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Culver students pick up cigarette butts in park

by: Submitted Photo - Culver students Nancy Lopez and Anthony Lopez display a poster students made, with Culver City Park commissioner Richard Hancock holding the center.

Twenty-five Culver fifth graders and middle school students, picked up 260 cigarette butts, March 21, in Culver City Park during a Kick Butts Day event.
   The day is an annual celebration of youth advocacy, leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco and is sponsored by Tobacco Free Kids Coalition.
   Barbara Ibrahim, Culver School nurse and tobacco prevention coordinator, helped coordinate the event along with Danna Hastings, Jefferson County tobacco prevention coordinator.
   Activities started with E.V. Smith, Culver city public works commissioner, giving a safety presentation about what items not to pick up, such as glass, park boundaries, and proper cleaning up after the event. Richard Hancock, Culver City Park commissioner and parent chaperones Jessica Byrd and Betty Vaughn also participated in the event.
   The students spent about 30 minutes picking up cigarette butts around the park area. Eighth-grader Anthony Lopez said, "I wanted to help after hearing about how many little kids get hurt by tasting or eating the cigarette butts."
   Statistics show in 2004, 8,000 small children were poisoned by eating cigarette butts.
   The day's events ended with a KBD celebration and pizza and pop.
   Ibrahim said that six Culver Middle School students, sixth and seventh graders, attended a Tobacco Prevention Conference put on by Deschutes County Commission on Children and Families in Redmond in February.
   The conference talked about making good choices in your life. Bringing back information from that conference, the sixth grade class decided to plan for a school project and chose Kick Butts Day. They chose to include the fifth graders to help participate.
   Students also made a poster of hearts, with each one stating what tobacco does to you or how it has affected loved ones.
   In the center of the poster they had blue hearts with the number 1,200. Ibrahim explained, "we put 1,200 in blue hearts because that's how many die a day from tobacco-related illnesses." This poster will be displayed at the Culver City Hall.
   "The kids were well-behaved ... they were out there looking for them (cigarette butts)," commented Ibrahim.
   "Statistics show 90 percent of cigarette smokers and smokeless tobacco users started to smoke or chew before the age of 18," explained Ibrahim. So early education and prevention is important during the school years.
   For more information on KBD, log onto Tobacco Free Kids.org.
   If you or a loved one needs help to quit, call the Oregon Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-Quit-Now.