March 24, 2015 --
After-school Program students at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Child Development Center joined individuals and organized groups across the nation, March 18, in a one-day “Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.”
In recognition of the National Kick Butts Day observance, MCLB Albany’s Marines, Sailors and civilian-Marines volunteers made their way to the CDC to educate a room filled with smiling faces, amplified voices, all wearing neon green T-shirts bearing the CDC’s slogan, “Don’t Let Your Dreams Go Up In Smoke.”
Lamanda Jones, community health nurse, Children, Youth and Teen Programs, CDC, MCLB Albany, discussed the center’s slogan and outlined the day’s activities for the CDC’s young participants.
“The national day is ‘Kick Butts Day,’ but we chose to make up our own slogan, ‘Don’t Let Your Dreams Go Up in Smoke,’ for our kids here in the After-school Program to make sure they know to say ‘no’ to tobacco,” Jones said. “We’re having (someone) from the (Naval Branch Health) Clinic come over to show them healthy lungs, healthy teeth and what can happen to your lungs and teeth if you smoke.
“We also have volunteer Marines here that are going to get the kids involved in (physical) activities — to make it a holistic approach so they can learn to how making good choices can lead to a healthier lifestyle,” Jones concluded.
The event kicked off with Petty Officer 1st Class KiShaun Jeffers, Health Promotions and Wellness, Naval Branch Clinic, Albany, MCLB Albany, displaying an installation board, an assortment of teeth, healthy lungs and tar in a jar.
“The CDC invited me to come in to talk about smoking and how it affects healthy lifestyles,” Jeffers said. “I think the kids understand how they use their lungs to breathe and they have an idea of how difficult it is to breathe if something gets into the lungs.
“I (also) displayed teeth in progression,” Jeffers added. “I showed healthy teeth, I showed teeth, which have deteriorated after so much smoking and how (smoking) affects the teeth.”
After the indoor illustration, the children, their teachers and base staff took to the parking lot for physical fitness activities — a little friendly competition — facilitated and demonstrated by Sgt. Candice Clark-Thomas and a team of six installation Marine volunteers.
“I'm volunteering for this event because I am very passionate about living a healthy life,” Thomas, operations noncommissioned officer, Marine Corps Systems Command, said. “Today, we are here to support the kids in making a healthy choice to live a smoke-free life.”
Capt. Renee Barber, project manager, Marine Corps Systems Command, echoed Clark-Thomas’ passion for showing the students the benefits of a healthy, physical lifestyle.
“I am here to set a good example for the kids at the CDC to live a healthy life and that includes not smoking,” Barber pointed out. “So, today we’re going to run the children through a set of activities — a competition — just to show them how much fun being physically active can be and that by not smoking, (they) can have fun being physically (fit)."
The first Kick Butts Day, which was held in 1996, was organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to raise awareness of the problem of tobacco and to encourage youth to reject tobacco use, according to the website: www.kickbuttsday.org/about/.