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Local schools to benefit from tobacco use prevention grant

POSTED September 1, 2009 10:50 p.m.
The Stanislaus County Office of Education recently received $1.8 million in grants for their Tobacco Use Prevention Program from the California Department of Education. This money is to help educate students in sixth to12th grades about the negative health effects of smoking.  
SCOE plans on using the money to help reduce the smoking rate. Currently, the smoking rate is at 10 percent within Stanislaus County, said Vicki Bauman, director of prevention programs.
“With this funding, we will implement a tobacco education program in an effort to reduce Stanislaus County’s youth smoking rate to 8 percent,” Bauman said.
The $1.8 million will be used for educational presentation and intervention classes to all students in sixth grade to eighth grades. The classes usually take place before or after school, during lunch or during a health class, Bauman said.  
For students in ninth grade to 12th grades, they will have peer-presentation trainings for high school students to educate younger students about the dangers of tobacco use. The peer-presentations have been very effective in the past, according to Bauman.  
National speaker Victor DeNoble will also be speaking at different schools about tobacco prevention. He will also be at a public forum for parents to attend with their children.  
The grant money was received July 1, Bauman said. It is a very competitive grant and Stanislaus County received the second largest grant. They competed with school districts all over California.  
SCOE also received about $108,000 for the small school districts that have as little as 30 students, she said.  
“We are thrilled to receive such a large grant,” she said. “We are very excited, especially receiving it in this economic time.”  
SCOE wrote the grant for the entire county and the money is going to the districts, Bauman said. The grant is almost quadrupling the amount of districts SCOE can help with tobacco use prevention programs.
In the past, SCOE helped about 10 districts, she said. Out of the 26 districts, the grant money will help 22 districts.  
The money will be used for students in Ceres, Denair, Empire, Gratton, Hickman, Hughson, Keyes, Knights Ferry, La Grange, Modesto, Newman Crows Landing, Oakdale, Patterson, Paradise, Roberts Ferry, Salida, Sylvan Union, Stanislaus Union, Stanislaus County Office of Education, Turlock, Valley Home and Waterford.  
The grant is for four years and there is a three to four year extension, Bauman said.  
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.
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