Students and educators from Adair County who were named the winners of the Outstanding Youth Advocacy award at the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy conference in Lexington are, front row, from left: Zane Greer, Camden Burton, Maddox Phillips, and Addison Phillips. Middle row: Jelaine Harlow, Amber Loy, Michaela Walker, Robin Loy, and Destiny Greer. Back row: Austin Lawhorn, MaKayla Matthews, Ramie Hutchison, and Jennifer Carter.
Seven local students and one recent graduate were part of a group recognized Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy’s (KCSP) annual conference in Lexington, Ky. The Adair County contingent received the award for Outstanding Youth Advocacy for its work with the Adair County Smoke-free Coalition. The students helped create a public service announcement calling for a countywide anti-smoking ordinance.
“Adair County is blessed with a talented group of young people and it is a privilege to work with them,” says Jelaine Harlow, a health educator with the Lake Cumberland District Health Dept., who spearheaded the campaign. “Their work was fantastic so I’m glad they were recognized for that.”
Student award winners included representatives from all four Adair County schools: Zane Greer and Addison Phillips from ACPC, Camden Burton and Maddox Phillips from ACES, Austin Lawhorn and Amber Loy from ACMS, and Michaela Walker from ACHS. Others in the Adair County group included Harlow; ACHS health sciences teacher Jennifer Carter; Ramie Hutchison, owner of Hutch Digital, who produced the award-winning video; ACHS college and career readiness counselor Robin Loy; ACHS Class of 2016 graduate MaKayla Matthews; and Destiny Greer, an RN and diabetes educator with the health department.
Before the Adair students received their award, Harlow – who was also nominated for the Outstanding Smoke-free Advocate award – spoke to the conference attendees about the benefits of a youth-led initiative. In addition to the seven students in attendance, several more worked on the video and with corresponding projects like signature collection in support of an ordinance. Groups participating included the ACHS GRIT team, health sciences students, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and ACMS Beta.
“We got kids who were interested in a smoke-free community and who wanted to encourage healthy lifestyles,” Robin Loy explains. “I’m proud of the kids for taking an active part in promoting community health.”
The PSA that earned the group its award can be seen during commercial breaks on Duo-County cable. The ACHS media arts class is currently working on more video projects for the initiative. “It’s always great to see students get involved in something they believe in,” Loy says.