Tazewell student's art featured on anti-smoking billboards - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Tazewell student's art featured on anti-smoking billboards

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TAZEWELL (WVVA) - The artwork of a Tazewell County student will be displayed for thousands to see in Southwest Virginia.

Laken Sparks, a rising ninth grader in Tazewell County, was selected as the "Healthy Grounds for our Youth" poster contest winner.

The goal of the contest was for students to create a poster design that represented a "tobacco-free 24/7 lifestyle."

In addition to winning a certificate and gift card for $100, Sparks' work will be featured on two billboards -- one on Route 460 at United Skates, and another on Highway 11 in Smyth County.

Following is the full press release from the American Lung Association:

Laken Sparks, a 2012-2013 eighth grader at Laurel Elementary School has been selected as the Healthy Grounds for our Youth poster contest winner for Tazewell County.  She received a certificate and gift card for $100 plus her work will be visible for many to see on a billboard!

Healthy Grounds for our Youth offered a poster contest for youth in the grant community. Winning art work by Laken Sparks to represent a "Tobacco-Free 24/7 Lifestyle" has been used to create two billboards that will be visible in Smyth and Tazewell School Districts. These posters can be viewed on the Healthy Grounds for Youth Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HealtyGroundsForOurYouth or the website at http://www.healthygrounds.org  and please like the Facebook page.

In June of 2012, the American Lung Association in Virginia was awarded a grant of $120,000 from the Centers for Disease Control.  The goal of the grant is to assist eight school systems in Southwest Virginia to become 100% tobacco-free indoors and out, 24/7.  The grant has provided resources to the district in the form of signage, reminder cards for sporting events, and sample language to add to the tobacco policy to expand the tobacco-free grounds to include the outdoors. The school districts that were included in the grant and able to received assistance were Tazewell, Smyth, Wythe, Carroll, Galax, Patrick, Henry and Martinsville.

Healthy Grounds for our Youth was chosen as the name that best expresses leadership team goals.  Since the initiation of the coalition, five school districts in the grant area have adopted the language to support 100% tobacco-free grounds.  Those are Tazewell, Smyth, Carroll, Galax, and Patrick. In addition, Grayson County Schools learned about the project and have recently expanded their tobacco-free grounds to the whole campus, school events off campus and to visitors using school grounds.

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