Due to the efforts of a Carthage High School group, new signs were distributed across the R-9 District on Wednesday.
The Carthage In Action (CIA) group of high schoolers teamed up with the Alliance for Southwest Missouri, the Carthage R-9 School District and Missouri State University to bring 215 tobacco-free signs to post on all of the Carthage schools. Funding was provided by the Missouri Foundation for Health, an organization focused on community health.
“This group (CIA) has cleaned up parks, and done a lot for the community,” said CHS principal Kandy Frazier. “We are very, very proud of them.”
The students used tobacco policy evaluation results from Missouri State University to form recommendations in several categories with the goal of strengthening the district’s policy on smoking. Jo Thompson, outreach coordinator for the Missouri State University, Ozarks Public Health Institute, said keeping the no-smoking policy posted helps keep the district a clean and healthy environment for students, staff and patrons. For CIA president, Brittany Gonzalez, sticking the new sign on the door of her high school was a treasured moment.
“It feels like a lot of accomplishment,” she said with a big smile. “It feels like we've done something that really helps our district and our community. We've wanted to do this for a long time.”
CIA is active in community service, drug and alcohol education and other safety issues concerning the Carthage School District’s student body. Every year, the group meets with elementary students during Red Ribbon Week in October and enjoys the interaction and mentoring moments with the kids. They visit Jefferson City once a year to meet with state lawmakers and attend multiple training opportunities in several areas of study. CIA is affiliated with the Alliance of Southwest Missouri and Carthage Caring Communities Coalition.