YEP! marks ‘Kick Butts Day’

Published 11:40 pm Friday, March 20, 2009

On Wednesday, March 25, the Youth Empowerment Program (YEP!) will encourage people to Kick Butts. This is not a call to violence, but to encourage smokers and tobacco users to fight the addiction.

“Kick Butts Day is a national day to assist and encourage people to quit smoking,” said Loretta Wilson, the community relations outreach manager for the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority. “Just to kick the habit for one day. One day is just a start. If you can smoke out for just one day, it can become a long-term thing.”

The teen action group YEP! is featuring a “Number Campaign,” encouraging people to bring unwanted shoes to Demopolis High School to help represent the number of deaths each year caused by tobacco use. People can bring their shoes to the school from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. this Monday through Wednesday. After the Wednesday event, unclaimed shoes will be given to the Salvation Army.

Bins for collecting shoes will be available, and a YEP! representative will be on hand to help with donations. Students wishing to get credit for their participation should sign a participation sheet.

“This shows Demopolis that these are the footsteps of the people who died last year of tobacco-related causes,” Wilson said. “If you can visualize these footsteps, then it opens our eyes and encourages those who are smoking to quit, and for non-smokers to never start.

“If there is someone who wants to bring a pair of shoes in memory of their loved one who died from smoking-related causes or to bring shoes to say they want to encourage a family member or friend to consider stopping smoking, then they can do that as an act of encouragement.”

Wilson said YEP! would take advantage of the special day on Wednesday to induct new members. The induction ceremony will take place at the Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital board room at 4 p.m.

Following the induction ceremony, Tuscaloosa cardiologist Dr. Anne Lewis will speak on cardiovascular disease as it relates to smoking and tobacco use. That forum will start at 6 p.m. Refreshments will be available at the forum, and there is no admission charge.

Wilson added that signs that support a smoke-free Alabama are available for free from her Tombigbee Healthcare Authority office next to Webb Realty on Cedar Avenue.