Pilot Program Leverages Wyman’s Proven, Evidence-Based Approach
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Legacy and Wyman announced today a new collaboration to educate and engage students to prevent youth tobacco use and substance abuse. The two organizations will create a specialized curriculum to reach young people participating in Wyman’s innovative Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®).
Legacy, the national public health organization best known for its award-winning truth® youth tobacco prevention campaign, and Wyman, a Saint Louis-based nonprofit with more than 117 years’ experience helping teens from economically disadvantaged circumstances, have agreed to collaborate on a one-year project to develop and test a tobacco control and substance abuse supplement to Wyman’s successful youth programming.
TOP is a results-driven youth development approach that transforms teens and communities by empowering teens with the tools and opportunities needed to avoid risky behaviors and build a foundation of healthy behaviors, life skills and a sense of purpose.
“Legacy can’t end the tobacco epidemic without partners like Wyman who share our commitment to empowering young people and to achieving health equity,” said Robin Koval, CEO and President of Legacy. “Together we will build on the TOP program and take on the challenge of ending tobacco’s reign as the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.”
Via a grant from Legacy to Wyman, the organizations are building a seven-lesson tobacco and substance abuse curriculum to strengthen youth knowledge about tobacco, change youth attitudes toward tobacco and engage young people as tobacco control activists. Two sites within Wyman’s National Network will pilot the curriculum. More than 400 teens will participate in the pilots that will launch this fall. A third party evaluator will assess pilot outcomes and publish results in 2016.
TOP uses community service learning to help teens understand local issues and exercise the self-confidence, voice, advocacy, decision-making and priority-setting skills they develop as part of the program. The pilot will engage teens in tobacco control service learning experiences as well as participant-led local youth activism projects.
“This is a truly compelling opportunity to add another level of health advocacy to our work,” said Joe Miller, Wyman’s Senior Vice President of Partnerships and External Affairs. “This collaboration will further improve the lives and potential of TOP participants and trigger a positive ripple effect in communities where youth are most at risk of tobacco use.”
TOP is offered to teens in grades six through 12 at in-school, after-school and community settings via 68 partners and 300 providers in urban and rural environments nationwide. One of the most successful, cost-effective and highly-respected, evidence-based programs for teens in the U.S., TOP has been proven to reduce the risk of problem behavior and to increase healthy choices. To date, more than 600,000 young people have participated in Wyman’s programs.
Since its inception, Legacy has recognized the importance of youth activists in the fight against tobacco use. Legacy actively supports the efforts of young people who are ready to make a difference with programming that includes fellowships, hands-on training and expert-led presentations to develop the next generation of youth and young adult tobacco control leaders.
Legacy envisions an America where tobacco is a thing of the past, where all youth and young adults reject tobacco use. Legacy’s proven-effective and nationally recognized public education programs include truth®, the national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as contributing to significant declines in youth smoking; EX®, an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; and research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. To learn more about Legacy’s life-saving programs, visit www.LegacyForHealth.org. Follow us on Twitter @legacyforhealth and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/Legacy.
Director, Communication and External Affairs