Posted: Wednesday, Feb 22nd, 2012
Arizona Silver Belt
Phoenix — “Empower Pack,” a live theatre troupe of professional actors came to Copper Rim Elementary School on Thursday, Feb. 9 for their statewide tour.
The Empower Pack production is a collaboration between the Arizona Department of Health Services – Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease, Bureau of Nutrition and Physical Activity and Phoenix Theatre to target youth at or immediately prior to the age of initiation for tobacco use, ages 8-11.
The Empower Pack is a group of three super heroes from the future who come back to 2012 to empower the youth of today to make good decisions regarding nutrition, physical activity and not using tobacco. The trio’s nemesis, the foreboding “Addictor,” attempts to sway the youth to make bad choices that in-turn will lead to bad habits being passed down from generation to generation. This prompts the Empower Pack to travel back in time from their bleak future to save the youth of today which results in a better tomorrow for all.
Wayne Tormala, Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease says, “this live theatre is proving that interactive health discussions with youth are empowering and can lead to positive action – and have a great impact on individual lives.”
The partnership with Phoenix Theatre provided a script writer, chorographer, music composer, costume designer, and set production.
School teachers will be provided with a 16-page full color activity book that includes background information on nutrition including relatable serving size comparisons and recipes; additional information on physical activity and an audio CD of the show music. All statewide performances are provided free of charge.
The show was test piloted at 15 elementary schools in the Phoenix area. Performances ranged in size from 60 – 200 students per show
When asked what the students liked most, these were the responses… “Songs;” “Characters;” “Singing and dancing;” “School kids being a part of the show;” “It was funny.”
When youth were asked about the message of the show… “Smoking is bad for you;” “Cigarettes are bad;” “Eat healthy;” “Don’t eat bad food;” “Bad food makes you slow;” “Exercise;” “Workout;”
Secondary messaging… “Don’t do drugs;” “Stay away from strangers.”
About ADHS BTCD
Through the tax on tobacco, the Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease (ADHS BTCD) is the only program working to prevent youth from starting tobacco use and providing free services to help adults quit tobacco. ADHS BTCD also provides prevention information and management education for chronic diseases including the four leading causes of death in Arizona — heart disease, stroke, cancer and pulmonary disease.
About Wayne Tormala
Dedicating his entire career to human service, Wayne has provided leadership at the local, national, and global levels in programs addressing issues of public health, mental illness, the environment, world hunger, poverty, and economic justice. Currently, he is the Bureau Chief for the Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease at the Arizona Department of Health Services, where he oversees all aspects of tobacco prevention/cessation programming and the prevention/management of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cancer, stroke, asthma, and heart and lung disease.
Read the article online here.