part of something great in JEL and can make a difference in their towns and with their peers,” explains Bryant Hickie, new JEL President. “We want to create awareness of tobacco prevention throughout the state, which can save lives.”

The Summit closed with an hour-long street marketing demonstration in downtown Pella. The event symbolically ‘broke the connection’ between tobacco and the death and disease it causes. It is time for someone to finally break the connection and JEL was up to the task.

JEL activities and other tobacco use prevention and control activities are funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health, Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control.