EASTON — Superintendent Lisha Cabral is pleased to share that State Sen. Walter Timilty visited Easton Middle School on Friday following the statewide Kick Butts Day to meet with Easton’s chapter of The 84 Movement and discuss their youth substance use prevention activities.
On Thursday, March 31, Easton Middle School students attended Kick Butts Day: Youth Day of Action. The virtual event was hosted by The 84 Movement, a statewide movement of youth fighting against the tobacco and vaping industries in Massachusetts.
The 200-plus youth and adults who attend Kick Butts Day from around the Commonwealth work to educate and mobilize young people in their communities around the tactics often associated with marketing used by the tobacco and vaping industries. As part of the Kick Butts Day event, The 84 Movement chapters meet with their legislators to discuss community concerns, especially those that affect their health and wellness. They also share the work they’re doing in their school and community to address conditions that have an impact on tobacco and nicotine use.
Easton Middle School students Erasmia Zachos, Autumn Gregory, Isis Labady, Rosie Sedita, Ava Labree, Marina Ferrara and Tessa Brussard, and high school students Ava Viera and Kiera Delemere participated in Kick Butts Day this year. Viera and Delemere helped start the Easton chapter of The 84 Movement four years ago.
The students met with State Rep. Carol Doherty virtually Wednesday evening, who applauded the students’ passion and commitment. She is also planning to attend one of the upcoming training activities the middle school students will be leading with younger students at the elementary schools.
Sen. Timilty was not able to participate in Kick Butts Day, but visited Easton Middle School Friday to meet with The 84 chapter.
Students talked to Sen. Timilty about their work this year collaborating on school and community projects that are supported through funding from The 84 and the Easton Wings of Hope, Easton’s youth substance use prevention coalition.
Work they highlighted included:
- Creating a bulletin board to acknowledge and support middle school students’ resilience in response to challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Implementing a student-led tobacco education program to talk about the risks of tobacco and nicotine use and support healthy brain development. The program was developed by Viera and Delemere.
- Plans to partner with Easton Recreation this summer to support one of the children’s races in town and promote the benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle. This project is designed to address conditions that have an impact on youth tobacco and nicotine use – in this case, it is encouraging exercise and other healthy ways of managing stress – and is based on training the students receive from The 84 Movement.
The middle school students also invited The 84 high school chapter and the
Easton Wings of Hope Youth Leadership Team to Friday’s event. The high school students also shared their projects with the senator and talked about their experiences during a trip with Easton Wings of Hope to Washington D.C. for the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America (CADCA) National Leadership Forum.
Meray Nemr, a student who presented, described the conference as educational and uplifting. She spoke about how the group took energy, knowledge and skills from the conference and brought it back to Oliver Ames and the Easton community.
“We are always happy to host Sen. Timilty in the Easton Schools,” Superintendent Cabral said. “He has been a firm supporter of our schools, our educators, and our new building project. It is always nice to see him interacting with our students, as well as recognizing their efforts and exceptional projects.”
Sen. Timilty has supported Easton youth substance use prevention by advocating for and obtaining funds for youth substance use prevention through Easton Wings of Hope. The funds support prevention clubs and community activities, such as CADCA and transportation to help students attend prevention and wellness initiatives. The coalition has also used the funds to support youth meetings, purchase branded materials and collect data through focus groups.
“Sen. Timilty has been a great supporter of youth substance use prevention in Easton and we appreciate his continued advocacy,” said Eileen Gardner, RN, the Easton Middle School 84 Movement chapter adviser. “He has met with our 84 Movement chapter in the past, and has encouraged our group to attend a state house tour soon to visit the Senate floor.”
Easton Middle School’s chapter of The 84 Movement is led by Zachos who is a member of the Middle School Ambassadors. In that role, she represents middle school perspectives in programming decisions and works on engaging middle school youth in The 84 Movement. Easton Middle School joined The 84 Movement in 2019.
Wellness department head Corinne McCarthy, seventh grade wellness teacher Danielle Erikson and Gardner all volunteer their time to support The 84 Movement and its activities. Ed Rand is the 84 Coordinator, and Mary Cole is the Greater Boston Tobacco Prevention Liaison, both of whom provide significant support to the group.
The Easton Wings of Hope Youth Leadership Team includes Viera and Delemere who represent The 84 Movement, and Oliver Ames students Cassie Passias, Nemr, Owen Parker, Jenelle Mello and Joyce Riad. Corinne McCarthy coordinates the high school chapter of The 84 Movement. Kelly Reed and Lisa St. Mary coordinate the Youth Coalition for Easton Wings of Hope.
About The 84 Movement
The 84 Movement is a program of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program, developed and managed in partnership with Health Resources in Action (HRiA). The 84 represents the 84% of Massachusetts youth who did not smoke cigarettes when the movement was created in 2007. Now, 93.4% of Massachusetts youth do not smoke. Visit The84.org to learn more.