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Youth Stop Smoking Project

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HomeBridge Chosen as National Site for the Youth Stop Smoking Project

Our organization has been a Tobacco Free Environment since 2009, setting an example of healthy choices for the youth we serve. HomeBridge has now also been chosen as one of the organizations to run a pilot program, which has been designed to encourage and assist young people in their efforts to quit smoking or deter young people from ever starting to smoke. This program is also being implemented by the Pictou County Health Authority in collaboration with Chignecto Central Regional School Board and Dalhousie University.

The eight-module program, which has been funded through Health Canada, started in August with the first group of young people being led by two of HomeBridge’s Youth Care Specialists who have been trained as facilitators. Food and incentives are provided for the youth as they take part in hour-long sessions, which cover topics including “Embracing Change”, “Making a Plan” and “Stress, Relaxation and Recreation”.

The facilitators were immediately impressed with the youth’s enthusiasm and participation during the first sessions. The young people involved have named the program “Stop Smoking Now!” The group seems to enjoy the activities are included in the modules. They has even developed a list of “Group Expectations” to follow and are very quick to point out when anyone breaks one of those rules too.

One young person blew into the PICO Monitor (a device that measures and monitors the amount of carbon monoxide in the lungs) during the first session. He blew a 30 (normal is from 1-6) and when he returned for the next session he blew a 5. That tells us that this program certainly has the potential to help change lives.

“When information presented in this program is carried forward into their residential and community settings, and practiced in their every day lives with the support and encouragement of the youth care team, these skills are solidified and positive change can occur,” Shelley Teal, Program Coordinator, HomeBridge Youth Society.

This program will be run four more times throughout the fall and winter and will be available to all youth in the HomeBridge Community.