RLMS students attend conference

Published 6:00 am Sunday, December 17, 2006

Robert Lewis Middle School in Natchez attended The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi’s FREE Leadership Conference in Jackson on Nov. 29.

This leadership conference was designed for seventh- and eighth-graders to further educate them about the dangers of tobacco use and unhealthy decisions.

“The junior high years are a critical time for youth to make decisions about who they are, who they want to be and where they want to go in life,” said Suzanne Ellis, youth programs director for The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi.

Email newsletter signup

“Students who attend this leadership conference and participate in our FREE program during the year are empowered to make good decisions about their health, and how to effectively avoid peer pressure that is meant to tempt them into trying tobacco and other drugs.”

During the leadership conference, students attended a series of educational workshops developed to impart knowledge about the importance of healthy choices. Workshop sessions included: addiction, how tobacco use serves as a gateway drug to other often fatal addictions; self-esteem, which discussed the correlation between low self-esteem and smoking; and Introduction to advocacy, a session that explained the importance of advocacy on the local, state, national and worldwide levels.

FREE is one of four age-appropriate tobacco prevention programs developed and implemented by The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi.

The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi is a public/private nonprofit organization comprised of statewide governmental and non-governmental agencies, as well as community groups. From 1999-2004, The Partnership’s programs are credited with reducing smoking among high school students by 32 percent and among middle school students by 48 percent.