The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth has awarded a $178,770 grant
to the Strong Families/Great Youth Coalition’s
Toward No Tobacco (TNT)
program to support and expand tobacco prevention classes for middle
TNT is a two-week evidence-based tobacco prevention class taught to
seventh-graders in Harrisonburg, Rockingham County and Augusta County by
RMH respiratory therapist Ron Cople.
“TNT helps teach students how to counteract social pressure to use
tobacco while raising awareness of misleading social information,” said
Tonya Osinkosky, health education and awareness coordinator, RMH
Community Health. “The program also provides students with information
about the physical consequences and addictive nature of tobacco.”
In 1998, when TNT was introduced, 34 percent of eighth-graders surveyed
reported using tobacco monthly while the average age youths began using
tobacco was 12 years. By 2010, Osinkosky said, the number of
eighth-graders using tobacco dropped to 19 percent while the average age
of youths beginning to use tobacco increased to 13 years.
“We know programs like this can make a difference, and we are pleased
that this grant will enable the classes to continue, supporting RMH’s
commitment to community health,” Osinkosky said.
When the TNT program began, it provided outreach to students in only
Rockingham and Augusta Counties. In 2010, the RMH Foundation awarded a
$5,660 grant to expand the program to Harrisonburg City Schools.
In 2011, the TNT program was recognized by the American Hospital
Association in its annual report, “Caring for Communities,” which
highlights best community health practices.
RMH is a co-leading agency for the Strong Families/Great Youth
Coalition, along with the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services
Board and the Office on Children and Youth. The coalition was formed to
increase collaboration, reduce duplication of services, coordinate
funding efforts, collect data and increase efforts to positively affect
the community’s perception of youth and youth behaviors.
Visit the Strong Families/Great Youth Coalition at sfgyc.com
The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, formally known as the
Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation, was established by the Virginia
General Assembly. The foundation leads efforts to reduce youth tobacco
use and obesity in the commonwealth. In 1998, the Attorneys General from
46 states signed a Master Settlement Agreement with the four largest
tobacco companies in the United States to recoup costs associated with
tobacco related illnesses.