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Katy ISD Students to Participate in Statewide Tobacco Summit

Katy Texas News
Posted February 16, 2011

Twenty-seven students from five Katy ISD high schools will participate in one of six Texas Tobacco-Free Teen Leadership Summits at the Mo-Ranch in Hunt, Texas, February 25 and 26. The students were chosen to attend based on their leadership roles within the district’s P.O.W.E.R. (Police Officers Working to Empower students and Reinforce prevention) Role Model program. This year’s Summit will focus on launching a statewide movement in addition to activities the students can host and participate in to make Texas a smoke-free state.

The Texas Tobacco-Free Summit, sponsored by the Texas School Safety Center, is an opportunity for young people across Texas to join a collaborative movement to eliminate the negative influence tobacco has on our communities. During the two-day event, students will hear from law enforcement, researchers, and educators about the negative effects of tobacco on our youth and society. They will leave not only with new friendships and knowledge, but also leadership skills, advocacy skills and practice, media training and public speaking skills, and the latest tobacco statistics and health reports.

According to Katy ISD Police Department’s Sergeant Tom Donalson, who supervises the P.O.W.E.R. program, The P.O.W.E.R. program has six specially trained, uniformed officers, five of which work full-time, that provide Katy ISD students with risk prevention instruction. The P.O.W.E.R. program consists of 11 lessons that are taught once a week to fifth graders throughout the district. “Although the P.O.W.E.R. program focuses on elementary students, it also benefits junior and senior high school students who learn leadership skills and serve as role models for the younger kids,” says Donalson.

The P.O.W.E.R. Role Model Club is offered at all Katy ISD high schools. However, in order to become a Role Model, students must complete a comprehensive written application before being granted an interview. Students who apply must also be in good standing academically and model exceptional school and lifestyle behavior. Once the application process is complete, each student must then pass an extensive screening and interview process with the Katy ISD Police Department, who then selects the final membership.

As role models, students learn leadership, mentoring, and counseling skills.  These skills are applied on their home campuses and by working with and talking to the fifth graders about developing a safe and healthy lifestyle, avoiding negative peer pressure, and positive social change.

“These high school students truly serve as a positive influence for many younger kids who may have no one else to look up to,” says Donalson.

Katy ISD’s P.O.W.E.R. Role Model program has approximately 500 members throughout the District. Students earn community service hours through various P.O.W.E.R. events such as summer camps and also have the opportunity to receive college scholarships awarded from the P.O.W.E.R. Advisory Board.

Currently, Katy ISD police officers Michelle Owens, Ivan Nelson, James Grima, JR Martinez, Don Shrum, and Neill Austin serve as the P.O.W.E.R. Officers. The P.O.W.E.R. program is part of the police department’s Community Involvement Division and has been in existence for the past 18 years.

Please mention you found this on www.KatyMagazine.com.

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