Thanks to a Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) Cohort K Tier 2 grant made public last Friday, Los Angeles Unified School District's (LAUSD) Beyond the Bell Branch will use $2 million over the next three years to help students at 19 high schools in high need communities to quit smoking.
This funding will expand Beyond the Bell's already successful TUPE program, called "Lifesaver," which is already established at over 30 high schools. This program provides opportunities for youth to create and deliver their own anti-tobacco messages to their peers, families, and community. Opportunities for youth include participation in community health fairs and campus events, such as an annual Kick Butts Day. Also, youth leaders sponsor peers in eight-cessation groups and create a "quit attempt" culture on their campuses through various forms of media including posters, murals, art competitions, and videos.
Beyond the Bell Administrator, Carey Peck's vision for the program goes beyond helping students make quit attempts or sign anti-smoking pledges. His vision for the Lifesaver program is to help students understand the roots of addiction and make healthier lifestyle choices. As part of the program, students learn how to manage stress and negative emotions, build positive relationships, and communicate their feelings more effectively.
ERC serves as the external evaluation team for Beyond the Bell's TUPE program. In this role, ERC conducts focus groups and surveys among students who complete the eight-week smoking cessation groups to determine their effectiveness in helping students quit smoking. ERC also conducts the district's California Healthy Kids survey to compare rates of smoking and tobacco use between LAUSD high schools with TUPE funding and a sample of other high schools in the district.