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Together Let's Clear The Air

The Butt Stops Here

By Connie Weare, MSW, CISW, Project Administrator, SEVTUPP

"While you are there, could you also tell them..."  That is the idea behind the SEVTUPP Speakers Bureau.  A great idea!

SEVTUPP Coalition has 42 active members who represent community schools, agencies, and organizations.  SEVTUPP is not a coalition of subcontractors - 60% are interested community leaders who are dedicated to the mission of a healthy community.

Southeast Valley Tobacco Use Prevention Project is one of six new local projects in Maricopa County.  SEVTUPP is sponsored by Desert Samaritan Medical Center, and serves the communities and school districts in Chandler, Gilbert, Higley, Queen Creek and Greater Sun Lakes.  SEVTUPP started to provide prevention and education programs in September, 1998.  Utilizing the Coalition memberships' combined wealth of experience, education and knowledge, the first year work plan was completed.  The first year plan focuses on prevention, education, and cessation.

One of the challenges facing our new local project was how to "get the word out" and inform the community regarding the tobacco use prevention programs and services.  The second challenge was how to increase the Coalition membership to assure that it was truly representative of the southeast valley communities being served.  The SEVTUPP Coalition, an active dedicated group of community volunteers, responded with a plan.  the plan was to develop a Speakers Bureau composed of Coalition members who would "spread the word".  The Coalition membership developed the theme "Together Let's Clear the Air - The Butt Stops Here."  The text of the presentation was written by a coalition writing committee.  To date, Coalition members have signed up to deliver sixteen community and school presentations.

Using volunteers from the Coalition to deliver the presentations, at meetings, events, and gatherings they already attend, will significantly increase the number of individuals who learn about SEVTUPP.  A small paid staff could not possibly have this same impact.  Hopefully, awareness of the goal of tobacco use prevention will lead to a commitment to join the Coalition.  A great idea!

Connie Weare, Project Administrator for Southeast Valley Tobacco Use Prevention Project, is available to answer specific questions on how to develop a Speakers Bureau.  Local projects can reach Connie at 480-649-7877.

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