COLESVILLE (WBNG) — Nathaniel Cole Park was filled with groups of kids and teenagers on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, for a day of fun and education.
“What we’re doing is, we are educating the public of the dangers of tobacco and we have a few flavor stations like cotton candy and stuff like that. Just to show that these new e-cigarettes that have come out that are very popular are being put in these sweet flavors. We’re showing that they’re targeting youth,” said Reality Check Youth Organizer Miranda Bickham.
This event was possible through a grant from the Broome County Parks Department. Hosted by Reality Check, the group is made up of many teens, which is a demographic largely affected by tobacco.
“It’s a state-wide program. We have a couple groups that make up our Broome and Tioga group Reality Check. They do events like this. They go out into the public and do grass roots mobilization and educate peers face-to-face about big tobacco and what the industry does to target youth to become new replacement smokers,” said Broome County Health Department Public Health Educator Laura Kelly.
With summer not over just yet, the goal is to have fun with water balloons, tie-dye, and other games. However, making sure less kids and teenagers smoke in the future is something the youth organizers take seriously.
“We wanted to do something fun, outdoors on a beautiful day, where they can learn a little bit about how to keep themselves healthy, and their community healthy, while having a good time,” said Kelly.
“We just like to educate people. Especially because I’m a teenager and I know what it is like to be effected by these types of things. So it really, like, hits close to home and around my community,” said Bickham.
Getting out on a nice day while also having fun and raising awareness to kids and teenagers to avoid the effects of tobacco and nicotine. That’s what Wednesday’s event was all about.