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The Georgia Healthy Family Alliance Launches Fourth Tar Wars Strike Force Initiative in Middle Georgia

Georgia Healthy Family Alliance (GHFA) – the philanthropic arm of the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians, (GAFP) officially launched the Middle Georgia Tar Wars Strike Force initiative May 3, 2022 in Macon. Local family physician leaders, Dr. Harry Strothers and Dr. Monique Davis-Smith, joined GHFA Board President Dr. Eddie Richardson Jr., a team of family physicians and local community leaders at the kickoff to address the epidemic of youth vaping in 15 Middle Georgia counties.

The goal of the Middle Georgia Strike Force is to raise $250,000 to bring Tar Wars, a youth anti-tobacco, anti-vaping education and awareness program, to approximately 20,000 4th and 5th grade students in Bibb, Houston, Wilkinson, Monroe, Jones, Twiggs, Baldwin, Crawford, Peach, Laurens, Bleckley, Dodge, Washington, Johnson and Treutlen counties over the next three school years.

Tar Wars is an evidence-based, effective, and interactive educational program that has impacted the lives of more than 10 million children worldwide since it’s development by family physicians in 1988. The Georgia Healthy Family Alliance and Georgia Academy of Family Physicians provide all trainings, lesson plans and materials needed at no cost to the schools, presenters and volunteers.

Statewide Tar Wars Manager, Abbey Carr, is outreaching to schools in the Middle Georgia footprint to build awareness and initiate implementation of the Tar Wars tobacco and vaping prevention program offered at no cost to participating schools. Plans are currently underway to implement Tar Wars into all Bibb County public elementary schools with a Fall 2022 target date. Tar Wars presenter training sessions for the PE and/or health teachers are scheduled for July and will impact 4th and 5th graders at 20 elementary schools – approximately 4,000 students. Outreach efforts to school leadership within Middle Georgia will be extensive and ongoing.

GHFA Director of Philanthropy, Alexis Klima, is meeting with potential individual donors, businesses, foundations and organizations for funding support and outreach. Prior to the launch, GHFA had already secured $51,500 in Tar Wars education support in the Middle Georgia region.

Georgia’s statewide average of students in grades 6th – 12th who admit to vaping is around 9%. There’s specific and urgent cause for concern in Middle Georgia where most of the counties within the Tar Wars Strike Force region are near, or greater than the statewide average.

Tar Wars has been acknowledged on the Georgia Department of Education’s website as one of the preferred educational activities for school children and designated as one of the CDC’s “Programs that Work” for tobacco and vaping prevention.

All funds raised for the Middle Georgia Strike Forces go directly back into the communities in which they are designated.  Please click here to make a donation to the capital campaign or to a specific Tar Wars Strike Force, or for more information contact Alexis Klima at aklima@gafp.org.