Health Rocks in Calcasieu Parish

For years students across the nation have been taught the same message, “Don’t do drugs!” But have those students also been taught about the decision-making and life skills that enable them to make healthy choices? Health Rocks! is a national 4-H program with the goal of bringing youth, families and communities together to prevent youth from using tobacco, alcohol and drugs. The program has done just that in Calcasieu Parish middle schools. Health Rocks.png thumbnail

In August 2022, Claire Zak, the 4-H Healthy Living program coordinator, along with Calcasieu Parish 4-H agents, Jennifer Cantrell, Carrie Lane and Brennan Uzee, met with 42 physical education teachers and conducted a training on the Health Rocks! program. Teachers were provided with a copy of the curriculum, supplies for each lesson and a plan to complete 10 lessons with the middle school students. Lessons taught included “Is it worth the risk?” which discusses the consequences of substance abuse, “All Stressed Out” highlighting the effects of stress and healthy coping skills, and “Circles of Influence” which engages youth in thinking about who and what can influence their decisions the most. Each of these lessons teaches life skills that enable youth to avoid risky behaviors such as vaping electronic cigarettes or drinking alcohol at an illegal age.

A teacher from Forrest K. White Middle School noted that, “The ‘Health Effects of Vaping’ [lesson] was eye opening for our students. They did not realize all the harm vaping caused, not only to the lungs, but your heart and brain with memory loss.”

Health Rocks! lessons reached 3,240 students in Calcasieu Parish. Of those surveyed:

  • 95% agree or strongly agree that they don’t have to drink or smoke even if some other young people do it.
  • 74% reported that they will stop to think about choices before making a decision.
  • 83% reported that they will think about how their choices affect others.
  • 92% reported that they can say “no” if others offer them a cigarette.
  • 90% note that after the training they agree or strongly agree that using drugs can ruin their relationship with family and friends.

The impact that Health Rocks! has had on Calcasieu Parish middle schools has been positive. A teacher from Moss Bluff Middle School noted: "It was apparent early on that our students did not recognize their own stressors. [Learning about] coping strategies transitioned into student-led discussion and learning."
3/5/2024 9:33:45 PM
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