By Jeanne Neuwirth, Pathways Clinician and Advisor for Incorruptible US, and SADD Club
In October 2020, Pathways was holding outdoor meetings of our clubs; during a SADD Club (Students Against Destructive Decisions) meeting, member Jasmin Langomas approached the club Advisor about starting a virtual chapter of Incorruptible US. She was passionate about warning her peers about the dangers of vaping and smoking, and she and a number of her fellow Juniors were seeking a way to make a meaningful impact on the school.
And so CHS Incorruptible US was born, with Jasmin Langomas as its first President. The club was founded by all virtual students and was run after school via Zoom. Kevin Hernandez volunteered to take notes at every meeting as Club Secretary. We began by connecting with Mara Carlin, Coordinator of Coalition and Community Programs at Wellspring Center for Prevention, who introduced us to Incorruptible US of Middlesex. We also invited an established chapter of Incorruptible US from South Brunswick High School to join our first Zoom meeting to give us some guidance about activities.
Given the reported rise in vaping among teens, the club agreed that a great first project would be creation of a Vaping Prevention video for peers that would highlight compelling reasons to avoid vaping. The students took the lead on researching vaping statistics, crafting slides, and making audio recordings. The club worked with Mara Carlin as well as Preventionist ShaRonda Amon at Wellspring to make sure they were hitting the most important points and the information was as accurate as possible, considering vaping products and policies change quickly. Students also created a quiz in a Google Forms to accompany the video to assess whether students had learned the main points, whether their attitudes had changed and also how they liked the presentation.
Our student-created Incorruptible US vaping prevention video was then distributed to all Carteret High schoolers and middle schoolers via health classes. More than 1,400 students watched the video and took the quiz afterwards. 94% of students said the video had an impact on their knowledge or attitude about vaping. Also, on a scale of 1-5 regarding enjoyability 79% rated it highly (4 or 5).
The Incorruptible US club became a great way for students to connect with one another during the pandemic, and they also became more involved in Pathways' other clubs and activities. Some club members joined the County Youth Advisory Board, entered national prevention and safety contests, and some were sent to a special Leadership Camp. All increased their confidence and connection.
CHS Incorruptible US is now working on recruiting 9th and 10th graders, to keep the club going in future years, as this is part of their legacy at Carteret High School.