By Ron VandenBoom
A youth coalition sponsored by the Havre HELP organization will strike a blow against the use of tobacco Friday when it sponsors the second annual Buy-Back Promotion at Havre High School.
The coalition plans to purchase or buy back from owners any article of clothing with tobacco advertising on it. This includes hats, pants, jackets, or T-shirts, said Robin Morris, director of the local HELP organization.
Morris said a table will be set up in front of the office at Havre High School from noon until 1 p.m. and manned by students belonging to the coalition.
"They will pay $5 for any article of clothing that has tobacco advertising on it," she said.
A second opportunity to sell back clothing will be held Friday at the Havre Blue Pony basketball game starting about 7 p.m. and lasting until about half-time or until the money runs out.
A table will again be set up in front of the school gymnasium to purchase the garments.
Morris said anyone having such items is free to redeem their garments and receive the $5 regardless of whether they are a high school student or not.
"We are trying to increase awareness with parents that there is appropriate and inappropriate clothing their children can wear to school," Morris said. "It's something that falls right in line with the school district's policy on age appropriate restricted products."
Age appropriate restricted products consist of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, and restricts the wearing of any garments advertising these items on school property, Morris said.
The program also sends the message that tobacco use is dangerous, not cool, and will not be tolerated on school property.
Morris said that once the garments are purchased they will be cut into rags and donated to auto repair shops in the Havre area to be used for cleaning rags. "To insure they will never be used to advertise again," she said.
Funding for the project has been provided through the HELP Drug-Free Communities Grant and $500 in funding has been appropriated for this event.
Morris said the program is completely organized and carried out by the youth who are part of the coalition. About 15 members belong to the coalition and together they have put in more than 5,000 volunteer hours during the last five years working to discourage and prevent alcohol, drug, and tobacco use.
The coalition also organizes Operation Medical Office, and Operation Store Front throughout the year, Morris said.