Crook County students are looking for a way to effectively portray the tobacco use and nicotine addiction they are seeing among their young peers.
This Tuesday, they will have the floor at Bowman Museum, where they will utilize photographs and written messages to spread their concerns to members of the local public. The Photovoice Exhibit will take place during a two-hour span in the museum's community room.
"It is definitely a collaborative project," said Katie Plumb, prevention and health promotion supervisor with Crook County Health Department. "Our two funding sources are Central Oregon Health Council and Oregon Health Authority. They are really the ones supporting the effort."
Plumb went on to note that the funds went to the health department, but added that the department is partnering with Jefferson and Deschutes counties to offer similar displays in those communities.
Locally, Bowman Museum is offering the space for the Photovoice Exhibit and in Jefferson County, the display will be shown at Madras' Central Oregon Community College campus.
The exhibits will feature enlarged photos taken by local SADD members and other students, which will be accompanied by a short written message.
"Photovoice is a research methodology and it is used a lot with populations that traditionally don't voice in politics," Plumb said. "It is a way for them to really capture what it is that they are seeing and experiencing, then putting words to that image. In this case, we really wanted to give students voice."
The project is largely youth-driven, Plumb went on to say, noting that locally, SADD members have been taking the pictures and developing the messaging content. In addition, the students have taken care of the planning and logistics for the Crook County project.
A 2019 Crook County High School graduate and SADD member, Olivia Cooper, even wrote the grant that ultimately provided the funding for the display.
"In schools around the region, students see and smell vape everywhere," she stated in a recent news release. "It is no secret to them that e-cigarette use has exploded in recent years. Adults can miss what teens see. After all, these products were designed to be sleek and easily hidden. Students pass these devices off as flash drives and adults are none the wiser. In addition to the discrete design, e-cigarette companies market to teens with appealing flavors like cotton candy and mango. It's no wonder that the 2019 TARA study reported that four out of five Oregon teens who have used tobacco started with a flavored product."
The local exhibit and the display in Jefferson County will resemble a walking gallery, Plumb said, where the photos will be placed on easels throughout the museum's community room. The exhibit will feature 24 photos that public is invited to view.
"They will be to go through and see their stories," Plumb said.
The Photovoice Exhibit will be displayed at Bowman Museum on Tuesday Aug. 20, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
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