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Wednesday, 24 June 2015 00:00

Drawing life’s breath: Art program for tobacco-wise youth

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            What are you passionate about that you need your lungs for? Leaders posed this question to a group of Peterborough County youth who participated in the Love My Life (LML) Tobacco Free workshops that ran for six weeks at the Art School of Peterborough.

            Local youth explored tobacco prevention through positive

self-expression, and over six weeks they developed a 3-D visual diary representing mind, body, spirit.

            “It certainly was an incredible experience watching as these 3-D visual diaries grew, and how the students positively expressed themselves as they explored the notion of life’s breath,” says Jenni Johnston, owner of the Art School of Peterborough.

            “Rather than focusing on the negatives of tobacco use they were able to create something beautiful by discovering the positive of living their lives tobacco free.”

            The students met at the Art School for two-hour sessions and discussed topics such as how the media portrays tobacco, the importance of finding balance in life, addictions and its effect on the teenage brain, and the harms of commercial tobacco.

            Six peer leaders with the Peterborough County-City Health Unit created, organized and led the curriculum. After peer-to-peer lessons, the students worked on their sculpture, facilitated by two staff at the school.

            The figures were to represent mind, body and spirit. The mind represents mental health, body embodies physical health and spirit symbolizes core values and beliefs.

            During the first two weeks the students developed a mask. On the third week they developed a personal tattoo based on symbols that reflected themselves. Finally, during weeks four to six they created the body, including the lungs where students explored “Life’s Breath.”

            The Eastern Ontario Health Unit developed the original Love My Life program in 2014. This year, PCCHU ran its first LML campaign.

            For more information on the Love My Life Tobacco Free program, visit http://www.lmlontario.com/.

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