I am an active volunteer and member of the STAND UP Leadership Team, a program of the Delaware General Health District and HelpLine of Delaware & Morrow Counties. STAND UP supports and encourages teens to abstain from alcohol, tobacco and other drugs and promotes positive mental health, healthy relationships and violence-free lifestyles.
Through STAND UP, I have participated in many activities to better my community, but perhaps the most impactful change I have made is the adoption of a 100-percent tobacco-free-campus (TFC) policy for the Delaware City School District. In January 2010, I began my quest by forming a committee of fellow STAND UP members to advocate for the policy and led the group in brainstorming an action plan.
In the following months, I conducted a random survey of over 500 high school students and learned that 70 percent of the high school students fully supported a 100-percent TFC policy. In June 2010, I presented the information from the survey and various facts about the harmful effects of youth tobacco use to the Delaware Board of Education. After my second testimony, the board adopted the policy immediately (effective August 2010), protecting the 5,100-plus students, 520-plus staff and countless visitors to the district.
I did not stop there: I decided to advocate for a statewide 100-percent TFC policy. I spoke twice to the Ohio State Board of Education and superintendent of public schools, and upon my first presentation, the board assigned the issue to their capacity committee for further consideration. I then called my Congressman to give him an update on my progress.
by Graham Bowling