CNBA TATU receiving a 2019 Community Health Recognition Award from Horizon Health Network. From left to right: Karen McGrath, President and CEO of Horizon Health Network, Lynsey Wilson Norrad, Social worker with Horizon Health Network and facilitator of CNBA TATU, Callie Munn, Lia Munn, and Leanne Mountain, students and founders of CNBA TATU, John McGarry, Horizon’s Board Chair, and Jean Daigle, VP of Community for Horizon.

Middle school students from Central NB Academy in Boiestown New Brunswick have been successfully promoting their tobacco and vape-free message not only at their school but throughout their community as well.

The Central NB Academy’s Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) group was formed by social worker Lynsey Wilson Norrad in 2015 after receiving a Take Action on Tobacco Use Grant from the New Brunswick Department of Social Development. The group has been so successful, that its tobacco-free initiatives were recently celebrated by Horizon Health Network through a 2019 Community Health Recognition Award.

“Initially, we used our Take Action on Tobacco Use Grant money to acquire basic education tools,” says Wilson Norrad. “The group started off small with two grade 6 students and one grade 7 student. By the 2016-2017 school year, the group started to expand as the students became very active. They began sharing education tools at a variety of community events such as fundraisers, Christmas bizzares, and even local markets.”

Central NB Academy’s TATU group currently has 20 regular members, and plans to expand its reach.

“Some of our original founding members have moved on to high school,” explains Wilson-Norrad. “They want to keep working on tobacco-free and smoke-free living, so they will become school ambassadors’ at the high school who champion projects and provide peer mentorship.”

Wilson Norrad adds: “The students always have a lot of good ideas on how to reach their peers. For example, this past spring, during World No Tobacco Day, the students promoted the New Brunswick’s Anti-Tobacco Coalition’s New Brunswick Tobacco-free Living Strategy by asking fellow students to take a pledge towards tobacco and smoke-free living. The students wrote down ways to accomplish this goal while posing for photos with their pledge posters. Other fun activities held last school year include a “Have a cookie, not a cigarette” initiative.”

This 2019-2020 school year, the Central NB Academy TATU group teens want to start doing classroom presentations to address the rise of vaping rates among youth throughout New Brunswick. The TATU group’s presentation will focus on vaping education and prevention. This presentation will be given to elementary students first, and as the TATU group’s public speaking skills improve, the teens will start doing the presentation in middle and high schools.” The TATU group applied for and received a Micro-Grant for Vaping Public Education from Health Canada to accomplish this important project.

Great Work Central NB Academy! Thank you to your students for being such strong advocates of tobacco and smoke-free living!

Story and photos used with permission from Central NB Academy Boiestown.

Published in November 2019, writen by Kristin Farnam, NBATC Coordinator, and Nathalie Landry – NBATC Communications Coordinator