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Scouts strive to snuff out teen smoking

December 04, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

"Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" might be a popular song but Barbie Barvir and Danielle Grant are determined to keep that phenomenon where it belongs - in music rather than in reality.

"I believe very strongly in the cause of teens not smoking and so does Danielle," Barvir said as she explained why they decided to work toward that goal as senior Girl Scouts in Shawnee Council.

Their aspirations led them to a coalition called Washington County Teens Rejecting Abusive Smoking Habits (TRASH). They were rewarded for their efforts when the two scouts received the American Lung Association of Maryland's 2004 Community Youth Service award for Western Maryland.

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"Together, Danielle and I went to schools with a presentation we call 'Toxic Pizza' which shows kids the bad effects of smoking in a way they can better understand," Barvir said.

Along with the TRASH group, Barvir and Grant worked on service projects to educate the public about the harmful effects of smoking as well as secondhand smoke. Part of the message was also highlighting the tactics of the tobacco industry in targeting youth.

Barvir, 17, said she and Grant also participated in Strike Out Tobacco Day at Municipal Stadium, a World No Tobacco Day at Hagers-town City Park and the TRASH statewide event in Baltimore.

In addition to scouts, the Hagerstown Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc., and 4-H members are among those involved with TRASH.

"Now I am a statewide representative from Washington County for TRASH," Barvir said. The group meets six times a year.

Plans are under way to get a rap artist, Sterlen Barr, to Washington County to present his message against smoking, Barvir said.

Grant, a North Hagerstown High School graduate, is a pre-med student at Philadelphia University.

"My scout leader had a contact in the American Lung Association of Maryland," Grant said by telephone from college. So Grant, 18, went to a TRASH meeting and with Lynn Whitall, the Lung Association representative, worked to get a chapter in Washington County.

Grant said the "Toxic Pizza" presentation is very interactive so the kids could really get involved in all aspects of their health as it pertains to smoking.

"This is going to help me in presenting things to young people," Grant said, who has chosen pediatrics as her field in medicine.

Barvir joined the effort and she and Grant became a team.

"I started in scouting as a Daisy when I was 4 or 5 years old," Barvir said. Her older sisters, Anna and Sylvia, also were active in scouting and are now lifetime scouts. Barvir said while she and Grant were not in the same troop, they have known each other a long time.

Barvir isn't affiliated with a troop but is what is called a Juliette, after the Girl Scouts' founder, Juliette Low. "There isn't enough time for me to be in a troop," she said. As a Juliette, she still involves herself with scouting activities and works at Camp White Rock in Virginia in the summer.

A senior at Smithsburg High School, Barvir has college plans but is unsure where or in what field yet. "I like working with kids," she said.

In addition to the award that went to Grant and Barvir, a community service award for work with TRASH also went to Patsy Campbell and Jane Barvir, staff members of the Shawnee Girl Scout Council office in Hagerstown.

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