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Youth Crew asks local students to “lei” off tobacco
Great Bend High School participates in the Lei Off Tobacco program. From left to right are: Tina Hiss, math teacher; Matthew Johnson and Makenzie Premer, both seniors; Jasmine Figueroa, junior; and Rep. Tory Blew.
Hawaiian-style leis were distributed to Great Bend High School students in connection with the Lei Off Tobacco program.

Jasmine Figueroa, Youth Crew member, knew a good idea when she heard it, said Marissa Woodmansee, Juvenile Services director.

Figueroa shared her idea with her peers, and as a result, Great Bend High School students recently participated in their second annual Lei Off Tobacco program.

“After Jasmine learned about the project, she took the idea to the Youth Crew leadership team,” Woodmansee recalled. “When we looked at the minimal cost versus the strength of the positive message, it was an easy decision to start it locally.”

The heart of the program is distributing Hawaiian-style neckwear to young students, with the goal of asking them to “lei” off the use of tobacco in any form.

“Like most Youth Crew projects, there is an educational component and this one is no different,” Woodmansee commented. “It is a fun way to present an important message about the dangers of tobacco. And it is gratifying to hear great feedback from students and teachers.”

Rep. Tory Blew joined the students in the project. “Rep. Blew wanted to support the youth and the message,” Woodmansee said. “She also provided ice cream to the winning class, which was the seniors.”

The competition involved tobacco-related trivia questions in a game-show atmosphere.

The local project is presented in collaboration with the local Resist Tobacco task force and HOSA – Future Health Professionals, formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America.

Hoisington Middle School plans to launch the program in the near future.

20th Judicial District Juvenile Services empowers youth in Barton, Rice, Ellsworth, Stafford and Russell counties to achieve positive outcomes by offering Juvenile Intake & Assessment, Immediate Intervention, Intensive Supervised Probation, Case Management, Journey to Change, Life Skills, All Stars and Youth Crew. Parents and guardians also are offered The Parent Project. Visit 1800 12th in Great Bend or call 620-793-1930.